Saturday, October 12, 2013


This beat up old guitar's been here 
since way back when
Garcia was still truckin'.
Fuckin' shame that Jerry's gone.
We got starter wedding rings
and pretty things
for the girlfriend on the side.
Great Aunt Edna's serving tray
now displays
a dozen Rolex watches.
Fuckin' shame old Edna's gone.
Pick a shelf.  Pick a box.
Pick yourself a piece
of someone else's life.

All these things -
everything you see.
All these things
are just like me -
waiting to be redeemed.

That wedding dress hanging in the window
came from the widow
of a soldier.
Fuckin' shame that man is gone.
Sometimes I put it on
for velvet Elvis 
and the poker playing dogs.
She told me that he signed himself away
for the chance
to go to college.
A fuckin' shame that burns us all.
Now she's got a sandy folded flag
and two babies on her own.

Some things
are more than what you see.
Some things
are just like me -
can't be redeemed.

A much belated response for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads.


Fireblossom said...

The F bombs kind of undermine any notion of sincerity, don't they? I can just picture this jaded pawnbroker. The whole thing reminds me of the Tom Waits song "Soldier's Things".

Sylvia K said...

Yes, I tend to go with Fireblossom today. This one tugs at me!

L. Edgar Otto said...

Wow, mama zen, first rate and with truths that the scope of this prompt would have us be neglectful to pass by... the old greatgrandma would creak the floor on the farm with her rocking chair by the old guitar dusty rarely played... she had to have her hat with the hand print of the television faith healing preacher for which she send a donation to. The very moment she died a string broke on that old git box and set the chair to rocking.

Sometimes, there the only redemption we can find within ourselves if we choose to dream in grace.

Gail said...

Stunning poem.

Here's mine

Sam Edge said...

Holly - a lot going on here MZ. Kind of a sad ending.

kaykuala said...

Yes, plainly things can be bothering! But see it strong, head on! Strong write MZ!


Margaret said...

Oh, I just love this. The contrast between good and bad just makes this poem "snap". Amazing.

Hannah said...

You paint such awesome characterhood and story here, Mama! Excellent with the repetition, too.

Susan said...

Folk Song! Rock song! with its chorus/bridge. Shame, Shame ... war sticks with me because it's where you end up--but Jerry Garcia! Pick a piece of ... but we can't. No redemption. (We too have a folded flag.)

Sioux said...

The inclusion of "sandy" when describing the flag makes it all the more real.

Mama Zen, there is enough meat in this could be used as a springboard for a short story. But it makes for a wonderful poem-hiding-as-a-song, too.

Lorraine said...

This is a great piece I'm always stunned how you write, the un-writable, Mama Zen

Brian Miller said...

dont know too many things that are truly beyond redemption...all it takes is someone able to see the value in it...smiles.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This poem contains so much social commentary, fragments of the human condition, the bits we lose along the way.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Actually, this improves upon "soldier's things" for me. At the heart of all these things is the person attached. Loved loved loved this.

Anonymous said...

Goddamnit, I wish I had written this.

Anonymous said...

you don't leave no money on the table, MZ. You get it all.