waitress poems

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


When you hang yourself
in the closet
at the end of the day
you are

not silk but
grey, a
faded plaid with
white lines streaking
like the rib
cage of a bird, like your
when it lives
there. Disembodied,
you are

finally visible.

I don't see the
shirt but
the spots you've
worn away, the
awkward bones, the turns

came without warning
leaving the
inner threads
naked--not torn just
open, durable strands
thickspun nerve.

When you hang yourself
in the closet
at the end of
the day and

what's left in the
old skin--white
sheets, our
heap of comfortable,
often washed dreams,
I open
the door and

put on that shirt,
the old touch--
familiar as cotton, soft as
breath. And from
the inside
I feel it again--

the heartbeat, your
persistent as
the darkness that grows wild
around us.

First appeared in Poetry Northwest


  • I enjoyed reading your poems, they are teeming with passion. They paint pictures with vivid images.

    This one one is nostalgic, I remember my wife having my unwashed shirt left at the closet for her to smell everytime I would depart from a visit in Vietnam to go back to our kids in the Philippines.

    By Anonymous Danny, at 7:20 PM  

  • i love your style of writing. i am always moved when i come here. it's such a treat :) muchas gracias!

    By Blogger Lorena, at 9:35 PM  

  • "heap of comfortable,
    often washed dreams"


    "the darkness that grows wild
    around us."

    You rarely ever use SAT words in your poems, but you prove to me time and time again that one can evoke such powerful images and emotions, even with simple words.

    I think you are becoming one of my favorite poets, Patry. You cite your various literary works, but if you ever come out with a book of your poems, I would like to know how I can go about purchasing it.

    By Blogger mermaid, at 4:33 PM  

  • "disembodied you are finally visible." I love your attention to language.

    By Blogger Bill, at 7:10 PM  

  • loved it
    i would echo Bill's comment
    i was knocked out by the simple image
    like the ribcage of a bird
    so apposite in every way

    By Blogger floots, at 10:58 PM  

  • This is beautifully rendered and I also like the images the mermaid, bill and floots mentioned. In this poem you, without being sentimental, touch on a tender feeling that I think I know well. But like the poems I like best, I see and then wonder if I'm sure -- all I know is that my reading of it is included.

    By Blogger MB, at 12:36 PM  

  • Danny: Thanks for sharing the image of your wife retaining your presence through the shirt--and of course your kind words.

    lorena! Muchas gracias to you as well. Similarly, I always smile when I see your picture here.

    mermaid: You've given me the best compliment ever. I hope someday your vision comes true!

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 5:17 PM  

  • Got called away to drink wine in the middle of my comment, so I'm back to finish:

    bill: Great to see you here. I just got back from your site, and was reading about the tanka. I've never been good at compression, but you've inspired me to try.

    floots: Hmm..you've got me thinking. Do birds have ribcages? I guess they do, but I'm pretty much a scientific illiterate.

    moose: Thank you; and I loved your post today about the meaning of the bluebird.

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 12:48 AM  

  • I Like the title of your blog the best: Waitress Poems, I like it - it's rock n roll..

    By Blogger ISLAND MONKEY, at 4:15 PM  

  • That poem is great as well...I love Waitress Poems though, what a name, great name for a book or a band... The Waitress Poets maybe...now that's an idea...

    By Blogger ISLAND MONKEY, at 12:29 AM  

  • Not that I don't like the poems...they are bringing me back to read more...what I like about this one is the idea of a life evoked via routine. There is mystery and tenderness here, sadness, an acceptance of ageing, of death, the transitory nature of love and passsion and the joys and heartaches involved in the discoveries of life and of the very nature of life itself. It's true the image of the bird, representing freedom - but also caged here - is powerful, making me feel how life can be turned on its head in an instant. I am glad I have found your site...

    By Blogger ISLAND MONKEY, at 2:32 AM  

  • Wonderful piece. I really enjoy your style, your choice of words and the imagery you use. I have bookmarked your site and will come back to read more.

    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 7:09 AM  

  • Thank you for commenting on my poem "Blend" I'm glad I found your site as well :)
    I'll put a link to it on my page, if that's ok with you.
    What about Verona, have you been there?

    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 3:46 PM  

  • It's amazing how much of us is still primevil, I navigate with smells of the people I like, a smell like a ghost on something left behind or just a cuddly blanket

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 11:25 AM  

  • wow, if it only it was that easy and wonderful to pull out old memories from the closet and really enjoy them without looking at them with regret.

    By Blogger EATING POETRY, at 8:35 PM  

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