Excerpt from Jack Powers' EVERYBODY'S VAGUELY FAMILIAR
- Category: Excerpts from Our Books
- Published: Thursday, 30 August 2018 21:50
- Written by Super User
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A thousand yawns from now
when I am a bent question mark
and the children are busy living
and a push of a buzzer
summons the night nurse,
I will drag my oxygen tank trolley
resistant like a leashed mutt
across sticky linoleum
to peek between drawn blinds
and squint to find Orion,
the Big Dipper and Polaris
and remember a beach in Rhodes
where stars littered the sky
like luminescent river stones
we could pluck them
from the heavens,
offer them to each other
and the universe
seemed – like our lives –
to roll on forever.
We had few questions
and the sky seemed full
of answers, some hurtling
like arrows into the future.
PUT DOWN THIS POEM AND CALL YOUR MOTHER
It’s only now, four years gone that I see her clearly –
not the mute and creaky shadow of her at the end, breath shallow,
aides holding the phone to her ear as I read meaning
in each hesitation. No, the real her. But I can’t hear her voice
mischievous as she feeds raccoons in the backyard oak,
or singing tinkle tinkle little star outside the bathroom door
as Zak, then four, peed. Or asking the obscene phone caller
if he was lonely. I can’t hear her detailing the who-sat-with-who
at the senior home dinners or sightings of long forgotten neighbors
at the mall, her thin fingers twirling the cord we’d never fully cut.
I long to hear her inhale before a laugh, her long sigh,
the busy silence when she searched for topics.
“Hello, it’s me,” I’d say. “Hello, me,” she’d answer,
her blue eyes an amused squint.
HOW TO WRITE A COLLEGE ESSAY
Start with your greatest loss, biggest obstacle, the woman you loved, the man you killed. Open your heart. Relax. Show the real you. Write like your hair is smoldering. This is the most important paper of your life; be unique. Never mention the word “special.” Be specific: the time your mother wished she'd never adopted you; the night your father died in the fire. Make the reader see the veins in her neck, feel the words strike, the door slam. See you in the garage smoking by the turpentine; see the garage ignite.