Surrendering to Cliché, free verse by @jackaurquhart

©2014 by Jack A. Urquhart

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One after another, they fall—
chestnuts
from the hospital bed,
the utterances of old age:
“ ‘Beats me, how time
gets away,”
she crepitates,
this crisp
of sun-dried human being,
this wisp
of ossified womanhood.
“In my mirror this morning,
a face like flotsam,
a stranger,
half-dead;
eyes hard 
as driftwood.
Not me at all!”

And indeed!  You remember
her washed away glory,
her once-upon-a-time
top-down glamour,
movie-star tresses
frothing,
wind wafting from an Olds
Super Eighty-Eight.
Yet even then, some hint
Of a battle born state;
some white-washed
mysterious loss
never to be mentioned?

How you ached
to be like her then.
And now, you are:
same hawkish profile,
and withered smile;
same hypothermic eyes
benumbed
in their hollows.
“Yes,” you concede,
considering your own
unspeakables.
“We’re changed by our lives,”
you prattle,
surrendering to cliché.
“Changed into someone else.”

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About jaurquhart

Jack Andrew Urquhart was born in the American South. Following undergraduate work at the University of Florida, Gainesville, he taught in Florida's public schools. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was the winner of the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Award for Fiction (1991). His work has appeared online at Clapboard House Literary Journal, Crazyhorse Literary Journal, and Standards: The International Journal of Multicultural Studies. He is the author of So They Say, a collection of self-contained, inter-connected stories and the short story, They Say You Can Stop Yourself Breathing. Formerly a writing instructor at the University of Colorado’s Writing Program, Mr. Urquhart was, until 2010, a senior analyst for the Judicial Branch of California. He resides in southern California.
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3 Responses to Surrendering to Cliché, free verse by @jackaurquhart

  1. rlboyington says:

    Achingly poignant. No ordinary cliché this, with such potency.

  2. rlboyington says:

    And, surrendering!

  3. Another great poem, Jack. You really are gifted – keep it up.

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