Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,700 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

New And Awkward Light - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

My mustache curls up at both ends
And men that I meet out walking
Tip their hats to me and call me monsieur,
And women out strolling their children
Through the waning neighborhood
Curtsy demurely to me and kindly say,
“Sir, ” And I repay their courtesy
With a tipsy grin, like a mountaineer
Dangling from the edge of a precipice,
I let sunlight in through the lean gap
Walled in the ivory of my front teeth,
And exhale a gentle cloud of
Spiced rum in their direction;
I inebriate from a secret flask
While I watch a beautiful women
In a state of undress
From the shadowed seat I purchased
For approximately 2 hrs.
From the fine people of this
City’s floating hippodrome:
There in the magic box
Happens celluloid flickers
As pyrotechnicians go down
On both knees,
As they would to please a woman:
A graduate student of ribald philosophy
Wearing a translucent nightgown as she
Reads in an Elizabethan theatre.
Searching through intelligent spectacles,
She takes stringent notes and recites
Lines of Thomas Marlowe,
As the tongue is busy lighting that fuse
To start off the pinwheeled display,
Like eating mouthfuls of sugar
And then stepping out into the sun:
For a moment your eyes lose their place
And your legs walk away
Into the dizzy feeling whose only structure
Is what the proboscis smells through
The clean cut grass,
A yard decorated by homes and walkways:
The lemon trees sentinel along the promenade.
Coming to, this is how I hope she sees me,
As I step toward her deliberately,
Holding my deformed book of posy,
A somber badge for the heart,
As I step up to her bar in the settling evening
When sleepy school boys
Meander home from classes,
And good school girls in pig-tails
Stay afterwards for extra lessons
In all night sessions
Where crickets sing and strum their legs,
Solve vibrancies up the classroom’s
Dimmed chalkboard.
I am coming home to see her
After six long years at war,
Where I grew my mustache out to
Please her,
Where I fought and slew many a strange
Man who ran towards me in the middle of
The night through the red drool
Out of the shelling cannons,
Before I could hear their weapons
Enter me.
I come home to her now, and the
Town on display welcomes me,
But I remember she has a short memory
And only loved me for a day
And loses her place easily,
Looking up into other men;
But I have survived for so long
On only the hope of eventually entering
The sphere of her engagements,
So I step through the doorway of her
Fine establishment,
My mustache curling up at both ends,
My eyes adjusting to find her in this
New and awkward light.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 19, 2011

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