3/7/09

Layers





He stands at the counter next to my table,
he's ordering
and telling the people around him
that he hasn't been here since it was Richardsons.
No one seems to know what he means.
Including me.
Time marches on.
So do I.

But he takes a call amidst the backdrop of coffeehouse noise,
shouts to the caller
the funeral arrangements, thanking for condolences.
There will be a private burial, he chokes.
And my heart hurts.
The plates are clanking, the aromas strong.
He's thinking of another time and another place,
a person he lost from back when this was Richardsons.

A young couple with a fuss about where to sit,
a sneer,
a silent scold.
Then they sit and they eat
with no words, just resistance.

They weren't here when this was Richardsons.

The mail carrier stops for his short break
checks email, sips hot cocoa
and chats with regulars.
He keeps his beard always the same.

Her gruff voice interrupts my thoughts,
and a familiar face with smoky breath
smiles down at me.
She hands me my sandwich with a
"There ya go, honey."

The machines whir, the employees flit,
The lady with the yellow and black hat
laughs at how she matches the tablecloths.

A boy and his mom sit.
Stack of library books.
She reads aloud as he carefully tries not to burn his tongue
and gazes out the window.
She loves him like I love mine.

An old friend stops and they chat,
in that careful way of
insecurity.

The tables are so close together
people get pinned in corners.
I'm hit in the head with a jacket sleeve,
no apology needed,

It's small in here.

Tables screech across solid floor,
struggling to make more room.
Beans are poured from their spout
grinding loudly.
The aroma fills the air,
a thick old friend.
Like Richardsons.

She finished her meal
even the crumbs
and she picks up her book
and she hides her nose.

Anne Lamott tells stories and they teach me...
I read, "It's scary when the self divides into one being who will be more noticed and admired, and another, worried person who gapes out at the world from inside."

All the moving, talking, eating, laughing, scolding,
carried on by people
who are two.

These are my Saturdays, a chance to sit with my words,
a few hours
in the coffee buzz heart beats of the people around me.

And I learn new things about me and about people,
in the place that used to be Richardsons.

*Photo courtsey of flickr: verseguru







36 clicked right here to comment:

Kristina P. said...

Simply amazing, Heather.

Mylestones said...

Beautiful post. You reeled us right in to the place that used to be Richardsons, and for a moment, I felt like I was sitting there too.
Were you reading Bird by Bird?

LexiconLuvr said...

This is so beautiful. The moment with the man and the funeral arrangements...I can't even find the right words to convey the wealth of emotion I felt. Bravo, Heather. Bravo.

MidnightCafe said...

This is lovely!

Keyona said...

You are amazing.....

Heather of the EO said...

You people are too nice to me

Mylestones- I was reading "Grace (Eventually) Thought on Faith" The quote is from page 28. :)

Deb said...

i know there was a whole different meaning (or at least i THINK there was) to your beautiful poem, but all i could keep thinking was how small and insignificant my life and problems are... there's just this whole big world with all these storylines of love and loss and drama and happiness and unhappiness.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

"...carried on by people who are two."

That line right there is AMAZING in its truth. And hit a little too close to home for me, because sometimes, I'm one of those people.

Heather of the EO said...

Deb,
You did get it. In my humble opinion, none of it is insignificant, not your stuff or mine. Not one life. It ALL beats together in that caffeinated buzz of a heartbeat that is life.

Jackie, ME TOO.

Sheryl said...

Amazing! You are such a gifted writer.

Life goes on amidst people's pain and every day lives. I want to be connected.

Madame Rubies said...

WOW. Lovely. I am listening to Anne Lamott's Plan B while driving.

The Mom Jen said...

Beautiful! That place sounds like somewhere I'd like to enjoy a cup!

Octamom said...

Gorgeous.

Blessings~

Lee of MWOB said...

Oh Heather. Stunning. Beautiful storytelling. You are my current favorite place to be. :-)

Happy Saturday.

Mama Zen said...

This is so lovely!

Kimberly said...

You are such a poet, my friend.

Angie said...

I am crying at this beauty. You words are a gift. Thank you for sharing.

Muthering Heights said...

What happened to Richardson's?

Heather of the EO said...

Muthering Heights- I don't know, I guess the Dunn Bros I was sitting in used to be an old family place. years and years ago.

Jessica said...

I love this! Felt like I was sitting there with you, observing everybody and talking about Anne Lamott!

Katina said...

I love this. I read it twice. Beautiful.

Kim said...

I love this. Absolutely beautiful. You really have such an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Wow. I'm in awe of your writing.

minnesotamom said...

Ah...this reminds me SO much of the beat poetry I used to write. And, oddly enough, I wrote some earlier this afternoon for the first time in ages. Then I get online and read this--it's like God is telling me to follow my inspirations and actually put some of what I think is weird online. Not that I thought yours was weird--it was wonderful--but I think we're always more self-critical when it comes to our writing.

Debbie said...

Wow Heather! This is a whole other side of you. How many talents do you have?

a Tonggu Momma said...

I didn't know you were a poetess, too. Beautifully written.

Heather of the EO said...

Um yeah. I'm NOT a poetess, TM. I just wrote in short sentences. I have no idea how to write poetry. I'm sure people who do write poetry are rolling their eyes at me :)

charrette said...

I love this. It reads like poetry. The images are so lucid and the observations themselves hold layers. I love this. I love Anne Lamotte. I love you.

Melanie J said...

You may not have intended to write poetry, but that's what came out. Wow.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Darn, everyone has already said everything so I'll guess I'll just add my congrats--you're a real true-blue bonafide writer. You MUST submit this to some kind of hard-print outlet. I don't know what but you must!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

You BLEW ME AWAY with this, Heather. And I disagree with your assessment about poetry -- this IS poetry, in my opinion. It speaks in rhythm and has layers of beauty.

(I'm totally going to Google Richardson's now. Wasn't that a department store in the Midwest, too? Oh! Wait. I'm thinking of Donaldson's. Remember Donaldson's?)

Ron said...

Heather,

as one of the non-eye rolling people that write poetry, I applaud you.

I have often lamented on how disconnected we have become as a society. I get the strangest looks when I speak to strangers. Of course, the fact that I know that strangers are just friends I haven't met yet, does help.

A dear friend advised me years ago, that if I see someone I want to know, just speak to them.

again, clap clap

Jami said...

I love it. Not just saying that for the comment box. This is piercing.

LisAway said...

Well, I'll pretend I didn't just read through all the comments including your own and I'll tell you what I thought about this when I read it last night and when I thought about it while I washed dishes this morning.

I can't believe the emotions this evoked. Some strange sort of nostalgia, almost even deja vu. It was just awesome.

I wonder if she really knows how to write poetry in the sense of having studied it or at least read loads of it herself. I definitely don't know much about poetry, but anything that makes people feel like this is GOOD art, whatever a professional would call it.

I LOVE your poem.

Reluctant Housewife said...

I loved this. I felt like I was there... in the place that used to be Richardsons.

PS: I feel like I do everything: 'in that careful way of insecurity.'

Jessica said...

getting there...

I try to breath but my breath is heavy
i try to feel but i don't know where my feelings hide.
stay sober they say....24 hrs i prey.
min go by slow, days don't show...
god you came into my life long ago, standing by my side
between my highs and bottom lows.
but when i said those words.....
god grant me the serenity, you showed through my eyes and in my soul.
you gave me that courage to shine.
and acceptance to know what was lacking between my right and my wrong decisions.



over a decade i still think of this poem i wrote yrs ago to keep me going.

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