Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Podcast #7 -- Beth Cavanaugh

The first time I heard her read, I told Beth Cavanaugh that I wanted her to come to my house and read to my daughter. Someone quickly shot back that they wanted Beth to come to their house and read to them. I agree. Beth reads wonderfully -- and writes even better. I am pleased to share three of her poems with you. I know you'll enjoy them -- let Beth know what you think.

Waiting Up for You

11:59 PM
I ‘m waiting up for you.
I turn on the porchlight.

12:00 AM
I curl up alone in the oversized chair,
Nestled beneath a comforter.
The lamplight softly caresses the pages of my book.
My eyes move over the words,
But there is no meaning.
The seeds of worry are taking root
Growing quickly, wildly.
But I calm myself and think,
You’ll soon be home.

12:01 AM
My book slides off to the floor and my page is lost.
I leave it there, not caring.
My silent footsteps are heavy
As I enter the shadowy kitchen
Searching for comfort.
Warm smells from our family dinner
Just a few hours ago still linger.
But the aftertaste does not satisfy me.
You’re still not home.

12:02 AM
I drift from dark space to dark space
Until beckoned to the dining room window
By silvery white curtains bathed in moonlight.
My trembling fingers pull back the silky softness,
And I press my face to the hard, cold glass.
My restless eyes scan the sleeping street,
Eager for lights.
Meeting only shadows.
Why aren’t you home?

The faint glow of car lights
Crawls hesitantly around the corner.
Creating a dance of light and gloom
Upon my face.
They pass silently,
Leaving me devoid of all light.
Where are you?

12:04 AM
The pain of worry in me is so intense
That I labor to breath.
My exhausted body is hungry for the sleep
That my over-fed imagination will not allow.
Uncle Patrick’s friend was murdered when he was 10.
Stolen from the bowling alley in broad daylight.
His bike and headless body found three days later.
What’s happening to you?
Out there.
In the dark.

12:05 AM
The passing car has stopped
Its engine hums quietly
At the end of the street.
The passenger door opens
I hold my breath.
My eyes strain to identify the dim silhouette
That runs back up the street.
The door opens and
The sweet life smell of you fills my world
Your youthful brilliance explodes into the hallway
Pins prick my eyes and stab my heart
As I offer a silent prayer of thanks.
You have been delivered safely to me once again.
I emerge from the darkness as you say,
“Mom, I’m home.”

Class Reunion

It came in the mail on an ordinary day,
Tucked between magazines and bills to pay.
A small white envelope that filled me with dread,
Before it was open and even one sentence read.
The postmark was from where I’d lived as a teen,
I was fairly certain what this must mean.

I opened the envelope carefully with an anxious breath,
The letter inside began Dear Former Classmate Beth,
Come join us for memories and a laugh or two,
Bring the hubby and kids with you.
Hope to see you in late July,
Please be so kind as to reply.

Please reply? What should I say?
This was only three months away!
Who was going that I’d want to see?
Would I have to face snotty Mary T?
How would I get by butt to be small?
Did I even want to go at all?

Should I say yes or throw it away?
I decided to think on it for a day.
It might be fun to see the old school,
And former classmates dorky and cool.
Hear the old songs that we all used to know,
Oh what the heck, I guess that I’ll go.

The days flew by and I ate less and less,
Struggling to squeeze into that little red dress.
Hair that’s always in the wrong place,
Was waxed and plucked from ears, nose, and face.
My kids looked at me as if to say,
When I’m old I’ll never act that way.

It was time to return to the roots of me,
To dreams of what I wanted to be.
The crowded halls full of Wildcat pride,
Going to class with friend by your side.
The flirting, the gossip, the secrets we’d share,
Wait, was I sure I wanted to go back there?

The day had arrived and it was time to go,
What am I doing? I demanded to know.
My stomach hurt and I suddenly felt queasy,
Facing former classmates was not all that easy.
I opened the doors to the old stomping ground,
And was wide-eyed at what I found.

The jukebox was blaring, there was beer free and cold,
Who were all this people that looked kinda… old?
Buff Steve was now flabby, and Ed had no hair,
Sue had wed Jimmy, big surprise there!
Horny Pam was prowling, Paul was a drunken mess,
He kept trying to look down my new red dress.

Beth, over here, I heard someone say,
Relieved I turned and looked the speaker’s way.
Marybeth was waving and calling my name,
Seeing my friend I began to feel glad that I came.
I saw other old friends, Kath and Mary,
Suddenly things became a little less scary.

I weaved my way over, saying hi as I went,
And talking to other old friends for a short stint.
Uniting with my best friends at last,
We laughed and reminisced about the past.
We kicked off our shoes and danced wild and free,
My best friends, my husband, my children and me.

As night turned to morning and we started to leave,
My husband tugged gently on my left sleeve.
Over there, he pointed, gazing across the space,
I looked where he pointed and saw my enemy’s face.
Blonde Mary T, the biggest snot of our class,
Was still a snot but with the biggest ass.

I smiled suddenly from ear to ear,
High school reunions were nothing to fear.
I saw the people I cared about most,
And raised my glass giving my alma mater a toast.
I went home secure about the friends I still had,
And able to say, High School’s over, and I am glad!

Where I'm From

An accident in a dark, secretive place
A moment’s uncontrollable passion
The wrong answer to a prayer.
What possible grandparents do not want to accept.
A problem to be handled and a decision to be made.
A childhood stealer
Destroyer of freedom, and dreams of the future.
A lifelong reminder of shame
I am a lust child, not a love child, a lust child.

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