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STILL LIFE (by Deborah)

Sometimes I feel
like an empty Mason jar
the kind you see
for 10 cents
at a garage sale.

Sometimes the jar
has a band
but no lid.

It's still 10 cents.

* * *

BROKEN WING (by Deborah)

If you was a bird
with a broken wing
I'd try to mend ya'
but then you might
lose respect for me
& then I'd be the bird
with a broken wing
& we'd both
be flying around
in crazy circles.

I wish I were smarter
& could explain it better.

* * *


After six drinks
I get woozy
& start to dream
about how life
ought to be.

It makes me feel lonesome
in my thoughts.

Because I know
it is something
someone else
had in their thoughts
& threw away.

Remember that
the next time
you expect me
to open my mouth
& say
what you expect to hear.

* * *

Notes on "Poems By Deborah"

About a year ago I was talking on the phone with a poet friend of mine, Star Bowers (yeh, that's her real name). She's a fine poet with several chapbooks and has been published in several good small magazines - Slipstream, Lost & Found Times, etc.

She was very depressed that day and may have had a drink or two. I asked what she was doing and she replied, "Walking through my house like a ghost with a frozen cucumber."

I said, "That's an interesting line - you should write it down." She said she didn't feel like it and that I should write it down for her.

During the same conversation I was kidding her and said I had met a really strange girl and made up a little story about how I met her. I told Star that maybe "Deborah" would write her a poem and mail it to her.

This is the first Deborah poem:


"Walking thru my house
like a ghost
with a frozen cucumber."

My blood the brilliant color of bluegills.

My eyes wary as a turtle
sunning on a piece of wood.

My heart filled with nervous insects.

Frail, fierce & beautiful.

* * *

Then, last month, I found myself in a writing rut and wasn't able to write anything I liked. I remembered "Deborah" and wondered if maybe there wasn't something "she" would like to say.

That's when all these "Deborah" poems spilled out and I wrote seven of them the first night which is quite rare for me.

I've made up a little book of poems for "Deborah." I bought some yellow two-pocket folders. The "Prefatory" and "Some Additional Observations..." are in the left pocket, and the poems are in the right pocket.

Then I minimally decorated the cover with a few branches and leaves, one with a sprig of "poison berries" hanging from it. Then I wrote in magic marker, "POEMS BY DEBORAH."

It's supposed to look amateurish, the way a young person might put together their first collection of poems.

Now, if "Deborah" writes anymore poems, I can type them up and add them to the folder.

I think the end of this collection is weak and needs at least two more poems which will have to be very good and maybe give "Deborah" a more satisfying resolution. Also, maybe a final "observation regarding Deborah."

"Deborah" hasn't been around for several days. I hope she hasn't disappeared and comes to visit me again. I've grown very fond of her and I worry about her.

Posting these pieces here at Lit.Org has helped me to see them in a naked light and has led to some revisions in the text. Areas that need improvement seem to jump off the page, where before you didn't see them.

These poems were alot of fun (mostly) to write and it has been fun passing out copies of "POEMS BY DEBORAH" to friends.

Although "Deborah" isn't real, place-names in the poems do exist. The Lorraine Hotel is an old hotel that has catered mostly to transients. The White Tower is a tiny, greasy-spoon restaurant, one of the oldest of that chain in this area, and was near the Greyhound and Trailways bus stations.
It's no longer there.

Bob Phillips
June/July - 2006

Related Items


The following comments are for "POEMS BY DEBORAH (Conclusion)"
by gomarsoap

Message for Deborah

Let us know if Deborah comes back around. Tell her we said hello and thank her for letting us see some of her poetry.

Take care, both of you.

~ John

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: July 7, 2006 )

Flonigus, a letter....
DEAR BOB (from Deborah)

I've wanted to stop by
but I can't.

I fell out of a tree
& hurt myself.

I'm in a hospital
up in Michigan.

Tell Flonigus
I said hello
& thanks
for reading my poems.

I don't like the doctors
& nurses here
but the cleaning people
are okay.

I'm feeling better
& I'm just about ready
to split.

Whether they want me to
or not.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: July 7, 2006 )

Frail, fierce, etc.
Nice. I think I've been reading this blog the way one might read a children's book - the old-fashioned sort with intricate illustrations and no big didactic 'message'. Possibly featuring a talking bear, or an imaginary friend. Performed by an adult, it could easily have sounded pretentious or precious, but it seems to have enough sincerity to stay the right side of charming. And imaginative, too. I like that. Other peoples' imaginations are interesting places to visit, and rarely open for visitors.

( Posted by: MobiusSoul [Member] On: July 8, 2006 )

Keep your door unlocked
when you're not around
so Deborah can get in

and whatever you do
don't call her Debbie

She doesn't like that

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: July 14, 2006 )

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment and suggest.

MobiusSoul: Yeh, talking bears. I have noticed that Smokey The Bear seems to be making a comeback in the U.S. I've written a ton of bad poems over the years, but I like to think they've always been sincere.

M.: Yeh, the "Letter" piece was written as I was responding to Flonigus. It's funny where Deborah will pop up. Had to take the Flonigus stanza out - it would be too esoteric a reference. I thank him for instigating a poem.

Might get a new one from JohnLibertus' comment. Like an old fart I go somewhere and lock my doors. When I get back, I find a window has been broken...

John: How ya' doin', buddy? Good to hear from you and thanks for the good advice. And about her name - I knew right away not to do that. I may be a fool, but I ain't stupid.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: July 15, 2006 )

Sam: Yes, Ms. M has filled me in, and thanks for your lovely images. Beautiful and etherially subversive.

Thank you for your time and consideration, but Ms. M can explain why I'm stuck on the original.

I've had problems, too - can't sign in - or get signed in and compose an IM and poof! it disappears and you are asked to sign in again. Frustrating. Been trying to use cut and paste but sometimes I forget.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: July 15, 2006 )

these are so good.
thanks for writing interesting poetry.

( Posted by: slack [Member] On: August 10, 2006 )

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