Perpetually 26

The first day of NaPoWriMo! Today’s prompt was to use the first line from another poem and riff on it. I chose Allen Ginsberg’s “Kaddish”:

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.

downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up all night, talking, talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph

the rhythm the rhythm–and your memory in my head three years after–

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I”m no Ginsberg–could only hope to be one tenth as good a poet. It being the 7th day of Pesach, I was going to wait, but it also being Yizkor, a time for remembering those you lost, I’ve decided to post this anyways. Ginsberg wrote his epic poem in honor of his mother, Naomi, z”l. Mine, well, thank G-d, I have not yet lost either of my parents. Mine is for a friend. My best friend. Nat, z”l


Perpetually 26

Strange now to think of you, gone without a single goodbye, while I walk on the sizzling pavement of downtown Enid.
High school reunions in the blazing summer heat and I’ve been up all night,
typing, drinking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to remade mixtapes,
a pale comparison to old dusty cassettes now spun out to oblivion,

but cherishing
that last bit of handwriting. Screaming your life to me with new ears,
but why didn’t I
Aimlessly searching notebooks, childish scribbles for one last hint of you.

And now–your memory in my head three years after.
Awake my soul from this bad dream!
That I might hear your soulful strings serenading strangers in the symphony.
That we might both have made it out alive!

And I stood, shouting, “Look!! Be grateful, you fools! Your best friends are alive.”
I am minus one.
Minus one big gaping hole in my soul.
Oh regrets!

You are everywhere, haunting high school halls, pedalling through muddy sidewalks once yet to be constructed.
Twins from two families–so different, yet so alike.
They know not what they have.

And I, almost 30.
And you.

Perpetually 26.


© 2013 D.L. Lang

This poem was published as a part of Abundant Sparks. Dig it? Grab the book:

D.L. Lang
D.L. Lang
Diana L. Lang is Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. She has published nine poetry books under the pen name D.L. Lang, won several awards at area county fairs, and enjoys participating in the spoken word community of Solano County.
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