From 2016, I think. Maybe '15. At any rate, before the current occupant of Casa Blank settled in.

One Wednesday Morning

One Wednesday morning
a few months ago, in the Book Rack,
during a slow time, as you Scotch-taped
to the window flyers and notices
announcing concerts and workshops,
you and I had a conversation,
you who've worked there for years,
and I a regular customer.
It lasted at least thirty minutes,
perhaps as long as forty-five.
As you spoke, I listened.

You spoke of New Orleans,
the troubled '60s, and the wounds
inflicted by church and state:
of that rope in the cathedral
which you could not cross,
and other such indignities.
You spoke of priests, both
bad and good (among the good,
you mentioned your cousins,
both Josephites, and one
the retired bishop of Pensacola).
You spoke of later days,
of the oasis of joy, inclusion,
and rambunctious welcome
that was your friend's barbershop.
You spoke of churchmen
who balked at giving him,
a gay man, a Catholic funeral.

You spoke of the anguish
of this country's history,
sins and dashed hopes,
violence of word and deed,
persistent malice and evil,
how some of us just want to
move on, gloss over, forget.
(And I am often one of them,
ready to believe today's problems
less dire than those of the past.)
You spoke of the joys of family,
of community, of encountering
good hearts, hearts that find
what's lovable in everyone.

I listened as your words

worked on my spirit
to make it tenderer.
I rejoiced in your company,
in your compassion,
in the sound of your voice,
in the gift of your story,
in the gift of you.

Poetry by Thomas DeFreitas The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 133 times
Written on 2018-09-20 at 10:55

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Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
I agree with Joe.

josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
A wonderful encounter beautifully described.

Coo & Co The PoetBay support member heart!
All at Coo & Co find this poem very engaging, Thomas. It has a smooth flow and it holds a lot of interest in its themes. We're really drawn to the speaker. And we particularly like the repeated words in the final lines, which have an almost prayer-like quality, somehow.

We note that the poem was written two or three years ago. We keep our old poems too; it is pleasant to revisit them sometimes :>)