Friday, January 17, 2014

Gypsy

I was born in a taxi cab--
mama had to rush home and dust,
so the cop who came
laid me on the seat of his cruiser,
near the shotgun.

I had such a tiny ten card
that it kept getting lost,
so I kept getting off.
I had a cardboard nest behind the bus station,
where I dreamed often of the prettiest judge
in the juvenile division.

When I met you, so many years later,
I fell in love with you instantly,
with an instinct and a hope
that you might be lenient in your sentencing.
Your kimono reminded me of Her Honor, and of a black sail,
and dragons who kindly devour those
who know they will never find their way.

The London, Ontario Holiday Inn parking lot
turned out to be a fine place to make out.
Businessmen shifting briefcases from one hand to the other
and beeping their car doors open, would have a story to tell
about the two women poets they saw
Frenching in the January wind.

It was the best day of my life--
better than my wedding day, better than my divorce,
better than not being able to afford an attorney,
but being provided with one.
When you took my hand inside the mall,
and the girl at the ice cream stand liked us because we were in love,
it was like blowing up against a bank bag full of happiness.

The car I drove home that day had a sticker that said,
"Sorry I missed church, but I was busy practicing witchcraft
and becoming a lesbian". 
It died one day, next to the freeway,
having forgotten Canada, and you, and its own name.

These days, I wait for buses on the slushy crap-ass streets of Detroit,
and I don't expect to be loved, or let off,
or forgiven for my Gypsy ways.
I've heard the mermaids singing and I've heard another woman moan,
but I was born in a taxi cab--
I'm never going home.
___________

for Corey's "Person of Interest" challenge at Real Toads. I have written about a woman I knew on a lesbian poetry forum, and we met in person half way between us, in London, Ontario. It really was one of the best days of my life. Weirdly, I experienced one of the worst days of my life two years later in a different London....the one in England.

image at top found on weheartit.com

I was inspired also by Tom Waits' song "Whistling Past The Graveyard".

 

18 comments:

Hannah Stephenson said...

Shay! I have missed you and your stories...so good to read you today.

So, I see you are on VACATION? Delightful. Hope you'll report back on your adventures, and that you have a wonderful time!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have a few never to be repeated best days of my life - time that I'd like to save in a bottle. Reading this brought a few back to me, so I read with a teary smile. Beautiful, affecting, real.

Herotomost said...

Sometimes I want to put you in my pocket, hit the bar and take you out and make you read your writing to me. I know it would seem strange to others, but it would make me happy. You have this classic and straightforward way of narration that drifts over you in layers like blankets of snow, they never smother, but they wrap you soft but cold, heavy but never stifling. I can always get wrapped up and am always left wanting more. Damn Shay.....its like coming to the end of Cider House Rules and saying That's it? And having a good cry. Perfect.

Robert Bourne said...

a classic Fireblossom... everyone has those days,moments that you hold on to even though you can never go back... but still no regrets ...

Ed Hart said...

you are a (seasoned) magician

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Yes, what Ed says - you are a magic gypsy, with a soul full of beautiful poems with which you gift us, and remind us of the pain and the glory of love and loss. Wowzers, kiddo. One of your very best. And that's saying something!

annell said...

What a memory of love! Wonderful!

Kenia Cris said...

What's to say but beautiful. I hate to come here and have poor vocabulary and be unable to say much more than beautiful. This poem moves me, I adore the way you tell stories (I can't stop repeating myself when it comes to that) and this one, this memory is so wonderful.

I love every line, but these things here they make my heart ache:

When you took my hand inside the mall,
and the girl at the ice cream stand liked us because we were in love,
it was like blowing up against a bank bag full of happiness.


and

These days, I wait for buses on the slushy crap-ass streets of Detroit,
and I don't expect to be loved, or let off,
or forgiven for my Gypsy ways.
I've heard the whales singing and I've heard another woman moan,
but I was born in a taxi cab--
I'm never going home.


Girl, I'll tell you what, we need more women made of your kind of love.

Kiss you. <3

Marian said...

bank bag full of happiness, i could sure use one of those! i hope you have a day with this intensity of goodness again.

grapeling said...

reading your pens for me is peeping through a keyhole into another world, fully formed, filled with color and sound and scent - and the taste you give, just that little taste - of what walking in that world would be. ~

hedgewitch said...

You've filled my heart with this, as I knew you would, and it was a cold and empty place a few minutes ago. Your taxi is a palace, your Gypsy smile is a lantern that never kills a single moth, and your poetry is what I hope someone will read to me when I'm dying. This poem knows love, and says that's enough; even if the meter keeps ticking long after the engine falls out, the ride was worth it.

Fireblossom said...

I want to thank all of you for such really amazing comments!

Susan said...

" . . . and dragons who kindly devour those
who know they will never find their way."

In contrast, this is a moment where Kindness does not apply, nor does forgiveness. Perhaps the taxi prepared your narrator for the car, for the vacation from and waiting. I have a few memories like that to cherish.

Jim said...

I loved it, Fireblossom (Shay?) ~~ And I can imagine a life like this, mine was 'sort of.' I was born upstairs in a four-room farm house of the late 1800's vintage. When I could leave home, I did. Then I lived in about twenty rooming houses before I met the first Mrs. Jim. Etc, etc.

I most enjoyed my fourth life, a life of personal freedom again, hippy style and on my motorcycle a lot, working but also back to college with the hippy girls and their yellow dogs waiting at the building steps.

Everyone should have a "personal memory bank." This one, real or your poet's conjured life, serves as an invitation to us to recollect some 'off the beaten road' times in our lives. Thank you again, I enjoyed my experience.
..

Helen said...

I can forgive your gypsy ways if you promise to never, ever stop writing poetry. Now, it's time for more about London, the other one.

Susie Clevenger said...

so beautiful Shay. It takes me to those memories I huddle in when the world gets too tough...freedom, a fast beating heart, I am young again.

Mama Zen said...

You've made this so real to me. For a moment, I felt that happiness with you.

Sam Edge Author said...

Hard to miss the bliss in this. love the line about missing church for practicing witchcraft and being a lesbian.