Don McIver is on duty. His eyes are open. He is keeping the watch, even if he can't do much about what he sees.
McIver is a 4 time member of the ABQ slam team, the host/producer of KUNM's Spoken Word Hour, the author of The Noisy Pen
, and a co-editor of A Bigger Boat: the Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Slam Scene.
A teacher by trade, he works at Central New Mexico Community College. The banner photo above is by the late ABQ poet Jimmy Townes.
To the woman who works Central from Maple to University.
As I fill her "to go" cup with ice, I wonder . . .
Does she recognize me?
And as I give her the cup, I want to say,
"Are you okay?
Have you heard the morning call of birds,
the blown rain on top of rain fly,
the lazy sighing of Aspen and Pine
in the late May breeze,
the still, methodical rushing of river water running down?
Have you seen the threesome of chipmunks scurry over brush,
loose volcanic tuft,
indian paint brush,
and raven scat?
the full moon streak the cloudy sky
and watched the gray undefined cirrus clouds move in
a shade of slate?
Have you heard birds
or seen words
And as she takes the cup from me, I want to ask,
"Are you okay?"
Because your mascara doesn't seem to be coming together
in the corner of your eyes like I know you like it.
And the dirty Levi's that you wore just the other day
look a little bit more scuffed
and slipping off your waist,
reveal a crooked ladder
of stretch marks
and a second pair of exercise pants
underneath the dirty Levi's.
As you rub the track marks on your arm,
your hands are shaking.
Fingernails bitten to the quick,
as you take the cup from me
and you never
Daughter, lover, sister, mother, friend,
life has yet to fill your cup
and all I can give
Poetry submissions are most welcome. Email TheDitchRider@gmail.com.