Lyn is an accomplished poet, responsible for over 100 books. Winner of the Jack Kerouac Award, among others, she's been Poet In Residence at a few colleges, taught writing courses, and has been editor for four women writers anthologies. Her latest book, Barbaro, Beyond Brokenness, is available from the Texas Review Consortium. Visit her site.
© 2011 Lyn Lifshin
INSTANT RAMEN NOODLES
born of hardship after
WW2. Long lines of
starving people wait
for Osakaka, they didn't
want bread made with
white flour from U.S.
Suddenly, instant noodles,
chicken flavored, in
the late 50's, cups of
instant noodles for the
exhausted, for those
in shelters. Chicken
flavored ramen for the
soul, soulful, soothing.
Hot soup and noodles,
comfort food, waiting
for news of the dead.
Noodles for luck,
noodles in the cold north.
Noodles in the wind
where it smeared
on corpses and blossoms,
noodles for the starving
in this dire month.
Who can imagine a
I THINK OF HER AS AMELIA
driving into blackness alone,
daring and driven,
leaving vapor trails.
On the run--
you can't tell if it is
toward or away from
what could hold her.
Alone with her
own thoughts, a comfort,
an ice pick. Hexagons
of what she's
flung from trailing
like hieroglyphs. No one
can read her. Wild
flying engines sing a song
so wild and blue it
blurs the night. No one
can really tell her
where to go
and she'll never know
until she gets there.
Her hand on the wheel
wishing who knows who was
there beside her. Is she
half wishing the sky or
sea would gulp her?
BLUE MOTEL ROOM
the beauty of the
I think of the world
thru it. Slick black
scrim where the
actors are shapes,
Makes me think of
blue sheets in a
room like a blue
motel. I wore bluer
lace bikinis. His
eyes the bluest.
She reminds me if
I’d been in Savannah
there'd have been
pouring rain and
my blues would have
NOT YET THE BLONDE IN THE BLEACHERS
Still, sometimes, I think Joni Mitchell
was my doppelganger, my other. Of
course it wasn't our voices. I don't
sing, not since an ex-husband giggled
when I took down my old guitar. And
I wasn't the blonde with corn yellow
hair flowing free on beaches waves
crash, naked, wild to plunge into every
thing, at least not yet, waiting on
bleachers, plump as my fat bulky socks
decorated with bells and balls and tinsel,
aching to be asked to dance. But I was
painting as she was in a room with the
door closed as Otter Creek crashed
below the window and I was dreaming
of being on a stage. I was still half the
unknown child but in the same tie dye I
saw her in a photo. Our nights at Club 47,
maybe the wine class she used was
the one I'd use later, already falling
for folk singers years before I'd finally
catch one. How easy those years to give
up a piece of one's soul on the way to
becoming blondes men might want to
dance with. I might have seen her in the
mirror, sliding from man to man, too often
the wrong one with the urge for going.
How often did we both envy Georgia O
Keefe, out there in the blue and dusk
desert making beauty out of joy and pain.
"Ebullience and triestese" someone said
of me but nothing could have described
her better, feeling like she said, a cellophane
wrapper on a pack of cigarettes with
absolutely no secrets from the world,
hardly able to protect her life
All work is property of Lyn Lifshin.
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