Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: My Love Letter to London

My world kind of flipped upside down on me in the last 24 hours.

Went out with my girlfriends from work last night. Many, many hours later, when my cabbie finally turned on to my street, just as I leaned up to tell him where my building was, he slammed on the brakes. And I slammed into the partition. Busted my lip open. (Luckily my teeth stayed intact this time.)

Somehow, I manage to wake up this morning to call in to work for my "on call" shift. (Since we can't request time off work, the on call shifts are to cover the bar's ass in case someone gets sick or doesn't show.) I'm half awake. I dial. (Err, push the talk button.)

The phone rings. And rings. And rings.

I think you know where this is going. No one answered the phone, and I crawl back under the covers and go to sleep. I figure I'll just explain what happened when I get to work later this afternoon.

I'll leave the rest out for now, but clearly I'm not at work tonight. Turns out, I do have a breaking point, and today I reached it. But I think quitting my job warrants an entire blog post, so I'll save that for another day.

So seeing as how it's Tuesday evening and I'm still in my pjs, I figure I might as well go for it and make this Tuesday's featured poet...me. (Yeah, I know. It's scary.)

I wrote this poem right before I moved to Chicago. I was sitting in my apartment in Bloomington thinking about how terrified I was to quit my job and move to this city. Thinking about my mom and wondering what she would think. Thinking about how terrified I was before I left for London, but how studying abroad there changed my life in about 5,000 fantastic ways.

This is my love letter to London.


A thousand miles away
from where you were,
and would ever be

I felt you, so strongly,
not just in my dreams,
but in every step on the Chelsea pavement,
in every laugh with my roommate.

You were there in the classroom,
a cramped little room in Holborn
where I found my voice
and discussed the literature I loved,
openly and intelligently—
the way I was too scared, or hungover,
to do back at home.

At last, I saw you again,
through the eyes of my kind professor
who would nod, and encourage—
she reminded me of you.

A thousand miles away
from where all our losses had occurred
I felt the pain ease, only slightly,
but enough to catch my attention.

In London,
a thousand miles away
from where you were,
and would ever be

You came back to me
You were with me
You shook me up
You woke me up

as I breathed in the brilliance of Europe
as I laughed with new girlfriends
as I crossed the city alone

You reminded me
that I could like myself again,
without the help of vodka.

I felt you.

In London,
a thousand miles away
I felt the way I do
when you visit me in my dreams
and I know, briefly,
that you’re not really gone,
that you will never leave me

because you were in every book I read,
every laugh I shared;
you were sitting next to me on the 19 bus,
you pointed me toward unexpected love.

At last,
in London,
a thousand miles away,

You let me know
that it was still okay
to be alive.

1 comment: