Day in and day out, these bags, cyclical in nature, a never ending venture of dogmatic diagrams and closed bedroom doors. I’ve learned to be my own good company. 

I’ve learned to smile no matter what.

I’m in a lonely place, all the time. My features are gone, tucked away in some tattered suitcase  laying lump in some space or another. 

I close my eyes and I drift away to yesteryear.

I lay in my grandfather’s house deep in Alabama. Red clay road. The floorboards creaking in time with thousands of cicadas and their borrowed songs. 

That old blue and white striped mattress stuffed with compressed cotton, 

goose feathers 

and body oils.

The heat was palpable, heavy and thick. The Avon bottles in the shape of trains, cars or a horse and buggy.

Even then, I’d just smile,

no matter what.

Ray Strickland

Sept. 24, 2024 

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patriciajj's picture

I had to stop by when I saw

I had to stop by when I saw the comment on this and I certainly wasn't disappointed. So glad I didn't miss this ingeniously constructed study of life's phases and our agonizingly stoic reactions (or lack of reactions) to them.


A superb, powerfully understated and fiercely poignant expression.


Bravo, fine poet!

S74rw4rd's picture

Excellent poem!!!

Excellent poem!!!

Starward in process of becoming J-Called