Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A BENCH IN A ROSE GARDEN
—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento
What we have been makes
us what we are.
Henry, an old man, sat on the same
park bench every day. It was next
to a rose garden. He enjoyed the
company of people passing by.
Then one day Henry passed on
and was no longer on the bench.
People still walked by. Nothing
was any different.
Kafka told of a man, Gregor, who
turned into a giant insect because
of a troubled life. Maybe Henry’s
untroubled life had turned him into
the bench he’d sat on…
and he’d become a metaphor of him-
self. The bench should now be called
Henry, because, like Gregor, he’d
become something else.
BECOMING ONE WITH THE PINE
—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks
Spent so much time
On the bench in
High school football
I began to take root.
Coach (I swear)
Had to free me
With an ax
At season’s end.
“Don’t worry, kid,”
He apologized, “next
Year will be different.”
“You mean I’ll play?”
“No, we’re getting
An aluminum bench.”
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
That young man slouched on the park bench—
a bright autumn day with red and amber leaves
not yet shaken from the maples—what is he
thinking, eyes half closed? What tune insinuates,
so now one boot begins to tap the first beat
of a rhythm—is it a song of cabbages, or kings?
So young a man, his music must be a different
language, or one I’ve forgotten years ago.
But look, he isn’t slouched at all, maybe just
letting October sun and breeze meet him
here on a park bench.
FINDING HER WAY
Where will she go in this maze
of city? You said goodbye
to her sitting on a bench by the steps
to underground, the subway,
its steel security, its quick connections.
There are taxis, buses. Or will she
measure distance by the whim
and flimsy of two gimpy legs? She can’t
walk first-class anymore. No airbags
under armpits or the arch of foot.
Life is no more carnival, no joy ride.
But she’s still got tunes in her pocket.
Will she hum herself to some
intersection you never dreamed of?
Second childhood remembers
so many songs.
We live on a hillside
close to water
We eat in darkness
We sleep in the coldest
part of the house
We love in silence
We keep our poetry
locked in a glass cabinet
Some nights We stay up
passing it back and