Circa 1976: BlueLevels' Eyes And Such [Mature read]

"I never liked his eyes . . ."

---my mother, Betty, to my father, Lloyd,

September 9, 1976, on I70, taking me
to college during freshman week


Your eyes could take in the whole constellated sky;

or draw a poem out of my soul.

Your smile could reassure me of my escape from them,

or confirm the right words I used on the c.b.

Your torso beneath your unbuttoned shirt demanded

that societal inhibitions must be ignored.

The softness of your wild cascades of curls

became a metaphor of your soul's tenderness.


Remember that night at your sister's,

August sixth, nineteen seventy-six,

the night before our most wonderful
and longest Saturday together.

From beneath the table, as we played cards,
I heard the plop plop of your shoes, pushed off;

inhaled the fragrance of your midnight blue socks;

and felt the press of your feet on my knees,

where you had propped them, knowing they were welcome.

No explanation owed to anyone;

your sister and her son slept in other rooms of the house.

My knee joints, then quite afflicted

with an adolescent form of arthritis,

basked in the warmth of your feet upon them;

while a kind of heat, less specific, more fluid,

teased my denim covered nether place relentlessly.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

The quotation from my mother, cited as epigraph to the poem, was her clunsy attempt to console my enforced parting from BlueLevels, and from my c.b., to be dropped off at my college for the beginning of freshman week.  She attempted to convince me that her dislike of his eyes was evidence that he would prove a false friend, and that the friendship would not survive my absence.  Ten or so weeks later, on November 23, 1976, on my return home for extended Christmas break, the friendship resuned, perhaps even stronger than it had been before.  My mother was very, very angry at this.

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