School daze

I dreamed a poem
During my after dinner nap.
Of course I can’t remember
A single line of it now.
So in the absence of content, 
I’ll write about context and structure,
Hoping the dreamed words
Will re-emerge in my consciousness.

Back in ’85, about this time of the year,
I packed the Jetta chocked full
With my meager belongings,
A few books, a futon and sleeping bag,
crockpot and popcorn popper,
my stereo and album collection,

And freshly pressed uniforms,
And headed south to Tallahassee
Without a GPS. And made it there.
Checked into a ratty hotel,
Bought the Tallahassee Democrat,
Found an apartment in the classifieds,
And moved in the next day.
Things were simpler back then.

I took as many classes as I could
And finished in four semesters.
My boy said, “Why you rushing?
All these honeys – this place is heaven.”
But I had bigger fish to fry, of course.

It’s all a blur now, mixed up memories.
I left Tallahassee with a new love
(and I really shouldn’t have).
I had a degree and a commission
And I was feeling pretty grown up
And sure of myself. That lasted barely
Four years, the things I lost in Katrina – 
A metaphor for any destructive storm.

This poem should have ended stanzas ago.
But now Katrina is up for consideration.
She loves being the subject and object
Of feisty conversation, mixed up memories,
Things lost in a storm.

Author: Raymond Maxwell Librarian, archivist, retired foreign service officer and Navy veteran.

3 thoughts on “School daze”

  1. (Note: Your phrasing at the top inspired me. But, I want to say, that your last stanza was quite powerful. Kevin)

    The poem dreamed me:
    a writer with a pen
    and paper and ideas,
    and all I can say
    for sure is that
    these smudges and ink and
    false trajectories
    on parallel lines on
    this flattened earth is not
    what the poem designed
    when it dreamed me up


    1. Thanks, Kevin. Love your additional riff! In the last stanza i was seeking a sort of wrap up. But the whole poem is, of course, autobiographical, and the end reflects the the sentiments of lost love (and even lost poetry) resulting from physical and emotional storms. Patricia Smith does an excellent job, of which mine is just a poor boy’s approximation, in her Prologue:


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