Poetry / Uncategorized

November

In January, I give you November…

Dallas, Texas

1989

From the bank building,

south we go

trudging the city sidewalks

It’s lunchtime

high noon

the smell of barbecue

piques interest

of the business bunch

white shirts, ties

tweed skirts, navy slacks

we go

Willa May’s Rib Haus

where meat, sauce and all

the trimmings

are served on the line

served with a side of Blues

and there we find

mounds of potato salad

golden, creamy, tangy

southern cooked garlic green beans

black eyed peas

seasoned like grandma’s

You ain’t seen my sorrow….”

the line server sings

Tragedy though,

wound down these streets

in 1963

The motorcade turned

and headed toward

Dealey Plaza…

these paths haunted

where they came in droves

to hammer out the truth

jack hammered bullet holes

from the curb

as the lies sunk into

the cement

I say, you don’t know, don’t know, don’t know….”

The woman with her

smart tortoiseshell eyeglasses

well versed in Change Management

eyes the hot rolls with honey butter

considers the pinto beans

tinged with smithereens

of chopped tomatoes

decides on

pickles crisp, tart, dill

We work til the sun go down….”

On the 6th floor of the

School Book Depository

Lee Harvey Oswald waited

And of the Father…

Sharp turn onto Elm Street

a turn that marks history

the death of a President

the sorrows of lost Camelot

The tabletops at Willa May’s

covered in bottle caps

I trace it with my fingers

it is rough

like rotten history

under the watchful tears

of the Trinity River

the sorrow that shadows downtown

spins furious heads faster

than the ball restaurant in the sky

And of the Son…

“Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone”

they told the teary public

gulping their grief

but rumors rampaged

along these winding streets

and chants of conspiracy

rose up screaming

like hot summer air

hitmen, mafia

tucked beneath

rail cars

the convertible raced

to Parkland Memorial

And of the Holy Ghost…

All I need is to find my way home….”

The singer delves

into his music

uplifting in sorrow

defining another history

uprooting a troubled past

the essence of America

here among the pitchers of sweet tea

as the business interns eye

the caramel-colored delicacy

the nut-filled sugar confection

of pecan pie

And the Trinity River flows on

engulfed now

in a Vision Project

and a man with vision

slipped behind

earth’s barricade

away from these

scarred streets

a rendezvous with eternity

into blissful sleep

and the facts

concealed by men

who roam the dusk

are settled now

like dark sediment

at the bottom of

the Trinity River.

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36 thoughts on “November

  1. This is wonderful, Lana, an ordinary day unfolding over a darker underbelly. You capture how the whole JFK assassination continues to be shrouded in mystery, feeding conspiracies, while life rolls on. I wish you a happy New year.

    • Thanks Diana. I got this idea when I was visiting Dallas with a friend from California. He remarked, “Dallas, the city that killed Kennedy.” While that could have certainly happened anywhere; nevertheless, it does leave a scar. When I worked there in the 80s, there was a BBQ restaurant that had a server that sang the most amazing Blues songs a capella. I just wanted to stay and listen to his beautiful sadness all day. Happy Creative New Year, my friend. xo

  2. You know, Lana, I visited that area some years ago, and I felt the eeriness of that long-ago November. Perhaps Nature and architecture have memories of their own, memories which time and distance cannot erase. You’ve expressed it mighty well!

  3. “It us rough like rotten history ” – really love that line, Lana! Although I only know about the whole drama from what I’ve learned through movies and documentaries, it is your poem that makes it all really come to live to me and I mourn with you for this great loss because the world as a whole lost someone who could have made a difference that day.
    Happy New Year my friend! xoxo ❤

  4. Loved “Willa May’s Rib Haus / where meat, sauce and all / the trimmings / are served on the line / served with a side of Blues” especially the “smithereens of chopped tomatoes.” Stories intertwined with food are my very favorite kind, even where tragic deaths of presidents are concerned. Poetry brings history to life. 🙂

    • Oh, Joan, I’m so glad you noticed the food. Food is such an integral part of many southern literature stories. I like the stories that include food also. One book I wanted to read but never got around to is, “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,” I have no idea how much food is in it, but I like the title, ha ha. Poetry does bring history to life. Thank you, xx 😀

      • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake? Sounds like the story of a funereal dessert and a bitter old woman trying to find her way after the death of her husband. At the end, she discovers that when life turns sour and gives you lemons, you should make a cake. 🙂

  5. So powerful and emotional Lana. A day most remember exactly where they were, just as tragic 9/11. The Kennedy mystery still leaving unanswered questions in many minds.:( ❤

  6. Thank you Lana for bringing back this story! It is good to learn history along the way at differents times of life. I wasn’t born in the sixties, but this story has always kept me wondering how his assassination happened to be. It is really indeed a sad day for all Americans, it will always be. I had a great read. Don’t leave blogging yet!

    • Glad you liked this one, Juli. I worked on downtown Dallas for 2 years right by Dealy Plaza so I thought about Kennedy a lot. There was also a great BBQ place with a guy who served and sang in the most amazing voice. xoxo

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