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Speaking of Poetry

By October 2, 2005self-referential

So eight weeks ago I went online and submitted my poem to the New Yorker.  Basically you just email it in as described on their website.  They say it can take up to three months, so I shouldn’t be impatient.  Frankly, I’m not.  If they want to publish it that’s fine.  But I have my own publication outlet so if you want to read it then click on the link below.

Driving to the airport

The phone rings and I hold it to my ear
A voice speaks to me, haltingly
From a country across an ocean
Two thousand miles away

Next to me, you stare out the window

I’ve known this voice since childhood
Softly speaking of familiar things
From a place with a different culture
From a place now his home

I glance quickly as you turn and smile

His excitement is buried in muffled sounds
The Parkinson’s limits him though he denies it
Almost whispering, he strains to convince me
What he says is important

You are laughing at people on the street

I listen patiently as he tells me
His plan to return to New Orleans soon
A dashing fantasy of independence
In truth, he no longer travels alone

We arrive at the airport and I let you off

As I drive away, I begin to miss your laughter
I begin to get used to your absence, and
I long to be free of needing you.
I keep thinking of what he asked me:

"Ernest, which things are close to you, and which are far away?"


P.S. If you appreciate these kinds of observations, you might want to read this as well.

8 Comments

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  • Josette says:

    wow, that’s actually a pretty fast rejection turnaround. who knew?

    also, i love this poem’s form. it’s so tight and restrictive. and that last line kills me.

  • Ernie says:

    Today I got the email from the New Yorker rejecting my poem, and apologizing for taking so long to get in touch with me. No problem. I didn’t expect anything from them. I still like the New Yorker and I’ll still keep reading it.

  • Morenike says:

    Is it that you have an elder parent with Parkinson’s that you can nologer relate to, close but still very far away, and memorie are all youhave left. It’s sad but this is when you need to be there.

  • An excellent poem, Ernie. (I wish I could write long ones!)

    Clarence Darrow said “inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet.” haikuEsq says “Inside every lawyer is a heck of a poet.”

  • ChoHopHub says:

    Dear Ernie:

    I just read your poem entitled “Driving to the Airport,” and am trying to interpret your message. Are you trying to push this person away and go on with your life close to you or are you trying to bring this person back in?

    Thanks.

    Chohophub

  • Stephen Terrell says:

    Enjoyed this very much. Thanks for sharing.

  • Emily Mann says:

    Wow, that is a really powerful poem – hope it does get in the New Yorker – it’s one of those pieces that I would read, and then flip back to read it again

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