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Three Poems
by Roger Pemberton

"Bongo Girl"

Stage lights burn down like
50 stars in two perfectly
aligned rows.
A sea of glaring eyes make me aware
of every fault and insecurity as I

ask myself for the 37th time
why in the hell I am here.
I'm no poet.
I don't belong here.

The man that just left the stage who
spoke so passionately
about peanut butter is a poet.
The lady before him in her bohemian
skirt and Virginia Slim hanging
from her bottom lip as she recounted in vivid
tones how she lost her virginity to six men
and a dog in the same night
is a poet.

Even the kid before them who did nothing
but repeat the second line of the chorus
from every song on this week's Top 40
Pop Countdown while some sickly
female who I can only assume
is his girlfriend bangs a bongo off beat
with her eyes closed swaying
to the imaginary rhythm of the young man's voice

is a poet.
But not me.
I'm merely a recorder
of thoughts, the scribe of my own mind.
A man who can't speak a single word
into the Shure microphone two inches from
his lips. I'm

no poet, but I'll close my eyes
like bongo girl and give it a try.

"Dear Aunt Gladys"

Scattered letters on the floor
are reminders of my selfish youth.
She wrote me often - Most times
just to say hello and see how school

was going. Every birthday marked
by a card and an apology
that there was no money inside.

At her funeral
I sat in the first row and endured
an endless string of friends and family
telling me how much she loved me

and how proud I had made her.
If they only knew I had never written
her back. Not a single stain
of ink to brighten her day.

I hope she knows now
that I would take back every word
I have ever written for just one
letter to her.

"Divorce From The Perspective Of Then And Now"

We counted the hawks lit on
power poles between his home and mine.
A silly game we played to pass
the time since we had nothing else to say.

Those years were awkward for us both -
I was too young to understand
the complexities of marriage.
I get it now.

They never talked about it - though I could
hear the strain in their voices
when they spoke on the phone.

The hawk counting game was
a lot like their marriage.
Only speaking when pointing
out the obvious with long
periods of silence in between.

About the author:
Roger Pemberton is a poet and aspiring journalist currently residing in North Central Arkansas. He is an English/Literature major at Southern New Hampshire University and works as an IT Manager to help support his pen and legal pad habit. He lives with his wife and daughter, along with their Shih Tzu and Chihuahua, in Drasco, Arkansas.

© 2013 Word Riot

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