Monday, December 20, 2010

Afflicted Street of Memory

Affliction inhabits houses
on my childhood street,
memorializing them
like weathering

#428: Elmo was four when
the car jumped the curb and
mowed him down like overgrown
grass. Soundlessly he’d circle the block,
looking for home. My mother always
called him Poor Elmo and I never knew
he had a last name.

#912: Kathy’s legs, encased in metal,
could only move with crutches,
sounding like machine pulleys,
a clanking, grinding reminder that
polio hadn’t always been vaccined
against. She’d sit behind the big picture
window, smiling, watching us play.

#231: Virgil was always brash
and arrogant, like a dandelion
with deep roots, infesting
the neighborhood with breeze-driven
wisps of spore. No one knew he had
cystic fibrosis until he died at 31 and
we read his obituary.

#507: Ronnie, gifted, studied
to be an architect, and
after graduation joined
a monastery, devastating
his parents but he wanted
to save tortured souls like
his own instead of buildings.

The rest of us: mists, vapors,
ephemeral imaginings
borne for a time along the wind
but then dispersed, scattered,
dissipated, so easily forgotten
while the afflicted are
so easily remembered.

Photograph: Sunset over town by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

This poem is submitted for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry. The links will be live at 6 a.m. Tuesday. To see other poems, please visit the site.


Jerry said...

Wow...Do the numbers represent addreses or a way of reducing your neighborhood children. Nice One Shot.

Maureen said...

Like reading clinical charts. But all the details build such a complete portrait of what we don't know because we never see beyond the light in the windows.

Anonymous said...

Wow, deeply affecting. Thank you, Glynn.

dustus said...

Amazing, Glynn. I think "Afflicted Street of Memory" may be my favorite of yours. Fantastic artistic concept, and the details of the inhabitants lives are so accessible and real. Cheers

Bubba said...

These sound like real people from real memories to me, Glynn. Nice One Shot!

hedgewitch said...

I agree with dustus, this may be the most meaningful to me of all the many of yours I've read. And we do remember the afflicted as a species set apart. Also, I like the blowing seed reference--that's a personal symbol for me that always speaks volumes.

Claudia said...

wow glynn - this is just amazing - touched me deeply - good to remember the afflicted..

Brian Miller said...

dude this rocks...the walk through the neighborhood...the tough memories sticking while others just kinda drift and is true though the vivid ones harsh as well not to know about the man until his obituary...

Desert Rose said...

Raw write Glynn! love the photo..clapping hands here!

Anonymous said...

There but for the grace of God..

Anonymous said...

Felt like I've taken a stroll down the streets of your childhood memories Glynn. It's funny how some individualts just stand out from the rest and what our minds make of them.

Excellent concept and very hard hitting

Laura said...

Lately, I've reconnected with old friends from my school days via the magic of fb...and there has been much suffering amongst us through the years between then and now...and still much love and growth and joy too. Your words have touched my heart deeply.

Beachanny said...

Another Christmas window - pictures of childhoods and Christmas past. Evocative and meaningful, Glynn. I invite you to my blog today, too, for my Christmas message. Wishing you every joy this season and in the new year!

signed...bkm said...

What a great write, that is a trip up and down the block of life...making me go back and revisit my own blocks of life...bkm

Steve Isaak said...

Intense, horrific urban tale. Good work.

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

that was a great reflective poem full of urban horror..i read the numbers in two ways, as addresses but also as the time of the incident on a police call log over a period of days....thanks also for all your support of both One Shot/One Stop and myself...enjoy the festivities and have a wonderful new Year..all the best Pete

Iliteratepoet said...

I really liked the style in this poem. Keeping it real, fantastic.

Thanks for sharing.