Sealey Chapbk Challenge-21 plus 2 poems

Where I’m From-inspired by George Ella Lyon

arlene s bice

I’m from special dinners in the dining room

tea and toast for breakfast in the kitchen

a kitchen floor filled with piles of clothes

on Mondays, waiting for the wringer washer

I’m from home baked bread, lemon meringue pies

fried ripe tomatoes in summer with milk gravy

BBQ pork & fried chicken better than the South

junket when I was sick, all a mother’s pride

I’m from clothes frozen on the line before the pin is set,

coal chutes rattling noise, filling the bin, coal dust flying

church bells on Sunday morning, waking me up

listening to  the Phillies on the radio playing baseball

on a quiet summer afternoon, playing Monopoly

or Catch ‘5’ on the Zeltt’s front porch till somebody

loses too often & gets mad, Mrs. Zeltt bringing iced tea

I’m from relay races and outdoor movies hanging

on the school on a summer night when mosquitoes

were plentiful; Wednesday afternoons walking two

miles to the swimming pool and once swimming in

our neighbor’s wooden pool that he built himself

flowers picked from the cemetery for Mother’s Day

getting caught smoking in the tree with the boys

I’m from roasting potatoes on a stick on an open fire, till they were black, snuck out of the bin in the bottom of the fridge and frogs’ legs Mom cleaned and fried for us after we caught them in the creek, sneaking eggs out of the nest in our chicken coop that had a straw smell like no other; the turkey had his own place, strutting around the small back yard, fenced so they wouldn’t get out or was it to keep other animals from getting in

I’m from American Bandstand on TV, playing hookie from school to dance before Dick Clark arrived

school dances, roller skating, and football games, movies on Friday nights, wearing lipstick, giggling over boys, tomato pies from Papa’s on Chambers Street on a Saturday night while watching Midwestern Hayride with my big brother Bob, graduating to babysitting, to  flying in a DC 9 from Chicago & a Piper Cub at 15.

I’m from a main street dividing Trenton and Hamilton, where we counted the cars going by while waiting for Mom to get herself ready; we never reached 10; washing the porch with the hose in the summer and sometimes sleeping there when it was too hot in the house; sneakers and high heels, jeans and ball gowns, lots of picnics and plenty of pictures; I’m from a lusty passion for travel that stayed with me all my life.

Where I’m From-inspired by George Ella Lyon

arlene s bice

I’m from Liberty Street between the Methodist Church 

& Cristofaro’s Memorial tombstones

the street dividing Trenton from  Hamilton Township

on the township side

I’m from walking to school with friends,

kids who stood in my yard and ‘hello-ed’ the house

by calling my name, never knocking

on the back door

Piles of clothes lay on the kitchen floor

on Mondays when the wringer washer 

got pulled up to the sink

tea & toast was breakfast

where a pink rose bush covered the fence

so pale in color that when we took pictures

in summer, petals covering the groun

like a winter snow

jigsaw puzzles spread on the old dining table

with fat oak legs rubbed shiny for holidays

summer was Catch 5, monopoly & rummy

on the front porch

swimming in Mr. Ron’s wooden pool, one he built

having no children of his own, cutting flowers

for us so we would not raid the cemetery on      

Mother’s Day

Rosie’s old husband sat on a Bentwood chair

alongside the tomato pie place sidewalk

calling to all the young girls walking by

crossing the street

two blocks away was the best vegetable garden

with tomatoes ripe, red, & juicy, the old

Italian almost caught us with tomatoes

piled in our shirts

four blocks away was Pryor’s donuts

filling the air with hot greasy aromas

making us all hungry for a warm, plump,

cream-filled donut

sleeping on the porch on hot summer nights

playing in the attic on rainy days where I’d

find my father’s leg brace in a drawer, thinking     

someday I’d be just like him.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Sealey Chapbk Challenge-21 plus 2 poems

  1. Love this! We are from a similar generation.

    Like

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