ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the linkback perk poem for the August 6, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. If you link to the fishbowl, make a comment and include the URL to reveal a verse of this poem.  If you link on different services, you can get multiple verses.

The poem comes from the July 2013 Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] perfectworry and also fills the "parting ways" slot on my card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest.  It belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

All verses have been posted.  Linkers include: LJ  user rix_scaedu, [personal profile] technoshaman[personal profile] janetmiles[personal profile] chanter_greenie, LJ  user wyld_dandelyon, [personal profile] thnidu[personal profile] perfectworry, LJ  user natalief


"These Here Are My Desires"


It's hard, sometimes,
when a white car with a broad blue stripe
cruises through District E-13.

Dale leans on her cane,
trying to ignore the twinge in her knee
and the aching crater in her soul
where her career used to be.

Perhaps being a policewoman
is something she will always miss,
or perhaps it will fade with time.
She has spoken to other policevets
and knows that it could go either way.

The thin blue line is still there,
but Dale is on the other side of it now,
and most of her old support network
is out of reach in her new life.

It's hard, sometimes,
to part ways with everything she knew,
friends and colleagues left behind
along with the gun and the badge.
Dale misses the reassuring press
of their shoulders set beside hers.

Kelly is always here, though,
bumping gently against Dale,
her hands eloquent as she signs,
Are you okay, love?

I'm fine,
  Dale replies,
an outward flick of her spread hand.
It's not entirely true, not yet,
but it becomes more true every day.
Both women work hard to make it so.

Jamaica Plain helps too,
all green parks and cheerful streets,
culture spilling out over the sidewalks
and people smiling as they walk by.
For every parting of ways, there's a meeting.

It's hard, sometimes,
to find new ways of contributing.
Dale has this need  to be of service,
has had it since she was a girl.
These here are my desires,  she thinks,
looking at Kelly and their neighborhood.

The cane and the limp make it difficult
to do many of the things that she used to do.
Along with the policework has gone
the front-line activism that Dale and Kelly did,
replaced by petitions and online activities.

The gardening is a more recent discovery;
they like watching things grow and blossom.
Dale and Kelly walk through their neighborhood
seeing the people and the flowers,
and it's good, it really is.

Dale even has a litterbag slung over her shoulder,
knitted from tough cotton string, a gift
from the ladies at the synagogue who saw her
struggling to carry trash one-handed.
There are ways to make the difficult more doable.

It's hard, sometimes,
to remember how the world can change
when you aren't expecting it.
The patrol car rolls to a stop,
window lowering, and the cop inside asks,
"How goes the Code 19?"

Dale doesn't even know this tiny Asian guy,
who looks like a rookie fresh out of the Academy,
but her heart squeezes with pleasure anyhow.
"It's going well today," she replies.
"Barker just retired, and I'm taking over his beat,"
the kid says.  "He said to watch out for you."

Dale and Kelly haven't spoken to Barker
since Dale's retirement party, hadn't been to his,
yet he cared enough to make the recommendation.
They lean easily against the car and chat
about the best paths for walking the beat here,
glad for a chance to touch old ties and make new ones.

Johnny Long turns out to be
first-generation Chinese-American,
eager to hear about the cultural mix in Jamaica Plain,
so they point out the Dominican restaurant El Embajador
and mention the new hair-braiding and bead shop.
Two boys coming out of the restaurant smile and wave.

It's hard, sometimes,
to remember that life was
ever anything other than this.  

*   *   *   

Notes:

The title of the poem is a line from "Roll Away Your Stone" by Mumford & Sons.

Within the Boston
Police Department, District E-13 covers Jamaica Plain.  You can read about their practice of community policing, in which Code 19 refers to walking through a neighborhood to keep in touch with people.

Police veterans
strive to create a support network.

Read about
American Sign Language.

Make your own
string bag.

Jamaica Plain
is a neighborhood in Boston.

El Embajador
is a popular restaurant in Jamaica Plain. 

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-06 06:27 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Shared to Facebook, DW, LJ.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2013-09-02 10:46 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
El Embajador. The Ambassador. *smiles* Somehow kinda fits with the multicultural nature of things here...

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-07 01:52 am (UTC)
perfectworry: meet me in the door with the desert in the morning I am there (a rabbit-hearted girl)
From: [personal profile] perfectworry
I shared links on Twitter and Facebook.

(I'm so glad I didn't sleep through this!)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-07 02:16 am (UTC)
perfectworry: meet me in the door with the desert in the morning I am there (life is that simple)
From: [personal profile] perfectworry
Thanks!

