Friday, October 17, 2014

Poetry Friday: Louis Jenkins

I recently ran into one of Atticus's old students, married now, with children. Atticus knew her when she was a gangly eighth grader, when he taught in a small town not far from where we live now. Ramona and I were in Target, looking for paper plates, when I heard, "Mrs. Edmisten?" I turned around and saw a confident young woman but for a brief flash I also saw a kid -- the sort of smart, sweet, kind, funny kid who makes Atticus's job easy.

She and I started the game Louis Jenkins describes in "Old Friends":

Old Friends
by Louis Jenkins

There's a game we play, not a game exactly, a sort of call and
response. It's one of the pleasures of living for a long time in a
fairly small place. "You know, they lived over by Plett's Grocery."
"Where that bank is now?" "That's right." "Plett's, I'd almost
forgotten. Do you remember where Ward's was?" "Didn't they....

(Read the rest here, at The Writer's Almanac.)


The round up is at Today's Little Ditty.


Becky Shillington said...

This really struck a chord with me, Karen. I think it is because I have always longed to live in one place long enough to have really, really OLD friends. This kind of connection is becoming less and less prevalent in today's always-on-the-move society. Thank you so much for sharing this enriching poem!

Karen Edmisten said...

My pleasure, Becky!
I think I just mentally counted at least 20 addresses in my lifetime (though a number of those were in the state where I still live.)

Still, I know what you mean, and I'm happy to oblige today! :)

jama said...

I miss the "old friends" kind of exchanges. I think so many of us are transplants that we yearn for them.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Such comforting familiarity in this poem. It made me smile.

Violet Nesdoly said...

Trust Louis Jenkins to put this familiar experience in a poem. Thanks! I could so relate!

Tabatha said...

"It's like the words to an old song,
la, la, la, some of which you remember." Nicely put. I am always surprised when I run across prose poems-- I think they are like old friends that I have forgotten about!

Mary Lee said...

(Your ditty was perfectly apropos, by the way!)

This is what it sounds like when my mom is trying to remind me of someplace or someone I've long ago forgotten from our tiny hometown (where she still lives).

Joy said...

Thanks for the Louis Jenkins poem. He is so good at writing prose poems. I met him once at a Split Rock workshop taught by Michael Dennis Brown and Jenkins certainly was inspiring.
I enjoyed your post.

Bridget Magee said...

Thanks for this little slice of your life and Louis Jenkins' life. He captured these exchanges perfectly. = )

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks so much, everyone! So glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did.

Buffy Silverman said...

Love the way Jenkins captures a sense of place and community, and the passage of time. Thanks for sharing this one.