Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry: How to Whistle in Prison

Poem #10 for the poetry pledge drive comes from a commonly told family story about the time I first met my uncle. For some back story on him, you can read one of my earlier posts.

How to Whistle in Prison

What I thought I had was a memory
Of the day I met my uncle
For the first time; however, what I have is what must be
A collection of what other people have shared with me
Over the years. Each thread has merged
Into a single colorful yarn with repeated narrative

Patterns, shared images - the amusing combination
Of my candy-sticky little fingers and the tinsel;
How I carefully tried to place it back
On the tree, again and again and again,
But gave up with a sigh, and, after giving
A quick look around, swept it under the skirt

With my foot; in Mary Janes and my dress,
How I looked just like a China doll, dainty and
Neat; how my uncle ambitiously set out to teach me
How to blow bubbles with my gum and whistle that day.

Now I just think it's fun to be able to
Tell people I learned how to whistle in prison.

To read other poems or poetry-related posts on this blog, click here.

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