Night Crawlers

I commend this poem to your attention–by Jackie Oldham, a Baltimore writer.

baltimoreblackwoman

I.

I used to be a Night Crawler:
one of those people
on foot
in the dark,
going somewhere.

Now, I nearly run them down,
barely able to see them
skittering across the street,
in dark clothing,
with only the dancing light
of their sneakers
visible in my headlights—
if I’m lucky—
as I drive across town
on a Sunday night.

I wonder where they could
possibly be going
at this hour—nearly midnight!

At the corner of North and Fulton,
on the unlit side of the street,
I spot a lone woman
walking her dog.

On my side of the street,
a corner lit garishly bright
by a large, portable rectangular
spotlight on the sidewalk,
and, a few feet away,
by a neon-blue police light
flashing atop the streetlamp,
a gaggle of male nightcrawlers
hangs outside The Oxford Tavern,
an improbably British-style building
in the heart of Sandtown,
where the…

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Anniversary

We’ve lived in these bodies so long.
Don’t think about their diminished condition,
the damage gravity has done,
don’t  worry if our legs feel papery.
I like the way they intertwine
on the old blue sheets.
Forget that your beard’s now flecked with white,
that what once seemed merely sun lines
are crow’s feet etched in deep symmetry on my face.
Ignore the muscle cramps that interrupt our play.

Your eyes are the dark eyes
That saw me that first night.
Your right hand is the same one
that brushed against me. You leaned over to
open the car door for me,
spilling me out onto the sidewalk.

I slid out, muttered thanks, goodnight—
Turned at the front steps, perplexed,
went home when I should have turned back to you.

 

Originally published  on March 10, 2017 in  the online ‘zine, Work to A Calm

A request if you’ve already purchased Baltimore Girls–and another one if you have not!

Dear readers,

I thank those of you who have already purchased Baltimore Girls for your support–especially if you pre-ordered from Finishing Line Press.

If you pre-ordered but have not yet received your book, contact me immediately and I will see that another copy is mailed to you within one business day!

I’m collecting photos of my readers holding up the book, for a checkerboard poster I am assembling. If you’d like to be in the poster along with the 23 readers who’ve already sent me their photos, please send your photo along, as a posting to my Facebook page (Lynne Spigelmire Viti) or by email. It’s time for your 15 minutes of fame!

And-your turn to write something– a review of Baltimore Girls on amazon.com. Go to the amazon listing for the book,  and scroll down to the bottom where you see Write a Review. Then write!

If you did not pre-order Baltimore Girls,  I have 100 copies of BG in my home office that i would love to unload. Proceeds from sales of these copies, which I received from Finishing Line in lieu of royalties, will be divided equally between the scholarship fund at my alma mater, Mercy High of Baltimore, MD, and Epiphany School, Boston, a private, tuition-free  middle school for Boston youth. Both are strongly faith-based schools that emphasize academics and character development. Both schools need financial support.

The cost of the book is $13.99. I will take care of postage costs if you live in the U.S. If you’d like to round up and give even more to Mercy High and Epiphany, I’ll be delighted.

You can email me at my school address, lviti@wellesley.edu, leave a comment here with your contact info (I won’t publish the comment ) or send me a tweet @Lynne Viti.

Thanks!

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Lynne Viti reads her  poetry at the  Westwood Public Library, Westwood, MA, April 3.