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Apr 2018
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 20, 2018)

Some friends are warm,
electric energy that magically buoys yours,
especially when it sputters or burns,
an orange and yellow embrace,
a feeling everybody wants in a friend
and these chums are always split in time
half in all fronts. You only get the moments,
like prom nights, or quiet downtimes
stage left of our Senior plays.
I tried to play the witch like Meryl Streep
and you played Gretel like Paula Abdul.
That was the year I learned how to cackle
and you learned how missing rehearsals
for family vacations turns you into a cookie,
in a backup duet of cookies.
But you were a trooper.
You wanted to be a song and dance man
and you studied the moves of MTV’s dancers
and you cookied it up
and never let that sort of thing
ever happen again.
You dutifully played the part:
straight-A girl dumbing down for the boys,
straight-laced girl next door
becoming Vegas showgirl,
a real, good friend who disappears
into the neo-vaudeville.
But if we couldn’t corrupt you
with our spiked coca-colas
and lunchtime AWOLs,
Vegas wouldn’t. And when the drama
of the dramas wore me down,
you became permanently
on the road, foregoing milestones
and collapses. To us you were a paradox
and those who loved you
could either live with it or not.
I find you every few years
and see how time works
like an accordion, collapsing,
wheezing time.
We’re old broads now
full of stories.
We’ve been all over,
crisscrossing the landscape
in our separate odysseys.
Your glitter still tumbles out
of all the neutral, slimming black.
And of all the legends you imitate,
it’s your Lauper I love the best
because she’s just the explosion
of halcyon light and spirit
that most imitates you.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michelle after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michelle poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31.
See Nellie here!
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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