a Pilot ballpoint pen
above a sheet of paper,
seventy sheets of blue-and-red college ruled paper
in a beat up red spiral-bound notebook
that had cost her fifty cents
at the grocery store.
Her eyes were half closed,
she was half-bored,
yes, there was homework, due tomorrow
assigned last week,
and projects not yet started,
due next week,
but although she was bored,
she couldn’t do
that tedious stuff,
those markings on a page of white innocent paper
done all without feeling
She was supposed to be writing
but hadn’t begun
At least now her pen was to the paper,
an improvement over before;
that would get her somewhere!
Maybe she’d get
a grade high enough that
her parents could quit complaining
about things that she didn’t care about,
Oh, if only! Her parents
were both achieved academics.
She was a daydreamer,
an artistic type,
and they didn’t understand why
she didn’t care as much about her grades
as they had at her age,
or as much as she cared about
Maybe this poetry thing would suit her;
some said it was like drawing with words,
and anyway, the same tools were involved.
She smiled a little,
but it faded
and she turned her heat a little,
frowned a little.
Almost in a trance she began to move
her pen in tiny strokes, careful lines
and like magic drew an eye.
It stared back at her off the page
like it was real,
like it was alive.
She smiled again, sincerely now, and began to draw.
happy eyes, sad eyes,
laughing eyes, crying eyes,
amorous eyes, heartbroken eyes,
wistful eyes, delighted eyes,
and especially the kinds of eyes that looked
with the faintest smile in their sparkle.
She came to a stop
at the inky eyes over the paper,
surprised, almost startled,
like one broken from a dream.
Then she looked critically, carefully,
at the eyes,
each alone and all together.
Some met her gaze firmly,
others avoided it shyly,
and all gave the weird impression that
there were real eyes staring
just about to blink but never did.
Then she heard her name called
almost a million miles away, it seemed,
by the academic that was her mother,
and far to late she remembered
that she still had no poem.
Maybe her eyes could count as a poem;
her teacher might accept it that way,
since hadn’t she learned that
expressing an idea is all the well the same
no matter the media you chose?
So with a confident smile
that masked her fear
lay down her pen,
pushed back her chair,
and nervously went to listen,
resignedly went to listen
to her mother’s lecture about
grades and the value of education…
so she thought.
When she found
that she was going to get
to study drawing and take classes,
she yelled in joy,
began to cry in joy.
And in the afternoon sunlight,
on the one of seventy blue-and-white sheets
in the beat-up fifty-cent notebook,
even the saddest of eyes
held the faintest hint
of a smile.
Brief note: For the next week or two, posts may be brought down to a poem, but hopefully I can regain time and post length before very long. And sometimes poetry says everything and leaves no need for more words…