Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sundown Town

I'm the wrong kind of bride
for this moth / must church,
this trip-ya-twice gown,
this sundown town

where they roll up the streets
and pull the shades down
till the sun's back up -
this sundown town.

I'm the wrong kind of wife
for a white picket fence
keeping outside out
and inside in;

for two shiny kids
and a new Frigidaire
(just fifty dollars down,
bought in sundown town).

I'm the wrong kind of widow
for coffee and books,
weeping once a week about losing my looks.
Withering and waiting till they plant me down
in my half of the plot
here in sundown town.

For Poets United

27 comments:

brudberg said...

The anguish of the confinement of any small town is palpable in your words... Sounds like a dream of the open solitude only a metropolis can bring.

Sioux said...

MZ--This is one of my favorites, but I think that frequently. And it's really not fair, because each one of your poems is so distinctive, so comparing one to another is like comparing an apple to a car battery.

I love the repeating "sundown town." I love the stark reality of the piece. Someday, I'd love for you to reveal a bit about your inner workings as a writer. Not that I could ever hope to replicate it. I'm just curious. (And envious.)

Fireblossom said...

"trip-ya-twice gown"...I love that. My goodness, I can almost feel the slow leak of this woman's spirit deflating.

Moonie said...

white washed fence
hidden at sun down
shadows reveal

what a powerful poem MZ - breaks about the "perfection" of the 50s

Sylvia K said...

A powerful poem it is indeed, MZ!! I almost felt that I was back in the small west Texas town where I grew up! And that was enough to shiver my timbers for the day, to be sure!!

Marion Lawless said...

Mememememememememememememe!!!! You keep a readin' mah mind & writin' mah pomes!!!! I heart you very muchly, MZ!!!! xo

X said...

Some nice smooth flow. Bet you could work a song out of this one. And Def beware those fences

NataĊĦa Dolenc said...

i live in a small village, but luckily we have solitude.. that last verse is really powerful..

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Powerful write.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This poem contains the self-awareness of one who finds herself living out a life that she never wanted. Excellent musicaityy throughout.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Sorry about the typo - for some strange reason I find I am typing blind. Blogger is acting up again. Musicality.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I wonder how many of us feel this way --I know that I certainly have--your piece today really touches that part of me that feels "outside" not in

C.C. said...

Can feel the discomfort in her own situation here.....and love the rhythm in the words and repetition of 'sundown town'--it drives home the suffocation.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I was the wrong kind of wife too for that picket fence. Got on my broom and was outta there. LOL. Poerful write, MZ. I am typing blind too....cant see what I'm writing on the comment form.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Powerful.

Gail said...

I think each time I visit, wow, she knocked that one outta the park. She can't top this. But then you do, over and over and over.

Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

I started singing this verse as it just was perfect for a great blues song....

Mary said...

This poem saddens me. It is hard to think that one has lived such a wrong life..

Truedessa said...

The thing that caught my attention was the feeling of being trapped in that town. It does have a nice country rhythm the repetition works well in sundown down..

Loredana Donovan said...

Yes, you've written a song, so musical! Country blues :)

Thotpurge said...

This is great! Love the rolled up streets and crying once a week! Wonderful!

Outlawyer said...

Yikes--that sounds a pretty scary place, though describe it with such sharp panache. Thanks, MZ. k.

Sumana Roy said...

could feel the anguish and power...great lines...

totomai said...

it actually reads like a song. very emotional and angsty

hailee's comma said...

I get the feeling that she might have killed her husband because she realized she just wasn't meant to be that kind of girl. Sharp turn at the end, from "bride" to "widow."

The present-place language, like "THIS church" and "HERE in sundown town" makes it clear that she's still there, even though she'd like to skip town. She wants to be somewhere where she's allowed to come out at night (love that section about how the town shuts down at dusk).

The opening makes it sound like she's standing there in that dress, just about to get married, even though she knows full-well she's making a mistake. She goes through with it though, enduring the misery right into the widow-hood. But I guess since she's still in town even after her husband dies, she's probably going to just go through with that part of the story too --- the coffee and books, the withering. Basically she's spent all of her life being someone she's not, and she knows she'll continue doing it right into the grave.

"in my half of the plot" ... Wonder what it would feel like to get to live the WHOLE plot of your own story, rather than having to give up half, or more, to other people, particularly your husband.

R.K. Garon said...

very nicely expressed in your theme. Whether it's a town, a relationship, or just a moment.
ZQ
PS: I always enjoy my visits to your site.

G L Meisner said...

Yes some times we do get stuck in a place we never wanted to be.