Daniel Northcutt

Rookie (May 12,1984 / Riverside, California)

Little Books With Golden Spines - Poem by Daniel Northcutt

I won't pretend to talk about how time slips away.
I never called you.
I never talked to you.
Because I never had anything to say to you,
Until I couldn't say anything to you.
Now I'm a poet.
People like what I have to say;
Sometimes a lot.
Don't think I forgot who taught me to read.
Sometimes I look up your old apartment on my computer.
There's a picture of it there you know.
White Oaks it's called.
No one remembers if that's what it was called when you lived there.
No one else even seems to remember you living there.
But I do.
I look at that picture,
It's a grainy image of the front of that small apartment building,
Most of it obscured by a eucalyptus tree,
The same one from which we used to listen to the birds call in each morning.
I look at the window where your bedroom used to be,
And it is good for a time;
Then sad,
Because I never called you.
I never talked to you.
I never had anything to say to you,
In those last years.
In White Oaks you slept with a picture of Christ,
And you told me of his works and his love.
I wish I still had that faith,
Then I could believe that you would see this,
But the reality is,
The only family this poem will reach is old uncle catharsis.
You, who,
Colored in polka dots to spite the insipid,
Dated black men to spite hatred,
Slept with a large, hard, framed Painting of Christ to spite the devil,
Sang songs about worms playing pinochle to spite death,
And taught me to read to spite ignorance,
Will never see a word of this.
You won't live forever in the hearts of men,
Because I won't live forever.
But poetry lives forever,
And, in White Oaks, behind a eucalyptus that sang the return of Apollo's chariot,
It was you that taught me to read.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 20, 2012

Poem Edited: Saturday, April 21, 2012

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