RWP NaPoWriMo/Poetic Asides Day 9

I Can Still Hear It

Though winter’s carol season had just passed,
time doesn’t change discs.
What Child Is This strummed my ears.
There were still cookies,
and cookies needed milk.

After that first chocolate-chip bite,
I took a sip and choked.
Time doesn’t change the milk either.

The song ended,
I reached to change the disc, before
Little Drummer Boy
but we both startled
at the phone’s ring.

It isn’t my father’s teacher voice
but my Mom’s voice,
without greeting,
and to the point.
Her words were pumice on my smile.
Sense limped and flapped against my brain,
but it rejected it,
just noise — not communication.

A polite parrot-marionette,
gripped the phone and
kept repeating,

I know I bruised her,
at the fringe of understanding,
but I couldn’t grasp
the utterance,
“Dad has died.”

She’d always been patient,
but I’m certain
this was
greatest test.

At last the lever lifted
and comprehension poured
into my pail-brain.

Before I had to pick-up
my children
from school,
I sat on the rug
and wept.

One thing echoed,
a partner to my Mother’s
unwelcome reality —
I would never hear one particular sound,
an unexpected treasure,
just realized.

Forever lost
until eternity
my father’s
beautiful Texas drawl
as he says
my name.

I’m determined to ask him then just to hear it:

I will speak heartily
for the work of his mind deafens him,

“When you got to heaven, did you still do math problems
even though you know all the answers?”

He will glance up
with his pencil and a quick smile
and call my name just as I remember.

“Ah good, you’re here.
Come here and let me show you something.
This problem’s new.”

for RWP Day 9


Texan Girl

Everything about that girl is Texas.
          Nah, she don’t talk like that.
She says, “y’all.”
          Well, there’s lots of  folks who do that.
Then what else is there?
          She’s ’bout as broad as that state.
Well that ain’t very nice.

          She’s got pecan colored hair or did til the gray showed up.  Her eyes are about the same color as a blue Northern blowin’ in.  Have you seen her lift a feed bag?  Gal’s sturdy like a good longhorn.  She’s fair skin like Padre Island beach but sprinkled with freckles.

Yep, but what’s she like?
          A gospel song, with a bit of country and Beethoven thrown in.

Yeah, I always thought she’s like a book a poems, but unexpected ones, not the mushy love stuff.  Always found myself having to think around her.
          Dang right, she’s got a wicked sense a humor, but she ain’t mean.

Yer right ’bout that.  Proud and loyal like a good hound but way smarter.  Kind a like my grandpa’s cats.  Or a coyote.  Hey, wasn’t she a teacher?
          Yep.  Came by it natural–father, mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles.   No escapin’ it.  Loved it too.  Mostly she loves words and what they can create.

Shoot, I knew dat.  She done made us, didn’t she.

for Poet Asides Day 9

About T A Smith

Just one of the literacy scholars on this site who wants to explore writing in all its complexities.
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15 Responses to RWP NaPoWriMo/Poetic Asides Day 9

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    The first poem really stirred up some awful memories for me. Some I thought were long gone. I guess not.

    The second poem I think I have had that conversation with someone before. Ha… Or maybe I just overheard it. Yall know what I mean.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I guess writing can remind us of things we’d rather not think about too. Sorry. The second poem was fun. I’m so glad you’re here to share this writing experience with me.

    • Yousei Hime says:


      I guess writing can remind us of things we’d rather not think about too. Sorry. The second poem was fun. I’m so glad you’re here to share this writing experience with me.

      I’ve been to enough funerals now that I think about what will be said about me. I did a lot of thinking about it at my father’s funeral. His was the celebration I wrote about. It was amazing. Former students, family members, neighbors . . . so many people shared stories of things he’d done for them. I want that too.

      Thanks for sharing these with me.

  2. Where you from? (of course, it’s more about the inflection, and has a rhythm and pitch almost like singing)

    There’s no escaping the drawl, even though my mother tried to teach me and my sister “proper” English. I’ve tried to make peace with it, ultimately. Seems like you have – perhaps you’re doing a little of that here.

    Have they heard of Padre? Enjoyed these!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Lol. I’m sure what I wrote is some conglomerate of southern accents. I came by mine via Houston, Taft, and Kountze. I’m sure kids who did cheaper spring breaks heard of Padre Island, don’t you? 😉

  3. lesliepaints says:

    Wow. Both of these tip the scales to beautiful writing. You captured that feel in your words and pauses in that first poem. Made me remember.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      These most powerful memories, they are difficult to write about for more than one reason. Yet they are often my most powerful poems. At least I think so.

  4. Carmen says:

    First one, gorgeous and heartwrenching. Though time does change milk. Haven’t you ever poured some almost-cottage-cheese into the sink?

    Second. Very nice. I can just see these two guys pitchin’ hay as they have this conversation. Clever ending twist.

    Thanks for both.

    p.s. Spell check doesn’t recognize heartwrenching. Have the linguists never been touched in that way?

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Good call on the milk. I’ll look at that line and make the meaning clearer. Glad you liked the TX gal too. That was fun to write, trying to capture a way of speaking I’ve heard my whole life but rarely spoken myself. Your p.s. was hilarious. It is funny what the spell/grammar check accepts and refuses. You’d think heartwrenching would have been in there long ago.

  5. Technobabe says:

    Your writing versatility is outstanding. I didn’t know you could write like this. This is amazing. “I Can Still Hear It” is poignant and shows how a shock can keep the brain from flowing like it usually does. It also reminds me that a memory is something we can bring out and let us soothe us when we need it.

    Talking words! Excellent! I love the description of the Texas gal, all of her!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thank you. Capturing the moment was difficult. You understood it, so I must of have done ok. I’m really glad you enjoyed these. I love sharing them with you.

  6. Viola says:

    I Can Still Hear It is a heartwarming story poem that touched my heart. Full of emotions. I enjoyed reading it very much. reminds me when I got my call that my dad died. But the call wasn’t from my mother it was from his doctor. I love the story about Texan Girl. I lived in San Antonio Texas for five years when my husband was in the Air Force. I also have a lot of respect for teachers. I taught preschool for 32 years, and worked in the public school when my girls was growing up. Our teachers are so under paid, but yet their job is the most important job anyone can have. My hat is off to Texan Girl. Your parents did a good job in molding you.

  7. brian says:

    nice. the second gave me chuckle where the first made me a bit sad…

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