The Second Poem in the Series of “In My Room”
By Jane Tawel
In My Bed Room
By Jane Tawel
April 20, 2020
Prone, with geese remnants and cotton fields’ dross to prop my head,
I gaze out the small, square pane,
the portal to other territories than mine
and I watch the Lacebark Elm.
She moves her green limbs like ribbons blown by breezy-tunes.
The previous nights’ bacchanalia of books,
lie like drunken guests,
with spines outstretched or curled-in upon themselves.
They wait for another night of revelry,
For the party of like-minds to begin.
They have long to wait on me, their host,
The alarm clock light reads 5:45.
For now, I lie between leaves and leafs,
Trees and the products of trees,
Both creations of Imaginations
Far greater than mine.
The alarm clock sits useless by my right hand,
I have no where to go, but up, as the idiom proclaims.
Time has lost His hold on me,
And sometimes I miss the deathly grasp of His strong hands,
Time, The Steersman of our fate,
has let me plant my deep roots here,
For a while.
I lie and contemplate the timelessness
of leisure and past due-dates in usefulness.
There’s an old painting on the wall across the room.
It was carelessly gifted to me, and
Given by someone who loved me
and then passed on but didn’t die.
My unpaid dressers of wood and iron
Wait attendance in the dusk.
They stand upright, not like trees, like butlers at attention;
they only sway in earthquakes.
Their wooden faces have completely forgotten
Their arboreal parentage;
The things in my room are not tree-like at all,
No longer alive, like the Lacebark Elm,
not malleable like nature.
The things in my room have no power over any one but me.
They are nice – perhaps even friendly—
But they do not touch or inspire anything but the past.
And how can anything change the past, realistically speaking?
The things in my room are useful,
But we are not stirring,
or moving like a good story,
We are staid like dreams,
and stagnant like memories.
And so too, the photographs propped-up like corpses in bier-like frames,
Their bodies trapped in decayed lands, here, there and everywhere,
Never moving, never changing,
living only to keep my memories on life-support.
I still love gazing though, at their faces, frozen
in the rigor mortis of confused and confusing smiles,
I can’t remember what we smiled at then.
The people in the photographs look like poorly trimmed trees,
With their limbs caught in motion,
Held high in the old winds of the past.
The bodies in the pictures are spiritless here,
Like broken eggs, whose chicks
Have flown the coop, have left the nest,
Have departed for Ports Unknown,
Only the shells remain.
I see the spirits pass this room, from time to time,
Soaring like sparrows, cocky like crows,
As other-like and unlike as eagles.
They wing towards their own suns,
elsewhere, somewhere else, somewhere else.
I joy in that they have left me some crumbs to lead me back,
and wrinkled feathers to assure me that they were once here.
And I re-read their stories,
Over and over and over again,
hoping for futures in a place of pasts,
in this room.
Books are all about the people who,
just like those in photographs,
are available to tell you what is on their minds,
but not for mutual conversation.
You have to be a good listener
If you want to keep books and memories alive.
In all these years I have lived the start of each new day,
Like a new chapter,
Waiting for resolution,
Hoping the story will not end too soon.
Hoping when the story is good that it will not end,
that it will not end,
that it will never end . . .
I look around, still supine, caught between finishing the chapter I am in,
(it’s a boring one, with me still lying here like a drowned worm, but I like it);
And the next chapter,
(I’ve read this type of day a thousand times or more,
so, I’m pretty sure how the story goes).
I think about people caught in books
or trapped, unbeknownst to them, in someone else’s past.
I think about characters that I love,
but whose life stories sit on shelves,
covered in memory’s dust motes.
And I think, how lucky to have a room,
Where stories still have life.
How lucky to have a setting,
Of Place and Time,
Where characters are loved
And given root, and then
I lie like a small grey bird in my bed-nest.
And I look for something outside this room
Hidden in the branches of the Lacebark Elm;
and the window pane is clear,
but I can only see my own reflection in the pain.
And yet, I know, that out there are the living stories
in which my reflection mirrors me with meaning.
Perhaps it is now the time to rise;
for me to protagonize my life?
Perhaps it is the hour for me to stirrup-up
With tattered wings, but able to still chirrup-up?
Unencumbered by tossed and turned bedclothes,
Or dog-eared corners,
Or alternative endings,
I raise my limbs to
dance my own life,
not like a young seedling anymore
not like a sapling, or a limber birch,
but like a sturdy old Elm,
who has learned to sway to withstand the earthquakes,
in a forest of possibilities.
I salute the Lacebark Elm
for sheltering me through the night,
And tug a metaphoric forelock in deference
to this space I fleetingly call mine.
I am like, yet not like, that ancient tree outside.
I think the Lacebark Elm
will live forever.
I curtsy to replace the book that fell in the night,
And the ancient hardwood of my joints creak,
as I cross myself at the thought of
the power and unbearable lightness of being
that stories have.
In this room,
I am Scheherazade.
I am a storyteller spinning stories from truth and fiction,
telling tales to live.
A story is a fiercely loving thing
in the arms of a place that belongs to you.