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Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Leonard Cohen

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For Joey, Who Let Me Borrow Her Jacket



Your given name was Barbara
but I don't think I ever heard anyone ever use it
not even the grown-ups
Joey fit you much better anyway
like the tight Levis and
rocker T shirts 
and the denim jacket you always wore

I remember your voice
Low and gravelly
from smoking too much
way back in the seventh grade

You hung with the girls
even the boys were afraid of
but had the prettiest grey eyes
and a cute crooked smile
when you laughed
which wasn't often

We had nothing much in common
except by chance one class
where I let you copy my papers
so you could get a good grade
and you let me borrow your jacket
one afternoon when it was cold
and told me to keep it until the next day

It had the faint sweet smell of marijuana
and the feel of your confidence
I wore that jacket
like a suit of armor
and after that day
the taunts and threats of middle school
never touched me again.

submitted for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, Open Link Monday

25 comments:

Mama Zen said...

"It had the faint sweet smell of marijuana
and the feel of your confidence"

I adore this!

Fireblossom said...

Well I guess you know I love this one, right?

myheartslovesongs said...

wow! the final two lines gave me chills! LOVE this!

Grace said...

you posted early...still working on mine...I like the tale..sometimes faking courage until it becomes real, is a good way to face and overcome your fears ~

poetrydiary said...

Amazing how little things can make a big difference. I found this touching and sweet.

Dave King said...

I understand exactly where this is coming from. Fine poem.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

My gods.....I was just completely transported to St. Mary's, 7th grade..........
I could even smell the bathroom............

Powerful, luv.........
no mean feat to make it through middle school........

xo

booguloo said...

I had a friend like that, that introduced me to self confidence. Same odor from his clothes.

nene said...

Your transitioning and transforming underpinnings in this piece is wonderfully put.

This is a 'good' piece

mi amiga

darev2005 said...

Something shared is something doubled, not halved.

Raven said...

This is a marvelous poem. It is filled with teenage angst and joy, pain and revelation. It is a really beautiful poem. I enjoy how you sort of wrap up each stanza at the end with the definitive thought.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This sounds so authentic.. I can quite see these two dissimilar girls striking up an unlikely, if brief, accord.

zongrik said...

middle school is a whole other world. u grabbed the sentiments and expressed them well.


private dreamliner

Laurie Kolp said...

A brief encounter can change a life forever.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I would so love to know what that girl's life looks like now? Originals have a tough time in school - but generally the most wonderful lives later!

Mary said...

I like this so much. It is so realistic, so deep, so filled with feeling. I wonder where Barbara is today, whether she remembers.....

rallentanda said...

How any sensitive child can survive a middle school is a miracle!

Lolamouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Semaphore said...

Two indelible character sketches, of Joey and the narrator, through the spare metaphor of a lent jacket. Well done!

Kim Nelson said...

WONDERFUL relating of a life-altering connection made way back when. You told it so well. Love it!

David Saltaire said...

Very evocative of a difficult period in life. Funny how someone else's clothes can make you feel like you are inhabiting another personality.

Jotter Girl said...

Wow, this one brought a tear to my eye. So descriptive I could feel how you must have felt wearing that jacket for a day. Great piece.

hedgewitch said...

You've got that whole sense of adolescence, trying to find the shape of yourself, boggled and looking for all the things that are so hard to find. I always say the test of a good poem is going from the personal to the universal, your experience bridging to the reader's--this does it in spades.

janaki nagaraj said...

The struggle to fit in, the peer pressure and the reassurance....well written.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Loved this so much - like Androcles and the Lion.

Perfect, yes middle school sucks