27 October 2008

Homer Linebaugh

My "Story-Telling Poem" for ENGL463 - Introduction to Poetry Writing.
When I wrote this, I didn't really like it, but Professor Holden (who is a US Poet Laureate, has published 20 books and 190+ poems, and has his own page on Wikipedia) said it was good, and I suppose I trust his judgment. So for your reading pleasure, here it is:

Homer Linebaugh

He wore overalls and a brown fishing hat
Though we never saw him leave to go fishing.
Mostly he spent his time being retired and
Working in his shop, building doorstops
That looked like kittens and wooden flowers to paint
And stake in the yard.

On warm afternoons he stood at the fence and watched
Us toddle around in the backyard,
Saying little but multiplying his wrinkles
As the sun baked his smile.
Occasionally, we slipped through the gate and joined
Him and his wife Mildred.

He painted his past for my dad in hour-long conversations
And proudly showed him the silver dollar
He swore his great-grandfather had carried
During the Civil War.
"It saved his life," his voice was eager like a child.
"A bullet hit this coin and it should have hit his heart."
My dad (I'm not sure why) didn't let him
Savor the sweet piece of luck.
"Look at the date, Homer."
From my spot on the floor, I thought the old man stopped breathing.
"That bastard!" he muttered.
"Homer, not in front of the kids."


Anonymous said...

You never showed me that poem. How old were you when you wrote it?

Alyssa Reeves said...

haha, 20. I wrote it on Oct. 19.

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