Jay Bradley

Rookie (Eschenbach in der Oberpfalz)

The Words I Heard Poem by Jay Bradley


The words I heard, misunderstood
Were solid in winter, cold and bare
My skin crept, listening
My great or lesser mind listing
My eyeballs seein' what wasn't there

And where were you today, birthday girl?
In your pointed hat and sharp gun
Were you laughing at the seagulls or takin' shots
I know what I wasn't doing or was not there
But I felt you on the crossroads
And I wondered, or wonder caused me to dream
So I sat there, drifting over the city, needing to shave
But that's not where I was goin'
I was southbound, shorebound, sulkin' like a slave

With sound curled toes it's hard to cry
And to spit at this length would be a trip
It would be boundless and endless and gone
Until there was only a drip drip, gone
But somehow I think we'd just carry on, like the song
With sand curled toes, pistol hardened 'bows, and bloody nose
Singin' until dawn comes chiming that it's okay to die

And the rings that were between us were dead before fingers
And we pointed them at one another in despair
So the words you flung were still in the air
Despair, what an inviting and tricky word
The absurd, the nerd who can cease to learn
And too soon or suddenly late, we wait, we dine, we warn
The suits were already worn and warm, and worms gobbled the lair

Our hair grew grey and hoarse and hard to see
But at least what we own was exposed to air
That's something to say and for which to show pride
That sometimes there's war, whether stupid or not it lasts
And I know this, we know this, and sometimes I run and hide
But in a rocking chair in open air, mixed with disease and the freeze
We sometimes forget to care, and our nostrils ensnare what's there
But I'll remember you, and the words I heard, and misunderstood
Misunderstood...how sad, how very sad I was
And now, stuck in my chair in the open air, my nose knows no bounds
Though my soul chose to drown, and my heart aches, the oven bakes
My wrinkles are my face, and happy in my sadness because I am

Submitted: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Edited: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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