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Friday, November 25, 2016

A WOMAN'S SCENT...FADING















A worldly young man, tainted by love,
railing against the ruling classes,
(promising a chicken in every pot
but offering a payday loan joint on every corner)
drives down a lonely road.
The snow beyond the windows impenetrable.
The wind whipping across the park.

In his mind's ear: 
flute music played
by street musicians from Chile--
portable lives in the nomadic sun.

He hears: The war drums of the Sioux.
He hears: The voice of God singing "Hey Jude."

He wonders if he can reconcile
with the Antichrist in the kitchen.
He remembers when she said "Teach me to love."
They devoured each other like
children with melting candy.
(The just washed dankness of her hair.)

He drives past a billboard that says:
WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH STRETCH MARKS

In his mind it is all compartmentalized--
there are remnants of old lovers in each of these rooms.

And it's so puzzling to be a person
asking why does anything exist?
Time moves imperceptibly
until the world becomes a city full of strangers.

And he wants to be at a ski lodge
in the Grand Tetons, sitting cozy by the fire.
A young woman moves near.
She is an African girl--so lovely
it makes him sad. It is her love
for her youth, and for his,
that draws them together.
Could a dance like this go on forever?

And he passes a billboard that says:
WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH B.O.

And he is back on the island
with Marie--it is where they met.
The alliance of sun and alcohol
so conducive to romance.
His imagination so fertile now,
filled with ghosts and ballerinas.

When he gets home they will talk,
like they never do. He will clear the air.
He will ask if she's having an affair.
And though he knows she is
a sovereign nation unto herself,
they must remain allies to prevent
both their worlds from collapse.
And he knows to some degree that he
will always be searching for the Holy Grail.

He glances at his watch
though he does not want to think about  time--
the only constant in life being the question
of whether love will be there in the morning.

The snow swirls around his car.
On the street a white-haired man
bends haltingly against the wind.

He is almost home.

He passes a billboard that reads:
WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO STILL CAN'T BELIEVE THEY ATE THE WHOLE THING

He parks the car, then tramps
the few steps up to the apartment.
He inserts the key. He opens the door...

A woman's scent, fading.

The past...
the present.. 
a blurry haze. 
The world is on fire.

The funniest thing...
And now he remembers.

Marie has been gone for twenty-five years. 
And he is not the young man anymore.

He is the old one.



This is a revised version of a poem that first appeared here four years ago.



68 comments:

  1. Like watching a good movie with a surprise ending

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  2. Hey, that dog with the cat head is really my cat. He is a Sphynx and is built like a pit bull but is sweet as a cabana boy, lol

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  3. This was a fabulous poem, Tim. It was so layered and so well done. I felt so sad at the end for all his losses which seemed even stronger against his vivid memories.

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  4. Sometimes, I guess being missed or missing what's gone is the best option.

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  5. Extraordinary piece Tim...it's a feeler!

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  6. I love this Tim,
    __So long ago, I left the bed to prep for my work-a-day, and in looking back, I asked Kathy... "Why do you roll over to my spot in the bed?" Her answer, thru the fog of half-sleep... "Because it smells like you."

    I follow
    to her scent that lingers
    the pillow

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  7. A chicken in every poem - that's what I say...

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  8. TERI,
    Glad you like this. That cat is a bruiser!

    TALON,
    It's so strange to be a person...


    KOBICO,
    If you don't miss what you're missing, nothing's amiss! (Know what I mean, Miss?)

    LORRAINE,
    Thanks--I think you're feeling me.

    SIR PERCY,
    Unless you're writing about ducks!

    ,

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  9. MAGYAR,
    Love it when you reminisce about true love.

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  10. WOW! Tim, I feel like I say that often to you, but that best way to describe you!! It is amazing what a scent can trigger!! Very GOOD!!!

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  11. CINDY,
    Much appreciated--how's life?

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  12. ooooh, yes, how vibrant and wanting-to-be but not-quite melancholy this is. i love it. stretchmarks! i swear i have seen that shit on a billboard.

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  13. Wow! Wow! Wow! This must be one of your best! You have peeled back so many layers of the human condition, and taken a good hard look at all the painful instances that shape a consciousness.
    "And it's so strange to be a person..."

    I'm so glad I got the chance to read this today.

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  14. This was really well written, I saw the story/poem passing in front of me as I read it.

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  15. Oh Tim, what a fantastic write this is. The reverie, the observations, the musings - just so real and good and meaty - and then the O'Henry ending, as Abin pointed out. One of your best, kiddo. So poignant. That man needs a hug! Fantastic writing.

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  16. Wow. I loved this narrative poem! And can relate to the nostalgic regret of the narrator. Poignant and powerful!

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  17. by far my favorite piece I've read here Timoteo...really, really gorgeously written!

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  18. MARIAN: Thanks, luv. You have seen that on a billboard...along with the stretchmarks...nothing is sacred anymore...LOL

    KERRY: Always makes my day when I seen your comments here!

    LISTENING DAISY: Thanks, and welcome aboard!

    ABIN CHAKRABORTY: O HENRY? O MY!

    SHERRY: Thanks so much for being there.

    BARBARA: So good to see you here.

    LAURA: That means a lot...peace.

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  19. Memories can go a long way. The good life shared together, the pains of motherhood witnessed, all tended to mend the loneliness. That's how I see this. Nicely Tim!

    Hank

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  20. This poem is such a beauty. The pace is slow and yet there's an intensity that quickens one's pulse. I loved it. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  21. was just going to complain this did not show up in my reader but i see its an old one....a good one though....i like the play with the signs....and the passage of time the man realizes as well...and i have to wonder if he doesnt feel a bit left behind...

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  22. This is wonderful! Thanks for letting me ride with you!

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  23. The feel of youth and age mingled, which ought to be an oxymoron, but sadly, or maybe not so sadly, isn't--just take a squint at my avatar--we become our younger selves in some ghostly way, I think, even as our shells become someone else's ghost to us, or seem like it. When you get serious, Timo, you always blow me away with how sharp and strong your work is under the surface of colloquial ripples and humor. This is a damn fine poem.

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  24. lovely story,

    retelling it is refreshing, life is a mixture of everything,
    keep sharing.

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  25. I enjoyed reading this so much. What a lovely story. Sad that age misses youth, entertains regrets, forgets about time. I think you are such a talented writer. Really, I feel so grateful to read such quality - for free, just by clicking. Thank you for gifting us.

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  26. I love your use of the vernacular, the advertising insertions, the timeless weaved into time; the regrets and the acceptances of time, weather, women, humanness all combine brilliantly here.

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  27. This was absolutely awesome... it gave me chills. Sometimes I see a long poem and cringe, but when it comes to your work I hope it never ends... why does it have to end? I loved this... he hears the voice of God singing Hey Jude... the billboards... the dreamy quality and the ending... totally unexpected. I like your style very very much... it truly inspires me and stirs up my desire to do this lovely thing we get to do, write poetry... now if you'll excuse me, I've got to read it again...

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  28. KAYKUALA: Great to see you here again.

    BRIAN: Always look forward to your input.

    CUBAN IN LONDON: Thanks for that...greetings from a desert rat in Arizona!

    JENNY; Anytime!

    HEDGEWITCH (JOY) Well, I wish I could write comments like you do...you give me such warmth, and all you get from me on your blog is snark...LOL

    STEPHANY: Welcome aboard!

    MYRNA: I am honored by your comment.

    BEACHANNY: See directly above!

    SERENA: That warms me...it warms me so much...it warms me like a big space heater you just placed right in the center of my heart.

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  29. A new billboard:

    -WE ARE LOOKING FOR: PEOPLE WITH COMMON SENSE-

    _m

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  30. powerful, the title is interesting instantly.

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  31. This is exquisitely painful, Timeteo. I felt angst and poignancy all wrapped into one. Regret has a way of chasing us into old age. And in my view, the woman was a fool if she was the one who left.

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  32. MAGYAR: Haven't seen THAT billboard yet...lol . By the way, an ad for stretch mark cream sometimes appears below these comments!

    VIRGINIA: Thank you, and welcome!

    VICTORIA: That is an interesting take...now I need to think about who left, taking me down new pathways in my mind.

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  33. When I read this poem, I envisioned the patch of blue sky that emerges 5 minutes before sunset after an entire day of rain cloud: you are so happy to see it and you still kind of resent it for taking its time to show itself...like stretch marks and BO...reminders that you are alive and have lived, but annoying none the less.

