October Poem (a memory and prediction)

October 01, 1993|By Jocelyn Garlington

On October 1, 1991,

The bottles of Champagne

Were lined up like bowling pins

I sat in front of my picture window,

Watching the leaves on the trees release

Themselves to the coolness of evening

Melancholia thickening like warm wax

Dripping from rose-colored tapers

The night was pouring from bottles

Of thick green glass, fizzing and

Crashing in crystal like a whim

There was a conspicuous absence

Of someone with whom to sin

The scene was perfectly set

Candles everywhere slowly melting

Calm in their journey to extinction

Lace-patterned shadows cast

on the walls

My full moon air heavy

with "Paris" perfume

And the sweet aroma of chocolate

and wine

My life's history -- Chocolate,

wine and trinkets

An offering, a life's accumulation,

To the imaginary goddess

Of solitary indulgence,

A Voodoo doll and gargoyle

Precious, decadent icons

Black lace brassieres

Suspended in air, on the backs of chairs

Neon white lace sheers swollen, swaying

Over an open window, breathing

night wind

Everywhere, shimmering piles

of earrings and things

Letters, crystals, rocks and

rhinestone rings,

Rose quartz, jade, onyx and amethyst,

Enameled and painted little boxes

Tiny, inconsequential things, neatly


My flamboyantly aging world of sea shells

Dogs and books and beads and boxes

Valueless charms and treasures

Too nebulous to assess

Too strange to bequest

On my 40th birthday

I sat silently in a chair

Watching time run silver through my hair

Remembering the years:

In little mementos that have persevered

Long after the love disappeared

In chintz-covered journals

Laced with dust, years unread

In novels spread like grave headers

Around my bed, in poems

Once clinging to life, now dead

In crumpled, half-written letters

With still so much unsaid

I will finish them all, soon

I will finish them all, right after

I have recovered from this birthday affair

This unruly time-in-a-bottle nightmare

Perhaps on my 41st birthday

When I know for certain,

no one will be here.

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