Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Three Poems

After I got back to Tucson yesterday, I wanted to spend the day sleeping. But because Skylar's mother had to work until very late, I had childcare responsibilities. Only minutes after I'd picked Skylar up, however, it became apparent to me that I would benefit more from her company than I would from immediate slumber. She's always a great kid, of course, but has been on a real roll of late. Her mind is working so fast and she has so many interesting topics to discuss. It's a delight to be with her, even when ostensibly doing nothing.

We swam at the JCC and got something to eat before heading home. By that time, I thought my sleep-deprivation and lingering alimentary unease had finally gotten the better of me. When we came home, though, Skylar wanted to talk poetry. First she read all the poems printed in her latest issue of Highlights and discussed their merits, as well as broader questions of rhyme and rhythm that her current unit in school have triggered. Then she read aloud a poem from Michael Davidson's Arcades, which I'd brought back from my trip. And then she wanted to write some poetry of her own.

She asked me for prompts to get her thoughts flowing. I would throw out a singe word, like "lost" and she would then produce a poem from the mental associations it set in motion. Here are three of the ones she came up with, each titled with the prompt I'd given her:
San Francisco

A crumpled mailbox stands
on a sunny Oakland street,
while the smoggy windows of a subway
block out views of the station,
ever in a hurry,
away from spray-painted fences
ripped by yowling Rotweilers,
away to the arches of the sunset,
away to all the alley cats slinking,
and skyscrapers tearing blue cotton,
away from the crumpled mailbox
on a sunny Oakland street.


The swift girls and boys glide,
as an assortment of varied clichés,
while a lone drop of rain plops
in an ocean far away,
away from the whispering shore.
The ocean water from far away
slinks through a tap
at a department store,
where pencils and erasers are sorted
by their own pleasures,
a fraction of apples and oranges,
never knowing what lies
on the other side.

New York

Behind a pane of glass
the gray street blows,
Garbage flutters,
as brawny men haul the cans in
their trucks,
while caution tape flairs
down rough stairs
littered with popcorn,
leading on,
cars speeding along damp
waving at a copper lady.
Even after Skylar went to bed, I had a terrible time falling into restful sleep. But the memory of the fun I'd had with her sustained me, as it is ding right now.
Tags: daughter, poetry

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