“Lost and Found”

“And somewhere, there is
a flash of brilliance
illuminating the shadows”. (from Walt’s poem, “Snapshots”

“Lost and Found” (a prose poem)

I have so few memories. Rummaging through a box_ a note found among a few old photos from sixty years ago. It is yesterday …and the note reads:

“Billie: I went by for the laundry but it’s not ready yet. It is 1:30 and I still have to work Riviera. The man said it would be ready by 3:00 P.M. How about sending Butch after it?” Jack.

His beautiful handwriting; so precise; schooled from the turn of the century. Daddy’s note is written on the back of an old, yellow-stained envelope. The laundromat is six blocks from our dingy, ugly, olive green rental. It looks the same today as it did then, only now is painted a sickly blue.

A screened porch snakes across the front. A low, overhanging, wooden structure covers its length to act as shade, reminiscent of a chicken coop. It remains the ugliest eye-sore house on that street. Was probably why I grew up to become a “turner” of houses. Could never get that bad taste out of my mouth, so I kept moving. I slept at one end of the sharp curve of the porch on hot, sweltering summer nights. If you knocked at the front porch door, you were unable to see me sleeping at the other end.
The laundry must have been Daddy’s responsibility! Amazing! On a hot, sticky Florida day, he must work and rescue the laundry! His work consisted of servicing jukeboxes at restaurants and bars. Take the money out; put new records in. Not intellectually stimulating. A penny for your thoughts and five songs will cost you a quarter. The job barely paid the bills when the money did not lose its way at end of day to the race track.

Daddy once managed a gas station but there was a leak and the whole place literally blew up right in his face! After exiting the hospital, we moved to Daytona Beach where he managed a Bottling company. A sweet, wonderful , funny guy, everyone loved you, Daddy! You never said a mean, cross, spiteful word, ever! Such a happy drunk! But you had a knack for being around things that liked to blow up!

Mother (the “Billie” of our note) never approved your longings for ‘adventure’. A trip to the track or one last beer following jukebox rounds always broke the financial back. Daddy, in your cups at the supper table you say: “pass the peas!” and Mother did just that. She passed them. She threw the whole bowl… those tiny, green-garden delicious peas swimming in butter…Dogs tucked their tails and cringed under the table to avoid the crash. Little sister screamed with fear and I the grownup child of eight hushed her away ’til the storm blew over. Now older and able to withhold moral judgment, I long to see you, Daddy; give you a hug; hold your hand. Look deep into those dark, mysterious, Cherokee eyes of yours. I herewith send a belated note to you: “You meant a lot to me” and I apologize for mother pitching the peas.

Before you worked for a music company and drove a truck, you rode the bus home from work to the trailer park each day. Brought home with you one piece of wood each day until you built baby brother a playpen… Here are pictures of baby, grinning from his playpen! How could anyone question such love?

I would have liked to have known you but you left too soon. I knew so little that even this old scrap of paper seems a precious memory to keep. Your sister, mother, father gone early…before I could know them. Your mother passed when you were seven and you say you remember her long, thick flowing, silky-black hair. You tried to reach up and touch it as she left for heaven.

– See more at: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1850546-Found-Daddys-Note-a-prose-poem#sthash.UfY45JG3.dpuf



She floats upon the mists, like veil`ed bride
and mid the purple light of evening glows.
She wavers, beamed between the candled light;
a many-ribboned rainbow now she shows.

There’s mauve and peach among her silken folds
Look! streaming are her ruffles; there she glides…
and ivory, her face back-lit with gold!
Now peaceful in the billowed clouds she hides.

She whispers that the day has slipped away
and soon the colors fade to somber bloom;
a greying majesty begins to sway
as sad, and sadder grows the deep`ning gloom.

Black night has come again for this old crone
God save us from the dusky dark, alone.

Sylvia’s Bell Jar

Sylvia’s Bell Jar

She changed her name to Higginbottom, E.

then raised her glass of wine to Madamoiselle;

to New York City and society.

Anonymous, she ventures into hell.

The fifties presupposes white-glove stance

the social ladder climbed most carefully.

We women had the vote but little chance

to join Man’s world. We lived…uncertainly.

So brave to throw away her steno pad

forsaking all Aurelia’s imbued schemes.

She grabs the poet’s place which makes her glad

but life is not so simple as our dreams.

Frustration climbs into a safe cocoon

thrice turning up the gas to fill her room.

I recently finished Plath’s “Bell Jar”.  Born in 1934 (Plath born 1932), I remember those days.  For most of us, marriage and kids was society’s expectation. Many women happy with that but Sylvia wanted more; much more.  Her book seems to fall apart midway.  Perhaps that is exactly what she meant the reader to feel- like one is losing their mind and things are falling apart.  She was driven.  Suffering clinical depression, she had a tough time tolerating disappointments; her husband not the least of those.  She tried to kill herself 3 times: once by drowning, once by taking pills after return from NY trip and discovering her rejection slip for Harvard summer writing course (with IQ 166, that must have really steamed her!), and finally succeeding by turning on the gas in a London flat soon after publication of her book.