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The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Poet's Corner : Critique my Poem > GIRL ON A BIKE

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 Posted: Wed Jun 15th, 2011 04:08 pm
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in media res
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GIRL ON A BIKE

Red light on campus. My bike stops
Next to a college girl’s
I apologize for being a parent
And ask, “Where is your helmet?”

She smiles, shyly turns away,
Says, “In my dorm room.”
(Others have turned their heads
Rolled their eyes in silence
As my daughter has done hundreds -
No thousands - of times.
One has said, “Fuck you.”
Never heard that from my daughter.)

I want to tell this college girl
But never have told anyone
I want to tell them all I knew
Kathy Kelly

The titian hair of Kathy Kelly
The smile of a thousand ships Kathy
The innocent laughter of
Kathy Kathy Kathy Kelly.
And, oh the freckles freckles freckles
Oh, the freckles
Of Kathy Kelly.
Her scent of Shalimar
Our first eye-glass clicking kiss –
Hers fell off.
My first kiss since Carol Smetko slapped me
At age 5

I want to tell this college girl
We could sit all day on a rock
On the banks of the Kankakee and be happy
Or at least not unhappy

Summer zipped through

Kathy Kelly went East
Michigan. Ann Arbor.
Me North
Wisconsin. Madison.

Shalimar scented letters,
(Still in a blue box
In our basement)
Mailed voluminously
Arrived much too slowly.

Autumn days crossed off in RED
On my UW calendar
BLUE on her UM
Eagerly waiting
For Thanksgiving.

The October phone call. The 16th.
My mother...
“Kathy was riding her bike...”

There have been many Kathy Kelly’s since.
There have been some Carol Smetkos.

Sometimes, in Chicago,
On a street or in a store
I catch the passing scent of Shalimar
From a woman my age
I stop and linger
And I think of
The girl on the bike
In Michigan
Ann Arbor
And a Thanksgiving
That was not.




in media res

Last edited on Wed Jun 15th, 2011 06:15 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Fri Jun 17th, 2011 01:50 pm
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timmy
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IMR:

Been looking at this for a couple of days now. It's wonderful.

I wonder if you need the daughter lines in the second stanza? I understand the girl on the bike reminds you of your daughter but she really reminds you of Kathy Kelly more, doesn't she? No need to reinforce the age difference either b/c you've already informed us of you being a parent. Maybe I'm really complaining about the "fuck you"...it just spoils the whole mood for me early.

Would also like another or two repetitions of "I want to tell..." later in the poem...the same way you bring us back to the "Shalimar" smell of Kathy. (I looked up Shalimar...I learned a new word today. Beautiful image coupled w/titan and a thousand ships Kathy)

The geographical placements also work for me....just a word like "Kankakee" puts me in a good mood.

Both reminiscent and melancholy at the same time...a good combination. I enjoyed reading this very much.

timmy

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 Posted: Sun Jun 19th, 2011 01:10 am
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Timmy,

Thanks for your always insightful reply.

I was torn with the FU. I actually wanted to write “Fuckyeeeeeooow” to add a little softening “musicality” to the phrase and character to the girl. As an actor, I always think of the oral performance poetry rather than the reading of poetry. I wanted to contrast the the difference of his daughter and the FU-er. And yet, his own daughter does not even know of Kathy Kelly.

Kankakee goes in with sound of Freckles and Kathy Kelly

Everything else I answer “yes” to.

As I have said, “I am not a poet.” But, sometimes I post. Feel – or fear - more may be coming. It goes in trends.

To get a “wonderful” from you...is like...is like...wonderful!

Best,

in media res

Last edited on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 04:22 am by in media res

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 Posted: Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 02:08 pm
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Potabasil
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In Media Res

Just did first reading of this poem and will have to read as Timmy did a good few times.It is lovely and also sad.


The October phone call. The 16th.
My mother...
“Kathy was riding her bike...”


Potabasil

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