#207 After the Poets Talk

#207 After the Poets Talk

Matilda’s voice sounded like summer rain falling after a long hot dry spell. Hearing her recite her poem in my English class relit my fire. I didn’t listen to the words that flowed from her dainty lips. All I heard were the raindrops falling on my heart. I decided then I had to have her for my own.

But she’s a poet, I told myself. To me listening to poetry is like standing under the El-tracks while a train goes around a curve and emits a loud penetrating screeching sound that goes all the way to one’s soul. But that’s not what I told her when I finally gathered the courage to speak to her. I said, “Poetry is like a melody playing in a breeze, a light in the sky that blends into a rainbow of sound, and a sweet spring rain mixed together like spumoni.”

She looked askance at me. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to speak to her in a poetic tone. I couldn’t help myself when I gazed into her eyes and continued. “When I look at you, I see beauty never before seen, spoken about, or heard of. It appears in colors of chartreuse, purple, and red.”

I wondered if I should have added another color or two to stroke the poem so it wasn’t too bright, or tone down any glaring words before I recited phrases in a language even I could understand. Or should I have spoken as a poet speaks and used some abstract anecdotes picked from a pile of throwaway words?

I could hardly believe the beauty so many people saw in poetry. It used phrases and verses not spoken in any tongue, words only poets heard, so how could I know what they meant? As hard as I tried, I couldn’t make any sense of metaphorical styles. How could I know what they connoted if I could only guess?

Her words astounded me when she said, “I give you credit for using an original pick-up line, but that’s all you’re going to get from me. I can see you’re one of those common folk who don’t see beauty in our world and only wants to take what pleases you.”

“That’s not true,” I pled, “I see the beauty surrounding you.”

She laughed. “You only see what you want to see. If you saw the real me, you’d run away.”

“That’s not true; give me a chance to prove that I’ll love you no matter what the real you is like.” 57

I was going to fall to my knees to beg when she smiled and said, “Okay, come home with me.”

I tried to think of a poem to impress her, but clunky words were practically all I knew. I followed her up the stairs and into her apartment where four more girls just like her sat at a long table with forks and long, sharp steak knives in their hands.

“Ah, I see you brought dinner,” one of them said.

I turned around to look, but there was no dinner to be seen. It was then I realized they were all looking hungrily at me. I turned and tried to run, but Matilda was stronger than me. They tied me tightly to the table and lit some candles for illumination.

“He may be a bit tough,” Matilda told the others as she passed out dinner plates, “He’s full of awful words, but if you come across one, why just spit it out.”


After the poets talk.

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