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LJI Week 12: On Hold

This is my entry for this week in LJ Idol Friends & Rivals (therealljidol). We got to select from a number of prompts, and I chose "Happy Place."

On Hold

A lone saxophone
wails on the line. Other
customers are getting help. My
brother and I used to

burst from gray gathered
trees onto green-gold fields. Would fling
ourselves downhill, our momentum
faster than our feet. We could have
flown into bombastic blue, beside
robins, bluejays, mourning doves. Arms
spread in heady air, dense with
clover, dandelion, alfalfa.

Spongy grass gives
way to clumpy dirt. Bendy
jade-colored corn stalks allow
us passage. We run
until we reach the next tree band,
the winding creek's cool tinkling.
A shush of deep sounds: insect hum,
far traffic's whoosh, a breeze through
shushing leaves.

Shoes on shore, we dip feet
into the creek loam...

"Can I help you?" Brisk business voice.

"I need to close
my Mom's account.
She died before Thanksgiving."

And can you bring back
the saxophone?


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2016 11:54 pm (UTC)
This is so striking and beautiful. The wind-swept reminiscence of the past is so haunting after the truth of the present hits.

Edited at 2016-03-04 11:55 pm (UTC)
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)
Thank you. It's those sorts of memories that are giving me solace right now.
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:30 pm (UTC)
Ouch. I loved the flashback..and reality hurt when you brought me back.
We could have
flown into bombastic blue
- lovely line..:) Nice take! *Hugs*
Mar. 5th, 2016 01:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I did a little free writing for this one before putting my favorite phrases into poem form. At first, I had the purpose of the call near the beginning. But when I turned it into a poem, I felt it worked better coming at the end.
Mar. 5th, 2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
I really like the verb tense shift in the flashback. Nice use of the concrete images of nature, too. You really capture the way mourning comes on us suddenly...
Mar. 5th, 2016 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The verb tense shift was deliberate, so I'm glad you caught it. For me, that's how such flashbacks in memory happen: shifting from telling yourself a story to being immersed in the experience.
Mar. 5th, 2016 06:03 pm (UTC)
Nice job here. You certainly have an ear (and third eye) for poetry!

Will you return to this piece for polishing?
Mar. 5th, 2016 07:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, I will. So critiques are welcome.
Mar. 6th, 2016 05:07 pm (UTC)
Line breaks are the breath of a poem. I think the first two lines need to be flopped and then end that stanza with "saxophone" which will then bookend the focus of your last line. When you begin your middle section with "My brother and I" then you can build and contain all that gloriously visual momentum and corral it. Don't break out of it back into the present tense regarding the phone call. Put the "shoes" line into the body after the "tinkling" line.

And just a passing thought about structure. You may want to break the saxophone line out of the beginning and add another line to the help line...."Other customers are getting help. I am unheard (voiceless) and on hold". That then mirrors your closing lines.

A, I really like this poem!
Mar. 6th, 2016 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions. Line breaks are the things I end up changing the most in revisions, for reasons such as you listed. I will keep these comments in mind when I get around to revising it. Much appreciated!
Mar. 5th, 2016 07:31 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed the imagery and flow of your poem, especially the way you ended it.
Mar. 5th, 2016 07:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I tried to make the middle memory portion flow more smoothly than reality.
Mar. 6th, 2016 05:50 am (UTC)
I can very much relate to the train of thought here when put on hold. What a punch at the end! AW
Mar. 8th, 2016 10:46 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, that is pretty much my daily experience these days. Thank God for music!
Mar. 7th, 2016 06:33 am (UTC)
Such beautiful memories of childhood, and they contrast so sharply with the businesslike needs of the now and the pain of closing your mom's affairs. I can see why that would make you think of happier family days.
Mar. 8th, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
I know it will hit me even more when I go there in a couple weeks to clear out personal items before the auction.
Mar. 7th, 2016 10:11 am (UTC)
Oh this is so powerful and well done.

I love this: our momentum
faster than our feet.

I remember that from my own childhood, and love watching kids I know (including my own) do this now as they run downhill.
Mar. 7th, 2016 09:29 pm (UTC)
So true. It would be a good place to try out the Douglas Adams theory of flying: throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Mar. 7th, 2016 07:05 pm (UTC)
Very sweet and melancholy.
Mar. 7th, 2016 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That's where my mind is.
Mar. 7th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC)
Lovely bit of daydreaming here. Isn't it curious that sad events sometimes evoke happy memories? I think Inside/Out did a wonderful job evoking this process - sometimes its the happy that makes something sad or vice versa. Your entry has the same kind of power.

As for Saxophones...

Mar. 7th, 2016 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I needed that. My boy and I danced around the room to it.
Mar. 7th, 2016 09:15 pm (UTC)
Mar. 8th, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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