A Woman Of Distinction Poem by Charles Chaim Wax

A Woman Of Distinction

Rating: 4.8

just finished
studying Shakespeare
at Wisconsin for my MA
then teaching
in Spinoza high school
a kid, myself, really
had Laura Adair
in my VW bus
just hopped in
didn’t know where
I was going
told her
heading for Greenpoint
to see the building
where Henry Miller
was born
if Administration found out
I woulda been canned
but like I said,
a kid myself
and Laura 19
never gonna finish
to do what?
but the girl fascinated
me, not anything sexual
more like admiration
when we reached
the Brooklyn Queens Expressway
she rolled down her window
put her hand outside
forty degrees
didn’t bother her.
“What are you doing, Laura? ”
“Hand surfing
you never hand surfed?
had a deprived childhood,
Bernstein? You put your hand
out the window
and turn it different ways
to feel the wind different ways
it looks like the wind is just wind
but there’s all different kinds
of wind.”
Then Laura put her right hand
in front of me and continued, “Look at this
you hold your hand a certain way
and the wind’s rough
cause of resistance
people are like that
if you turn one way to them
they’re rough
but if you turn another way
they’re smooth and silky
so you got to know which way
to turn.”
then without warning
thrust half her body
out the window saying
“See ya, goin’ body surfing.”
Pulled her in
quiet after that
finally arrived at Henry’s building
still there
nothing special to look at.
Two weeks later
Laura said,
“A wild man
that Henry
but the women loved him
like me
with men.”
Today she’d be fifty
if alive
but not alive
six years after our trip
rushed into
an ancient wooden building
fully engulfed in flame
pulled out three kids
lunged back for another
floor collapsed
under her
on the very street
where Henry Miller
came into the world
lived with a teacher
named Jim Kelly
who worked at Spinoza
how I knew the sad tale
a writer herself
said Jim
the sad dear man
having no idea
of her journey
long ago
to the fabled
streets of Greenpoint.

Max Reif 11 November 2005

geez, Charles, that's sad, ironic, beautiful... and I remember thinking too, just as you drove onto the Expressway, 'I love New York', where anything & everything happens.

0 0 Reply
Kelly Allen Vinal 11 November 2005

This is extremely refreshing! Well done!

0 0 Reply
Linda Hepner 11 November 2005

Amazing story, Charles, with people, place and time. Time is especially poignant at the end. Linda

0 0 Reply
Cj Heck 11 November 2005

This is wonderful, Charles! You had me from the very first line. Again, a wonderful poem. Many hugs, CJ

0 0 Reply
Uriah Hamilton 11 November 2005

This is such a lovely poem in every way! I love the Henry Miller reference!

0 0 Reply
Error Success