Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Say Something!

Many years ago now,
I had this unbearable
crush on a librarian
at the Forbes library.

It was the kind of crush
that left me
unable to talk
in her presence.

I would go by
every few days
and get out books
just to see if she
was there,
and invariably,
if she was,
utter a timid thanks
and leave.

It was so unbearable
that I resolved one day
to say something
next time,
no matter what.

(Now, I must tell you
that I have made
resolutions of that nature
and they usually don't work
- one time I had resolved
to say something
to a woman I kept seeing
on the sidewalks downtown
and the pressure built up
so much
that I
jumped behind a tree
to hide
the next time
I saw her coming.)

So, I go to the library
and my crush is there.

She takes my book
to check it out
and I am saying
(in my head,)
"Do it! Say something!
Now is the chance!
Seize the day!
You never know what will happen!"
but I'm feeling like
it will be very awkward.

This battle continues
for a bit
as I stare down
at my library card
in my hands.

Then I look up,
and say (out loud),
"My library card
is made out of paper!"

There is this brief
yet horrifying pause
and then she says,
sounding eager to talk to me,
"Oh yes, and now,
you can get plastic ones!"

And that was
real progress for me.

I planned to follow it up
on other days,
with equally chatty statements,
but unfortunately,
that was the last time
I ever saw her.

-Jim DuBois
August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

After the Funeral

After the funeral,
there was nothing to say
which was not awkward,
nothing to say
which did not seem cliche,
but I kept trying anyway.

I talked to the father
of the deceased man.
I said things like
"It's very sad."
We didn't look at each other
and he said something like,
"I feel terrible,
especially for my grandson,"
and looked up at the trees
and shed some tears.
A half minute later,
he said something like,
"but we've got to get on with life,
and try to help the people
left behind."

I figured out that that moment
between us, however awkward,
however brief,
was important
because it was about caring,
and that what I said
didn't matter as much
as that I cared.

So, when the parents
of the deceased were leaving,
I went up to the mother,
and took her hand
and looked her in the eye
and said as warmly
as I have probably ever
said anything,
"take care."

-Jim DuBois
July 28, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yes, the Rain

There is a first time
we each heard the rain,
or felt the wind,
or saw the sun.

Even now,
there are four new infants
who can't yet wonder
"what is rain?"
"why is there rain?"

They can just
hear it.

-Jim DuBois
Aug 15, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Uncle Fred

After the funeral
I met uncle Fred,
a talkative, friendly,
older Jewish man.

On his way out,
he said to me,
"So, you'll be up here
taking care of Rachel,
since you live nearby, right?"

I flushed, not being used to
being given direct commands,
but said, "yes, absolutely."

I thought that since he didn't know me,
and couldn't be there himself,
he was making sure the family
was taken care of,
letting me know
the importance of that.

I told this story
to his daughter,
who I met months later,
and said how I was impressed
and appreciated his directness.

She said,
"Uncle Fred's not usually
so direct,
but he is
an excellent judge of character."

-Jim DuBois
July 22, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Notebook

New notebook,
new one dollar pen,
new poem...

Argh! The pressure!
Don't crack under
the pressure, man!

alright, got that
outta the way.

-Jim DuBois
July 12, 2011