(I linked on my LJ, too, almost as soon as you posted this! I meant to just go back and edit my original comment; sorry to make more work for you.)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-06 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rix-scaedu.livejournal.com
Signal boosted here http://rix-scaedu.livejournal.com/167695.html

It should go through to my Twitter account from there.

Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-06 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I have posted your two verses.

Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-07 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I have posted your new verse.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-08 10:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natalief.livejournal.com
I had to goofle code 19.

http://natalief.livejournal.com/1962974.html
Twitter from there.

Okay...

Date: 2013-08-08 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
And the poem is complete! I have added the notes now, too.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-08 10:15 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Yay! The torch is passed... in more ways than one.

Yes...

Date: 2013-08-08 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I wanted to create a sense of continuity, and hint at how people interact even when the groups don't seem to overlap much.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2013-08-08 10:23 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
One of the things I like about your serial poetry is the whole story arc thing.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2013-08-08 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Yay! I enjoy that too. Some series have an obvious story arc from the beginning; some evolve one over time based on the prompts people give. A few don't seem to have a specific direction, and that's okay too. I like exploring a series to see what kind of stories it wants to tell. They are so different from each other!

This one is about community, which is a pretty popular theme for me and my audience; but it's also one of the rare non-speculative series, so that makes it stand out. It also catches someone shortly after some major life changes, so that we get to see some of the adaptation process. I like that.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-09 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baaing-tree.livejournal.com
Man, this series!

We're going to be leaving the Boston area soon, to drift and schmooze our way across the country. I figured, since we were going to be homeless again anyway, we might as well try and make the best of it and turn it into travel. We do plan to return to the Boston area though, and this is making me want to try living in JP for a time!

Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-09 09:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Man, this series! <<

I'm glad you're enjoying it so much.

>> We're going to be leaving the Boston area soon, to drift and schmooze our way across the country. I figured, since we were going to be homeless again anyway, we might as well try and make the best of it and turn it into travel. <<

Well, that makes sense. I wish you luck with the trip. *ponder* Let me know if you cross through central Illinois? We might be able to meet up or something.

>> We do plan to return to the Boston area though, and this is making me want to try living in JP for a time! <<

Wow.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-09 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baaing-tree.livejournal.com
Depending where you are in Illinois, yes. We'll be headed through it, either to hit Joplin MO or Minneapolis. (Depending on who we can connect with.) Maybe we could do coffee or something?

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-09 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Depending where you are in Illinois, yes. We'll be headed through it, either to hit Joplin MO or Minneapolis. (Depending on who we can connect with.) <<

We're just outside of Charleston. About an hour north of us is Champaign-Urbana, which is the main hub where several interstates cross; most of the central Illinois traffic goes through there, and it's a great place to stop.

>> Maybe we could do coffee or something? <<

Tea for me rather than coffee, but yeah, that would be fun. And [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug knows all the good places to visit in Champaign -- and a handful elsewhere, depending on where your route takes you.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-09 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baaing-tree.livejournal.com
Yeah, that wouldn't be hard for us to hit at all, and it sure sounds better than freaking Chicago, which I didn't much care for last we were there. (It had the most PRISON-LIKE public library I've ever had the misfortune to see!) We're mostly just schmoozing and couch-surfing our way across the country, with no set itinerary other than, "This looks cool," so it'd be great to visit. Sounds like a plan! We'll probably be in your neck of the woods around mid-October.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-09 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Yeah, that wouldn't be hard for us to hit at all, and it sure sounds better than freaking Chicago, which I didn't much care for last we were there. (It had the most PRISON-LIKE public library I've ever had the misfortune to see!) <<

Chicago has some wonderful attractions, but it's better if you have a tour guide. Some of the best stuff is either small, or kind of obscure, or both.

>> We're mostly just schmoozing and couch-surfing our way across the country, with no set itinerary other than, "This looks cool," so it'd be great to visit. Sounds like a plan! We'll probably be in your neck of the woods around mid-October. <<

*happydance* That should work.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-18 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] westrider.livejournal.com
Just now getting caught up. Still don't have the spoons to comment on most of these, but I've been enjoying this batch quite a lot. Especially this one and Estrella.

And my mind jumped straight to the Mumford & Sons song as soon as I saw the title :)

Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-18 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoyed this so much.

Happydance!

Date: 2014-05-21 12:04 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I really love the way Kelly and Dale have their own voices, even though the whole story is from Dale's viewpoint.

And I love that Dale /as an officer/ isn't forgotten, instead becoming a community resource for a new officer on the beat.

Thank you for posting this. (Again, again, again, again-- If I don't say 'thank you' with every comment, please be assured that it's automatically included.)

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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