Nostalgia, Poetry, and Rainy Days… Poem #1

It’s a rainy day here.  Normally on a day like today, I would float in a contented fog of reading, napping, and mindless television watching.  My mind had other plans for today, however.  A quote on Pinterest got me thinking about books I read in college (there are many, as I was an English major), which led to finally joining GoodReads, which led to “where is my copy of Slaughterhouse Five?” and “I wonder if (insert random, obscure book from college) is on GoodReads?” … it was.

And all of that brought me to a pile of folders and binders from my Undergrad days.  One binder is from Fall 2003 – Poetry Writing Workshop.  Five poems from another lifetime.  Somewhere, there is my final portfolio, but that’s another expedition for another day.

So, since you are all my friends (old and new), I’d like to share with you a series of poems from my former life, as well as revisions now that I am…. whoever I am that was not me then.  Because, let’s face it, people do – without fail – change.

And, without further ado (which is a cliché that I love – so, leave me alone)…

Poem #1

Sweethearts(Draft – 2003)

I had a dream of you tonight,
after months without thinking of you.
I dreamt we were walking through
our little, old hometown—
down the street we grew up on.
Mine was the blue house behind the library,
yours was the brick one by the railroad tracks.
yours had a pool with a slide
that we spent entire summers on.
Mine had a ping-pong table in the basement
where we spent every night each winter.
You always won and rubbed it in,
you ass.

Remember in second grade, when
I dumped you for cheating on me with M—?
Remember, in tenth, when
we didn’t speak for a month because of her again?
And she’ll never let us forget it

When we were fifteen, my dad taught us
to drive his old pick-up truck.
You caught on to the stick shift faster than me;
I always stalled at the stop sign on Maple.
He took us to the country and showed us
the best spots for camping and bonfires,
and we had the greatest parties out there.
You teased me for never wanting to get drunk,
and I teased you for always getting caught.

Remember when J— got so drunk
he passed out in the woods and it took us hours to find him.
Remember that night we tried to sneak into your mom’s house
at 3 a.m., but she was awake and locked us out, so we slept in your car?
She was so pissed.

In high school, you played football, I played softball,
and we went to all of each other’s games.
We cheered each other on for years.
We had almost every class together.
We went to every dance together.
You came to my piano recitals.
I went to your track meets.
You helped me with Algebra.
I helped you write papers.

Remember the time we skipped school senior year?
Mrs. N— called the cops on us
because we were driving too fast down her road.
Remember getting her back that Halloween
with soap and eggs and toilet paper?
She deserved it.
What a bitch.

It’s been two years since I’ve seen you.
It’s been a year since we last spoke.
You stayed back home
to go to college on scholarship.
I left home a week after graduation
and got married two years later.
But you weren’t there,
and I missed you.

In my dream, you asked me why we never kept in touch,
and all I could say was that life got too rough
to stay connected that way.
We were friends for 18 years,
but now we’re not…
And I’m sorry.

Growing Up Sweethearts (Revision – 2012)

I had a dream of you tonight.
I dreamt we were walking through our little, old hometown—

Remember walking down Beech Street? My house on one end,
behind the library; yours on the other by the railroad tracks.
Remember your pool with a slide where we wasted away the summer;
my ping-pong table in the basement kept us busy all winter.
You always won and rubbed it in,
you ass.
Remember in seventh grade, when I dumped you for cheating on me with M—?
Remember, in tenth, when we didn’t speak for a month because of her again?
And she’ll never let us forget it.
Remember when we were fifteen, and my dad taught us to drive his old pick-up truck?
You caught on to the stick shift faster than me; I always stalled at Maple Hill.
Remember when your brother showed us that spot out in the country for
camping and bonfires? We had the greatest parties out there.
You teased me for never wanting to get drunk,
and I teased you for always getting caught.
Remember when J— got so drunk he passed out in the woods? It took us hours to find him.
Remember that night we tried to sneak into your mom’s house at 3 a.m.,
but she was awake and locked us out, so we slept in your car?
She was so pissed.
Remember the time we skipped school senior year?
Mrs. N— called the cops on us for driving too fast down her road?
Remember getting her back that Halloween with soap and eggs and toilet paper?
She deserved it. What a bitch.
Remember…
all those football games… watching, worrying, cheering you on…
my softball games, too; you were my biggest fan…
when we had almost every class together, went to every dance together…
all my piano recitals, when you would try so hard not to laugh…
helping me with Algebra, and helping you write papers…

Remember…?

It’s been two years since I’ve seen you, over a year since we last spoke.
You stayed back home to go to college on scholarship;
I left home a week after graduation, and got married two years later.
But you weren’t there.
I missed you.

In my dream last night, you asked me why we never kept in touch,
And all I could say was that life got too rough to stay connected that way.
Too many obligations, too much work or homework or this-or-that;
too many other people filling the hole in my life that once was filled by you.
We were friends for 18 years,
But now we’re not.
I’m sorry.

I don’t even know how you’re doing, and it would be awkward for me to call.
There’s all this time and space and distance stretching between us now,
and “Hi, how are you?” just isn’t enough to cover everything I’m feeling.
So I hope you get this letter, and I hope…
Perhaps… perhaps you’ll call, and… and…

Oh, how I wish we could go back to Beech Street.

Why I changed what I changed…  Mostly, I wanted to make the thoughts more concise without losing any of the detail.  I added more of a repetition with more uses of “Remember” at the beginning of several lines, but I didn’t want to overuse it.  The memories themselves are sectioned off by themselves, and I changed the order of a few memories to help the chronological feel of the memory section.  The ellipses at the end help to show pauses that mimic speaking through tears to show the emotion of her loss.

What do you think?!  Be honest, I LOVE criticism.  Many of the changes I made are because of notes from the workshop class back in 2003… ideas from people I don’t know anymore, with faces that I can’t remember. There’s another poem in there somewhere…

I’ve had fun, hope you have, too.

Until next time.

Word Count: 5444

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