Saturday, October 11, 2008


While I enjoy writing poetry about silly things like the Funky Fairy and my great old Honda, there was a day when I actually used to sit and write more, well, seriously. I really liked doing that, and I think I need to get back into it. I remember loving the creative writing class I took my senior year of college (nine years ago), and tonight I dug out the poems I wrote for it. Here are two of them.

King of Phoenix

He enters on tiptoe
Coming, going, teasing
Until he invades with
                        Boulder-heavy steps.
He oppresses us
Never sleeping
Sneaking through
Sturdy, sealed windows,
Briefly opened doors,
Arrogantly brushing by pink and timid insulation
Which bows in surrender
Upon his attack.
He feeds on the lengthening days,
His ravenous hunger accelerating
Until he becomes violent,
Leaving red slap marks
On noses and sandaled feet.
He hides in my car,
Waiting until I open the door
To reach out smoky fingers
And taunt me--
"Stay outside. This is my place.
You could never force me out"
(Maliciously daring me to enter
So he can smother me.)
Those he can't intimidate into fleeing
Cannot hide for long.
Four months
From his golden throne
He rules.


Grandma's Dinners
Grandma's dinners were
Fall-apart roast,
Cloudy, whipped potatoes,
Golden, steaming rolls,
Whole strawberry preserves,
Fresh-squeezed milk,
Churned ice cream
Oozing off cobbler.
Family members chatted
With customers from
Grandpa's auto repair--
Guests as varied
And savory as Grandma's vegetables.

Only one visitor
Sneaked in, unwelcome.
Cancer invaded Grandpa.
Long short waiting
For the inevitable
Was more pleasant
(Or more bearable)
For both with
Grandma's bountiful meals.
Smiling and afraid,
She continued cooking,
And, later, feeding,
Until Grandpa slept at last.

Grandma's dinners are
Pasteurized milk over
Kellogg's Corn Flakes,
Or Chunky Jif
And Smucker's smashed
In Wonder Bread.
How and Why,
I wondered initially,
Can my grandma,
Whose potent chili
Kicks tastebuds, shouting,
"STAND!" and "saLUTE!"
Exist on cereal and sandwiches?

Now I grasp
(More, yet shallowly)
Grandma's rare philanthropy.
She lavishly shares
Riches of herself.
Her full house
Is now Her.
She eats cereal
And peanut butter,
Because for Grandma,
Roast isn't filling
Without anyone to
Cook for, to share with.


Unknown said...

First, thanks. Tears are a rich shampoo in a world matted with economic paranoia. Your memories of those childhood days at Grandma's are beautifully stated pictures of my own thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great poems, especially about Grandma and Grandpa. Very poignant.

"tears are a rich shampoo in a world matted with economic paranoia"? You can sure tell where you get your love of the written word. Good job on this kid, Dad.

C. Beth said...

Dad--Very poetic! Glad to provide your shampoo for the day. :) And glad you enjoyed the grandma poem.

Sandra--Thank you! :)

Becky said...

Wow! That second poem, what a great tribute to your grandma.

C. Beth said...

Becky--thanks! It's funny to me that when I wrote these I remember the "King of Phoenix" poem being popular in my class, maybe more than the grandma poem. And maybe just because we were in Phoenix, and everyone in that class related to a poem about HEAT.