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You wouldn't believe the bits of us
I've found under chairs, thrown
over the backs of doors, forgotten
at the back of kitchen drawers, tangled
inside sheets at the foot of the bed.

Everything's gray in mourning
Who can tell dark from light
yours from mine
I haven't art to tear it
clean down the middle
some washwater Solomon
You know, I'm not that wise.

I'm rubbing salt on denim
with busted knuckles
to lighten the stain,
before the soap, to soak
take the black from blues
Just let me touch
your delicates
I'll do the same for you.

All our issued articles
take their turn in centrifuge
agitate, thump, and spin,
rattle trap and drown
then dragged out
quarrelous snakes
intertwined and sinking
fangs from history's crush

I fold me into perfect square
to mock and better fit
into boxes off shipping docks
your tossed over familiar lines
snapping at the bluster
of stormcloud winds while
the house of evening
finally falls.

Smile if you're stupid,
laugh if you understand.

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The following comments are for "Wash Time at the House of Evening"
by Bartleby

lost love, lost socks
It looks like you haven't been here in a long time... nor have I, but being briefly 'in' I was interested to find a new poem under a name I recognise. It doesn't disappoint. This is subtle, well written and seems to make something new from the rather hackneyed 'poignancy of everyday tasks performed under the shadow of mourning/failed love'.

I very much like the poem's arc or shape or whatever - starting out sufficiently simple and explanatory to ground me in what's going on; then expanding into more abstract disquisitions on the same theme. The parallel between broken bits of relationship and bits of discarded clothing isn't over-laboured but holds together throughout.

That is, until the last stanza comes along and I get lost. Possibly because I am an idiot. Too much fractured grammar is the first problem: I can cope with 'I fold me into perfect square', but 'your tossed over familiar lines'...? Is it a typo, supposed to be 'you'? Or am I missing a big chunk of something? And where does that 'house of evening' come from? Presumably it is the house grey with mourning in which the laundry is being washed... but we were on the docks a moment ago, shifting shipping crates? Unheralded, this extra image feels a bit tacked-on' to be your big finisher. I still like the poem, but it leaves me faintly - and rather sadly - bemused.

( Posted by: mobiussoul [Member] On: July 30, 2008 )

characters and metaphors....
What I've read here is everything I have come to expect from you and your style, Bartleby.

Blessings to you and yours,


( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: July 31, 2008 )

Hello again Bart!
So good to read you again Bart...but this gave me a chill, not because it isn't well written...which indeed it is...but from a personal level...hope this wasn't written from personal experience...sounds like the death of a marriage/love affair or the beginning of the end.

As I remember your work...this has a sense of hopelessness that is not your usual style. Love the metaphors !

Please come back often...good to see old friends here again!


( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: July 31, 2008 )

personal experience
First of all, thanks to everyone who commented on my first foray into poetry in what seems like forever. It's good to feel welcome.

I put this piece together based on the idea of doing laundry as a metaphor for divorce. I've been through one, and have a friend experiencing the hardship presently. I think a writing prompt I read at Andy Havens excellent website coupled with the experience of helping him move furniture from one home to the another gave me this poem.

So to answer Bea, I'm still happily married.

Thanks again for the feedback.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: July 31, 2008 )

Let me touch your delicates
I've always been on the border of understanding with poems such as these- better understood with time and experience. I got this one. This was well crafted, with a fantastic opening stanza. The next to last paragraph was the climax for me, with a sigh of resignation in the ending. One critique would be the last paragraph, where lack of punctuation made for a run-on that I didn't completely comprehend.
You're too talented not to let the muse sweep you back to this place. Don't be a stranger. Funny, too, that it comes about the same time that I am returning to say 'hello.'

Take care, my friend.

( Posted by: Malthis [Member] On: January 20, 2009 )

@ Bartleby
I agree with Malthis when he writes, "You're too talented not to let the muse sweep you back to this place." Your poem was fantastic.

Welcome back to litdotorg! I hope you stay and share more of your work with us.


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: January 20, 2009 )

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