Skirt

When she was six,

The girl was enrolled in private school.

They issued a blouse, white,

Socks,

A tee-shirt with a school logo,

And a pleated, plaid skirt.

 

They reissue the socks,

And the blouse, white,

And the tee-shirt with a school logo

Every year.

 

The skirt is made of sterner stuff.

 

When the girl first wore it,

It fell below her knees.

 

Each year the girl grows

And the skirt creeps up,

And up,

And up,

 

And up,

 

Until,

In the way of the world,

Concealment becomes its opposite.

 

There is no equivalent

For school boys.

 

The injustice of this

Has so far

Gone unnoticed.

 

 

 

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I Would Know You

I would know you.

Tho we have never met,

I have dreamed our conjunction.

Only your face I cannot make out,

But, no matter, I would know you.

 

I would know you by your walk,

By the swing of hip and shoulder,

The familiarity of your stride.

 

Would you know me?

Let us say you would not;

You are so much younger.

 

I would watch you write a note,

The same underlining, the same slurs.

I would hold my breath as you read,

As when I see you walk in,

That searching gaze,

 

That sudden smile.

Would you know me?

 

If we should meet and embrace,

Your breath on my ear,

I would kiss your hair, your throat.

 

We would talk of obscure things;

You would laugh, “how alike we are!”

 

Would you know me, then?

 

When we would next embrace,

When we would be face to face,

And if, surprised, we would be mouth to mouth,

 

Would I have the courage, then,

To tell you who I am?

 

 

 

 

 

At Five, You Can Still Play Naked

Sometimes, when I visit blogs, I find my self focusing only on the new….A shame, that,  looking back gives you a notion of where the blogger has been…not to mention there is some great stuff there.  So, I am taking a leaf from my own bock…and from time to time i will reblog some of my earlier stuff…especially stuff i reread, and do not find wanting.  This is one I wrote back about 2012, about my neighbor’s little girl; even at that time it was old news,  the events were long gone.

At Five

Look Across

My  alter-ego Balthusian finds himself in a moment of tender realization.  (he recovers, and will be back) 

           Look Across

These two wipe mudless feet, pawing like mares.

Their sweatpants shift in that almost dance.

They stand in that oh so easy, so

Artless, strange contortion.  It’s

A mystery that, known only

To  young girls waiting at a counter,

There celebrated, and only there.

They see the large man and the small girl.

The small girl holding his hand, gazing up.

They smile at the small girl.

They were there, once a dream ago,

But now they tete a tete,

Sipping cold water through straws,

Smoothing cream cheese on toasted bagels.

That large man with the small girl,

Balthusian knows his days are numbered.

Too soon, the small girl will not look up;

She, too, will look across.

Gypsy Girl

In the Haunted Bookshop, in Sidney, I found a collection of  postcards depicting gypsy life in England, I think in the 1960s, certainly not any more contemporary than that.  A couple of them truly struck my fancy, particularly one of a gypsy girl, wringing out cloths by hand, in front of her cart.

On the postcard, there is a young girl;

She sits by a fire, wringing out a wet cloth.

She has long, lank blonde hair…those genes

Picked up in some forgotten somewhere,

Sometime in the long ramble of the Rom carts.

Behind her, an open-lot,

Looking like a miniature covered wagon.

She wears brightly patterned pants,

The sixties, then,

Her pants a discard, begged from a housewife.

Cool pants.  Groovy pants.

She does not need to be cool or groovy;

She needs to wring out the cloth.

 

In city co-ops and squats,

The pampered children of the middle class,

Dressed in flowing skirts and flowered shirts,

Dream of being gypsies.

They do not dream of being cold,

Of being told to move along,

To watch open-lots give way to lorries;

Horse power succumbing to horsepower.

They do not dream of wringing out wet cloths

On a cold morning in a country lane,

Coughing in the wood smoke,

And hoping for a breakfast,

But, as often as not,

Settling for some tea.

 

But, for all that,

And because I am a romantic,

I like to think she is still there,

In an open-lot, with children of her own,

Collecting, reusing, recycling, reselling

The cadged castoffs of our comfortable houses,

Wheeling and dealing, working the harvests,

Fortune-telling and horse trading at the country fairs,

And meeting at the old stopping places,

Marked with gypsy sign,

As the endless road unwinds before her.

 

 

 

Tot-lot

 

I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, for many years.  When I was raising my daughters, we lived in an area near a ravine.  At the bottom of the hill was a park…and I use the term loosely…and what parks ‘n’ rec drones called a playground.  We called it the tot-lot.  There my daughters played with friends, as I watched.  Among the other children was a beautiful little girl named Jill.  On one terrible afternoon, one of my youngest’s friends called and said “Jill’s dead.”  She had apparently died of an aneurysm.  She was, I think, around nine or ten.  One of those moments which comes back to haunt you.   This one is in her memory.  Tot