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more poetry pieces by Kelley Beeson 

Kelley is a poet from Pittsburgh who is working on her first book of poetry.

© 2002  Kelley Beeson





I confess I find great wisdom in Martha Stewart Living and that's ridiculous

but today she says the bamboo in the Chinese Scholarly Garden symbolizes

loyalty because it winters so well.  I love the discreet blossom of truth in that.

I too winter well especially when planted in the city.  This week I am in Boston.

Every person I pass is dressed well.  Nothing I thought, like my weekends in New

York City until I see the street performer on Mt. Auburn in Harvard Square who wears

his red pants and suspenders like some kind of crazy Santa Claus.  I believe in the kind

of confidence it takes for him to put a stuffed gray pig at his feet, head placed at the edge

of a small red water bowl. Beside him his mechanical Christmas angel in her

red velvet dress nods her head in agreement.  And that startled Dutch puppet, cradling

his own wooden doll in his lap, waves his hand in approval of this beautifully

nightmarish family.  The man is singing Isn't it Romantic?  I love that such strangeness

exists and so I buy strange postcards all day in support of this because I find comfort

in the potential of the odd.  I buy them everywhere I go, not postcards of skylines though,

no, I buy postcards of scary Alices in Wonderlands, of Jimmy Stewart drinking tea with

his wife on the set of Carbine Williams, the story of the famous rifle maker, postcards

of Josephine Baker in a tux, of a cartoon pig racing down the middle of a highway--

it seems everyone is in a big hurry. 


In between shopping in Cambridge we drink Ginger Peach tea and Creme de la Earl Gray,

a sweet tea with a touch of vanilla.  On Saturday night at the Oak Bar,

I drink a Raspberry Romanoff, a wiper-fluid-blue champagne cocktail which tastes

divine and with it in my hand I am important.  I tell my friend how Anne Sexton came

here afternoons from Robert Lowell's workshop and that I was sure she would have sat right

over there, near the piano sipping those million martinis, allowing the dry vermouth

to slide down her throat with the most elegance and ease the place had ever seen,

her legs draped over the man-of-the-week's chair.  I imagine how sexy she looked

eating the olive at the bottom of the glass.  God, how foreign I am here!

Even my shoes feel tight so I steal a menu to write this poem and remember

that I'm in charge. Secretly I wish I had a cigarette to sophisticate myself.

Instead, I suggest we talk about Kafka, an author I've never read--

after all, doesn't this dark wood and jazz trio and the the prices

of drinks which start at $10.50 demand intellectual conversation?


The man across from me on the T outbound to Alewife listens to my conversation. 

He is staring at me with a force that makes me warm, with a brilliant disturbance. 

He looks as though he has stepped out of a Woody Allen film--

half crazed, half brilliant.  I don't know what to do with such

admiration but ignore it.  Two days later, I see him again on the way to Logan Airport

and he still looks half here and deluded.  Again he sits across from me and

to my surprise I enjoy the possibility of a stalker for a few moments.  I smile and giggle

like a girl I've never been.  I think about swinging my hair around before I remember

how short it is and how much it looks like Pat Benatar's.  I feel completely pretty for 20 minutes forgetting how I ate one whole bag of tortilla chips the night before,

although they were the kind with Olean® so I could eat an entire bag and still not feel guilty.  

But somehow I manage to play cat and mouse with him in just the ways

I've been taught by other women to negotiate danger and safety in such an innocent way. 

Most often I confess what I haven't enjoyed, not what I have,

so after considering the chances of such a meeting, at our stop I pass him too closely,

and like a bad slutty girl I confess my enjoyment, shock him with a coy Goodbye.




All work is property of Kelley Beeson.  © 2002.


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