Thursday, April 2, 2009


Day two of the Writer's Digest challenge. Today it's to write "an outsider poem."

I went nearly 100% autobiographical on this one (a first draft) and also went back to that familiar ground of musician/audience.

I changed a couple of small things after I posted to the challenge website--one more word in the last line (and I'm still not satisfied with it), as well as some italics I couldn't use in the comment field over there.

The Women’s Showers at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

A one-pound coin does not weigh a pound, but it has more weight
than the Yankee-come-lately stuff of home. I am led into
the boys’ locker room, once a forbidden zone. There are no boys.
We are women and girls: tanned and toasted, white as ducks,
smacked with red here and there, under a glaze of muddy sweat.

The headlining band has endured forty years, and the gods
like to shake them up. Quarrels, debts, divorces, flat tires
on five continents. Two deaths. They shine down on these hills
like gods, or like people who shower on marble, sleep
under down. But I have seen them, just the other side

of the security fence, in tents no better than ours, chasing
the grandkids, closing their eyes. The bench is chilly.
We are half-wrapped in beach towels, waiting our turns.
Some modest; most not. Wrinkled tattoos, firm flesh
pierced and shining, hair wild by nature or will.

We are our own country these four days. Over the tinny speakers
flow back song after song from previous incarnations
of those old, old boys. Please, Mister Lacey… We approach
the steam singing, swaying, towels falling, ready
to be clean, to go back, cheering, into the English dirt.

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