    There is a feeling beyond your words. Though you have written a lengthy piece, it's what is left to the reader to imagine that remains the most powerful for me. The billboards, the man with the beard walking against the wind, these details scattered in between the narrative of love dwindling make this piece stand out to me and had me rereading for want of capturing the glimpse of the stupid blue sky once again. well done and viva la

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  34. ISADORA: You have provided new insights into the poem...that's what I love about reader comments...there is truth in the idea that the poet may be something of a conduit, and that poems sometimes flow through him/her from the subconscious, or the ether, or wherever they come from, and it is up to the reader to provide these additional insights to the poet himself!

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  35. Wow! What a composition.
    After reading it, I can imagine something triggering it.

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  36. Time moves imperceptibly
    until the world becomes a city full of strangers....wow!
    ...a great poem, so many layers. A great finish as well.

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  37. Tim, this is without exaggeration, one of the best narratives I have read. The way you take us on a journey of soul-searching in a life some might call insignificant, is nothing short of brilliant. How well you set up the anti-climax at the end too.

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    1. That means a lot to me, coming from you, Kerry!

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  38. He glances at his watch
    though he does not want to think about time--
    the only constant in life being the question
    of whether love will be there in the morning.

    Love this!! Beautifully done 💝

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    1. It's always fun to learn what people's favorite lines are...thanks so much for the feedback, Sanaa.

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  39. I had to sit a moment with this one, scroll back and read lines again -- the multilayered nature of its narrative, I suppose, is what prompted that -- and its equally stunning and peaceful end. There is solitude and sadness in that peace -- but it doesn't distress me like the visions he saw on his drive. The signs, the memories of love and loss -- all lead me to ask Why? How? To What End and What is it we are Becoming? All points me back to what I believe is the most discerning line in the poem, also quoted in the comment above - "the only constant in life being the question, of whether love will be there in the morning."

    Honest & thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing.

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  40. Those backward steps to the present makes for a very intriguing write

    much love...

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  41. OH! MY! GOODNESS! I cant tell you how much I love this poem....it drew me in and I felt it all the way down. Love the wry inclusion of the billboards. Love the reflection and, especially, the closing, where he is the old man. Wow. What a stellar poem!

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    1. Always appreciate your feedback, Sherry!

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  42. The fading is a well wrought urn of ashes and present compromise. Memories drift out of reach, leaving us only profanity. Well done.

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  43. Tim, I remember this one and I love it so much. It's a real treat to visit this poem this morning. Will love be there in the morning? That really is the question. Nailed it. Love, love.

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    1. Thank you! It's a slightly revised version of the original.

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  44. You are so masterful at telling stories. Amazing how time flies and the past and present both seem to be now.

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    1. Thanks so much! And you've hit upon it...the past and present ARE now.

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  45. I thought I commented on this on Tuesday, but it's really a life's story told in that car-ride... the end is not driving over the edge but to wither alone...

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  46. Have you thought of performing this live? It reminded me a bit of Patti Smith, kind of stream of consciousness beat style.
    I like the way it starts, setting the scene and introducing the
    'worldly young man, tainted by love,
    railing against the ruling classes' -
    filmic, with with background music and sound effects. And then it becomes more like a dream, with those weird billboards alternating with past loves and familiar places.

    I really like the lines:
    'In his mind it is all compartmentalized--
    there are remnants of old lovers in each of these rooms.'

    I wasn't prepared for the twist at the end. :)

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    1. Thank you, Kim, for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. The next time I do a live reading (haven't done much lately) I will include this one.

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  47. Wonderful poem, it made me feel a certain T.S. Eliot vibe, but with your own distinctive style. The stanzas were very captivating and easy to get immersed in. I loved this part:"And it's so puzzling to be a person
    asking why does anything exist?
    Time moves imperceptibly
    until the world becomes a city full of strangers."

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    1. Thank you, Selena. Happy to make your acquaintance.

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  48. Oh yeah, that was GREAT! And the ending was perfection.

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  49. Top-shelf storytelling, a condensed roman a clef.

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  50. Spellbinding. Amazing where memories of the past can take us. A very nostalgic journey and the billboards were so creative. This is only one of my favourite lines...
    "His imagination so fertile now,
    filled with ghosts and ballerinas."

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    1. You're the first to mention that line, Mish, but it's one of my favorites also.

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