Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thirty Years Ago

Thirty Years Ago

Your words were not friends,
not that time. They slapped me down,
then they ran away.
My words, abashed, turned
despairing from the dim light
of that last day's dawn.

I then sat me down
in front of wheezing cupped keys,
that tinned fount of words
tasting like bad brass.
I held still looking for ways
to say one deep thing
because so many
times my sense appeared right there,
some thread through the night.

October 30, 2011 7:44 AM

This one took a little effort. Most lines changed completely at least once. At the last moment the poem transformed its tense from a current expression to a memory. I am grateful I am as much an editor as a writer, a relationship with words begun the thirty years ago of the title.

The picture is the prompt Tess gave us for Mag 89. Click this link.


  1. Christopher- Enjoyed this very vivid piece, especially:

    wheezing cupped keys,
    that tinned fount of words
    tasting like bad brass

  2. "...I held still looking for ways
    to say one deep thing..."

    In so many ways I can relate.

  3. "wheezing cupped keys"......

    ni-ice...........! :)

  4. isnt it nice to have a constant like words in our life, though? a way to hash out all the bad stuff?

  5. Good to see that relationship is still strong.

  6. What a fabulous write. Truly remarkable.

  7. Ouch, the taste of bad brass line makes what used to be my fillings hurt. Well done.


    I loved this. Words having their own emotions while the word itself was an emotion, and it's just so circular, but relatable. Fabulous job my friend. I love the photo as well. When I read it, it was a penpal relationship, someones Dear John perhaps, or something like that. But at the end, your description was like a great twist that wasn't included in the poem itself. A backward masking. Yummy.

  9. "...wheezing cupped keys." What a lovely phrase. You went in an intriguing direction, Christopher.

  10. Thank you, everyone. I am happy to have pleased you. Sunday is my best day of the week. I got around to some of you and wish I had more time and energy to get around to more. Last week I was time rich in comparison to this week. Getting old is not for the faint of heart nor for sissies.

  11. i, too am grateful.
    thoughtfulness and care are woven into the words and the textures of your poems. they always feel like gifts.

  12. Wish I had some of your editorial skills, if this is the result... :)

  13. Dear Christopher: "They slapped me down"

    "tasting like bad brass"

    Expressive use of the language of writer's block, I can so relate!

  14. Liked your poem and the explanation of how it was written . . all lines written at least twice. Isn't that how all our poems get written?

  15. ...expressing gratitude for readers who make remarks.

    As to how my poems get written, most often I can get a poem in half an hour whereas this one took over two hours...

    Of course that is because my poems rarely exceed fifteen lines. That means of course as a sheer matter of volume, a line of mine takes about two minutes!!

    I am a poetic limner, a cartoonist who suggests in broad strokes, however the "thoughtfulness and care" appears.

  16. It's a wonderful relationship between words and Man.

    Arnab Majumdar on

  17. Those pesky words. Beautiful write...


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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