Friday, August 10, 2012

Eye Contact

A battered bike leans
against the wall. Inside
Nobody clanks coins
on the drugstore counter,
a cold unopened beer in hand.

I clamor for blue
Gatorade with not much
time before my son’s
Taekwondo class ends.

can't talk straight,
and the teenage boy
rings her up,
rank with fear.
I see it in his eyes-
an uncertainty his lack of contact
with the customer reveals.

Just today I reminded my son
to look adults in the eyes
when speaking, out of respect.
We wouldn't want them to mis-
construe the truth, think him miscreant.

When I leave the store, Nobody’s
bike waits beside my van. She
scrounges through Something
for What?
I freeze, wonder
what’s in that bag she has.

Is this the end?

I avoid her eyes, walk with
purpose, hop inside
faster than a blink.

It kills me
we must live
this way, but I
survive. This time.


Prompt inspiration: Imaginary Gardens- A Word with Laurie (miscreant)


Susan said...

Sweat poem, sign of the times and a tricky example of the relationship between theory and practice. Safety first.

Susan said...

Sweat = sweet, but maybe sweat too.

steveroni said...

I was just about to blog this: "Some things we cannot log. WHO but the giver and receiver can explain in language "the look".

I'm On The Road, of course, writing experiences along the way. But HOW can I export to you the feelings (emotions) the trust, the love which is simply and easily transferred both ways in
"the look".
A stranger's eyes, smiling. Smiling back at my own, and then that explosion of a facial smile, wide as the ocean...and just as full of meaning. How can YOU experience what I just did, by my pressing these stupid keys?

...and so some parts of all our 'stories' have to end up in that INFINITE UNIVERSAL POT OF GOLD-- itself alone spacious enough to contain the universal thoughts, feelings, 'smiles', trusts, life, loves...of whoever lived, and whoever will.

Laurie, writing this to you, I just decided YESSS! I'll post it. So do not read my blog today--you just did!--grin!
Steve E

Brian Miller said...

we have a split second in which to make a decision in life that will in many ways determine the rest of that life...while i am all about people and willing to jump in with them...i make that decision still not just for myself but for those that depend on me...smiles.

Mary said...

Sounds like you trusted 'your gut' in this situation. I'd do the same and get outta there as fast as I could to steer clear of trouble which may or may not be imminent.

Maude Lynn said...

This does a brilliant job of conveying the tension between what we feel we should do and what we feel we must. Good write.

Unknown said...

Yep, sometimes you just know it's time to get outa' Dodge!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your story is so authentic. The basis of good poetry is human experience any reader could relate to and this has been well-achieved.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Laurie, such a good write. You've captured exactly what trusting one's vibe feels like. A situation any reader can totally relate to, especially these days.

Unknown said...

Sign of the times. We cannot be too's just sad not to be able to walk to a stranger and say hello.Your poem has the immediacy that the theme needs.It puts the reader inside the poet's shoes.

Daydreamertoo said...

You just never know anymore who is sane and who is going to go off the deep end and, if they have a weapon to use to do it with. When your gut tells you to get out of the way, it usually has a good instinct to know it. Even girls can't be seen as 'safe' to do not harm anymore because, they do.
Very vivid write Laurie. Sad world we live in.

Daydreamertoo said...

P.S. Happy birthday to your birthday girl 13 ... a new teen :)
I remember when Chloe was 12 she was calling herself a pre-teen. I said there's no such thing, you're either a teen or, you're not but... she was adamant. Didn't want to be called 12, she was a pre-teen. Kids!
Hope your girl has a great day. :)

Fireblossom said...

I agree with MZ.

ds said...

Definitely a tricky situation to navigate. I feel the tension, and the fear.

Grace said...

We just have to be careful...sad to see this happening but we have to watch our back ~

Happy Friday Laurie ~

flipside records said...

I really like your thoughtful capitalization. Very effective. You are so right in your concluding message. Safety first, especially when you have children.

Kay L. Davies said...

Well done, I could feel the tension as I read it. When I got to the end I realized I was holding my breath.

Teresa said...

It really can be a scary society we live in.

Mystic_Mom said...

What a great snapshot you wrote here - the images and sounds, and your own thoughts, teachings and what you want for your son. Woven together very wisely.

Ella said...

Wow Laurie... your poem put me there...I could feel that feeling of disconnect n' fear~ Well Done!

Margaret said...

Yes, we have all been there... our mind imagining many scenarios... Always breath a little easier with "not this time".

Mary B. Mansfield said...

Wow, a really edgy poem. Your Nobody sure can be intimidating, can turn something so innocuous as buying a drink into a potential nightmare-in-waiting. You've captured the tension of the moment very well.

Susie Clevenger said...

Laurie, you have stated such an unfortunate truth that we have lost our sense of trust with people and rightfully so with what happens today in this world. Great piece!