Paulelmo's Blog

Things from the World They Brought Back Home (a poem)

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I have always been a fan of verses of fiction. A child of rock and roll, songs like Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” and Springsteen’s “Jungleland” have always inspired me. Yet, if you look at the writing I did prior to turning 40–I didn’t have kids, and I wasn’t sober–almost all of it is about me. I find myself writing a lot more fiction poems these days.

This poem has its messages, and these are words that were out there in the ether to help me deliver them. Nothing more than that, a mind refusing to rest.

This particular poem was inspired by a line in a song by T. Paige Dalporto. (I’ve included a link to the video.) The odd thing is that the line of the song that inspired my piece (in the description) isn’t even in the version of the song Paige sings in the video. Still, it’s there, and it inspired me to this.

I will add a caution for delicate listeners: Paige’s song does have some blue language. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

So, with that, here is “Things from the World They Brought Back Home.” Hope you dig it.

Peace, love, and prayers

***

Things from the World They Brought Back Home

Despite beginning with “Dear Thomas,” 
the note didn’t make him feel 
anything like dear. 
It was held fast to the mantle by a rock  
they’d brought from Italy. 
“Sorry to leave you holding the bag, 
but I can’t take carry the weight any longer.” 
 
The magazines on the table were strewn 
in a manner she wouldn’t have lightly suffered, 
but the coffee cup in the left-hand basin showed 
she hadn’t made the full turn past caring. 
They had drunk the most delicious coffee from them 
those mornings in Madrid. 

Sunbeams streamed through the bedroom curtains; 
even the sight of such would forever now be tarnished. 
“All my love, Lillian” were the note’s only other words. 
 
She was hanging from the closet door 
from the same ropes that she’d climbed  
so many mountains, 
dressed in a silk kimono 
he’d bought her 
on the backstreets of Macau. 
 
Even more than grief, 
he was stunned by what it can take 
to give old things new meaning. 

2 Replies to “Things from the World They Brought Back Home (a poem)”

  1. Wow. The imagery in this is beautiful and powerful. Ordinary, specific objects illuminated by a backdrop of despair and sadness. Well done! 💕

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