My version of a Valentine’s Day poem, a poem from my past (Innisfree Poetry Journal) (And if you click on the link, you’ll also see the poem that resulted some time after this poem was written.) (Hence my a-version to this day.) (Heh . . .):


I tell him he should write a book
for how to cook creatively in a studio apartment
with a kitchen so small he washes his dishes
on the stoop of his back door. (Strike that,
he says: the front and the back are the same
He makes good use of free mangoes
in the courtyard basket and groomed rosemary
waiting to be pinched as he walks to the corner
store.  His oven allows him to roast a turkey
wing. This is just as well—if he had a roasting pan
he’d have to store it in the back seat of his car.

And there are days he can’t find it at first,
what with parking being premium, one block
away from Chuck’s Diner, one block
from the Pacific shore.  When I fly
down to visit him, he asks
what day is it, today? If it’s Friday
that means it’s parked on the Thursday side
of Sabado Street, two alleys and a block
from the lemons he picks to bake the fish
he catches from Belmont Pier.

He heads out to find his car, whistling
as if Connie the Corsica is a horse from home
that comes running when he calls. (Tell them, I miss
Montana. Tell them you named my car.
)  He keeps
his guitar in the car trunk so he has space
for a toaster and the bread machine
he’s re-geared for small loaves of sourdough.
He wants me to hear the chords
he made up without looking at the music
book I sent him months ago. He likes
to think he invented D minor.
(Strike that: he did.)


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

20 responses to “a-version

  1. wuffda

    Sherry, you have an amazing gift for turning life into art. I love you forever (fan crush.)

  2. Wonderful poem. A slice of life from our lovely youth. You write so well.

  3. Kerry

    Aaahhhh…when life was simple and sweet! I imagine him, walking in the sun, whistling for his car…this certainly warmed me up on this pewter grey sky day.

    • redmitten

      it was startling to me to fly down there and discover you couldn’t just park in front of where you lived. every day the car got parked wherever he found a spot and then the tricky part- remembering where that spot was the next morning. 🙂

  4. Karla Linn Merrifield


  5. Enjoyed this! And enjoyed Innisfree…! Any chance you can come to central Illinois for an Irish history inspired reading on March 27? Let me know. We’d make you our guest at a group reading!

    • redmitten

      innisfree is a sweet journal- they do print versions as well as on line. and i would LOVE to be part of that irish history inspired reading, but right now have means to get there. but stranger things have happened. when i started writing a few years ago i began to realize how much of my irish upbringing influenced my POV on life. we practice our sorrow early; the more we care the more we laugh. innisfree has another poem of mine (driving home from my father’s house by way of county cork). and thank you for the lovely invitation!!

  6. S, the revelation of betrayal here is so off-handed and devastating it made my heart jump. Just like real life, eh? It’s a gift from heaven to be able to transmute it into something of meaning and elegiac beauty. We who but aspire, salute you.

    • redmitten

      my heart jumped to read your words, that you connected to that revelation. you amaze me with the way you tune in. a blessing and i thank you.

      in writing the poem- the year of the tree- other poets read it while i was working on it and some wanted the poem to end with the philosophy that there is always another verse to a song. but i felt otherwise, and for me- this is where the grace/power comes from in accepting that at times there may only be 4 verses to a song. in accepting, we surrender. but surrender is not the same as defeat. this sort of surrender is liberating. ….i am on my soap box so i will climb back down. your connecting to this means a lot to me. thank you.

      • Yeah, Sherry, people always want the upbeat ending, don’t they. But your reading of the “fourth verse” is not only much more potent, it’s unflinchingly honest. This is what I cherish so much in your poems, your fearless, unself-conscious candor. A lovely distinction I heard long ago about another writer applies equally to you, you write in a spirit of openness but not confession. It allows you to be both clear-eyed and open-hearted, about the best combination we can hope for. Surrender is most certainly not the same as defeat, not when the surrender gives voice to the heart in defiance of the barricades. Indeed.

        PS (apropos of nothing): Is your part of Montana anywheres near Little Big Horn?

      • redmitten

        you make it easier to keep believing in that ‘fourth verse’. and i’m a-blush- thank you (!)

        i am less than an inch west of the little big horn. apropos of everything, what draws you? i’m very drawn to this land.

  7. Rose Hunter

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !
    …Thursday side
    of Sabado Street

    • redmitten

      yeah! i didn’t know you then when i wrote it, but that street was meant for you! he would say to me he had to park on the thursday side (which means that the friday side of the street was going to have the street sweeper come through on friday). and the thursday side of the street got cleaned on Thursday so you couldn’t park on that side of the street on Thursday. gosh, i’ve made a mess of this. but anyways….a poet way back when i wrote it lived in this area and when he read my poem he wrote to me and said…but but there IS no sabado street between chuck’s diner and the belmont pier. and yeah, that is sorta true. but also, remember who names their corsica, connie?

  8. Rose Hunter

    like, like….

and then you said:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 51 other followers

%d bloggers like this: