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A blank page [poem: next]

July 5, 2010

One of the joys of starting a new JulieBook is the knowledge that wherever I open it, I will find a blank page, ready to be filled with the thought or poem or quote that inspired me to reach for a fresh book. I must admit, writing the first post isn’t as fulfilling. But it helps to know that I can share a virtual version with those of you who are not physically close enough to hold a JulieBook in your hands.

When I first began reading publicly again after a long sleep, I started with this piece because it had always been one I enjoyed sharing aloud and I thought that familiarity would help me get past the nerves that threatened to silence my voice. To my surprise, it still spoke to me a decade after it was first written. That time has been filled with so many new adventures, love and loss, motion and stillness, all of which gave this poem new meaning. It is becoming tradition to open with this piece whenever I read in a new venue, so I thought it appropriate to open this site with it as well. Let me know if you agree.


Sometimes I think I (still) love you
Somedays I think I never did
But mostly I think I loved you once
And that time has slipped away with the miles
Only recorded as the soundtrack in my head
On cassette, not CD
So I can never skip past a song.
As I punch at buttons with one hand
Hold the wheel with the other
It makes me think of the way you held me
Pushing my buttons with your free
Hand feeding me with words.
Now they only seem like empty calories
But the lines were filling at the time
Until I was so bloated by the words
I couldn’t see my own feet of clay
Any more than I could see what you meant.
But I walked that time away with the miles
Shedding the empty weight with every step
Until I could see my own feet carry me
Until I could see you had gone.
Sometimes I think I let you (go)
Somedays I think you let me
But mostly I think I loved you once
And I don’t know why I feel nothing now
Not even the horrid, color-draining numbness
That froze me, and chilled me
When I found myself alone before
Because now I see how the first time
It was I who lost the boy.
And so now I know that the second time
It was the boy who lost me
Who has felt me wandering the streets
Listening to the songs that fill my head
Listening to many empty words
Wondering which ones I’m supposed to feel.

Sometimes I think the happy (lines)
Somedays I think the bitter cries
But mostly I think—well, I don’t care
‘Cause after so many miles
After so many days and nights
I have come back into this room
Where I can see traces of you
Where your photos make me laugh
Your letters make me scream
I don’t even need to
Change the shape of my mouth
As I look from your face to
Your empty promises
Weighing me down with
“I will support you”
“I’ll be there for you”
“We’ll have plenty of time.”
Sometimes I think you meant them (words)
Somedays I think you never did
But mostly I don’t want to think at all.
And instead I scream because the first time
It was I who lost the boy.
And now I laugh because the second time
It was the boy who lost me
And I wonder what charm I need
To survive a third round
What charm I need for wings
To make these clay feet fly.

—Julie Laing
© 1999

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 8:11 pm

    Welcome to Thursday Poets Rally week 25, you are represented as one of the fresh poets:

    Sign in here as New participant:

    Leave your poem link here and comment for 18 poets from participants list New 2 you:

    Hope that you enjoy the fun!
    Happy Thursday!
    Ignore if you want to stay out.


    • July 22, 2010 8:44 am

      Fabulous! I would love to participate, but am pushing up against deadlines today. Can you set me up for next week instead?


    • July 22, 2010 8:47 am

      I just re-read the requirements–do I need to visit all the sites today, or just within the week? If the latter, I’m in!


  2. July 21, 2010 8:11 pm

    powerful words.
    you give so much passion and wishing you well.

    lovely sentiments!


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