Pamela Hirst | 3 poems

A new kind of lonesome

I feel like that astronaut that came back to earth recently, after a year in space. When asked what was the most surprising thing he learned he said, How long a year really is.

Counting in years now, how long my lover has been gone; counting in wrinkles now, the pain and disappointment transferred to my face,

As the French say, kindly, “a woman of a certain age” that I have become. Losing my youth, losing my home, losing my ace in the hole, I called  him, has left me brittle, fragile, I have lost all my moorings, the things that defined me within my own mind.

I’m Nernie’s daughter, Debbie’s sister, Beatlick Joe’s girlfriend, I grew up in Vultee, Gloria was my best friend. But people die, the neighborhood changes and the landscape blurs. You have to start all over again.

It’s a new kind of lonesome. And the memories have no substance to build on, what was was, and never will be again, any effort to recapture the past, is like chasing fog.

I choose to be living on the road. I choose to wake up in a different town every day. And with this, I became invisible. No anchors, no moorings, no familiarities, everything is new, different, fleeting. I walk down the streets of Palm Springs, invisible; I walk down Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, invisible; I browse the Pasadena Public Library, invisible.

This is what aging is: losing everything, everyone. New generations replace touchstones and icons, yet one continues, seeking: what makes sense, asking: do I count, do I have value?


Mike On A Bike

It’s a daunting task to find an overnight parking place in downtown LA.

They don’t want you at WalMart camping all night in their parking lots. I follow an innocuous street north out of Pasadena to a Sprouts grocery store off of East Walnut. It’s promising, but small, not open 24 hours.

I back up my Vintage 77 VW Vanagon into a perfect corner, secure the curtains, and settle in.  It’s still early as I wanted to beat the traffic. It smells really nice around here I notice.  I reconnoiter the block, strolling about with a hawk’s eye, in the lots behind the grocery store.

My parking place flanks the exit ramp off of the 210 – bougainvillea and lush greenery intentionally landscape the concrete as their brilliant colors crawl up the off ramp. I continue my peregrinations, bobbing up and down a sunny alley.

“Can I help you find something?” a man on a big blue bike asks me. I had noticed him coming down the alley – one hand on a handlebar and one hand holding a can of beer. It’s 8 o’clock in the morning.

“You’re my kinda guy,” I teased.

“What kinda guy is that?” he asked, a bit suspiciously.

“Drinking and driving first thing in the morning! Go for it!” We laugh together.

“I’m just looking for a parking place tonight,” I said.

He casually points out a cornier, “Right there, that will be safe.”

“You think so?”

“Oh, yeah,” he said with assurance. “This is kinda the homeless district around here.” When my eyebrows lifted he assured me: “Oh, the homeless people around here are really peaceful.”

I liked him. “I’m Pamela,” I said.

“I’m Mike On a Bike. Everyone knows me around here. Mike On a Bike.

I live over there.” He points to the bougainvillea. “There’s a girl beside me who lives in a tree.” I glance towards the ramp. My eyes scoured the greenery, but I couldn’t see a thing.

Mike was soon on his way toward the freeway. “Just call out my name, over there, (he points) if you get scared or need anything.”

And pushing his big, blue bike ahead of himself, he climbed into the bougainvillea and complete disappeared as the traffic continued to whine overhead.


Lizard Tail

All the little dogs yap at the door
Carried in from the cold
Leaving me with the impression
I am back in Paris
The open mic
Drew my kind of crowd.
Definitely Bohemian with 
A whiff of East Village
 
Every young man at the bar
Looked like someone I slept with
In the 80s.
A minimalist mc
make-shift stage
No makeup 
Except for mine
 
Musicians here have been honing skills
For decades
And juveniles
Who have been playing guitar
In bedrooms and dormitories
For years, at least
More horns than guitars
Electric, no acoustic
Pork pie hats and fades
Grey flat tops, Popeye arms
 
Saxes, drum solo, trombone
Sweet, pretty bartender
Beer kicking in
Filled to the brim

I haven't felt the drums like this
Since I was 14
Visiting my Yankee cousins in Indiana
I swear to a god I saw him
Sandy Nelson, birth of the beat
Indianapolis 
Sinking straight into my little 14 year old core
And here too
De je voux

Random, man
Such a conventional strip mall
And the beat pulses
Out to Montgomery
Out to Eubank
 
That jazz, never ages
Pure sound
Vibe
Head buzz

Honey sax
Brush heartbeat
Deep bass guitar filling out
The hole the horns left behind
 
Yeah, it's all complete now
Fade to black

We are all in our space
That comfortable space in our head
Where we attend
Enjoyment
There isn't tomorrow
 
Don't remember last night
Just want to feel the now
The now now now
In my ears 
Head
Going down, down
Into the nowshow

pamela_hirst
Pamela Hirst

Pamela Adams Hirst, aka Beatlick Pamela, moved to New Mexico from Nashville, Tennessee, and established award-winning Beatlick Press in order to posthumously publish her life partner’s only book, Backpack Trekker: A 60s Flashback. As a book designer and publisher, seven volumes from her press have been named Finalists in the NM AZ Book Awards, with one first place winner in Anthology 2013. Continuing the literary and performance legacy established by Beatlick Joe Speer, she currently performs with Holly Wilson as the Beatlick Sisters as a multi-media performance duet, drawing upon her own years of media experience in television, journalism and poetry.

Pamela graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee State University with a BA, emphasis on communication, theater and Spanish language. Her hobbies include playing guitar and gardening; currently she is restoring a vineyard at Hollyhock Farm in the South Valley.

Pamela Hirst YouTube Channel.  Beatlick Pamela Hirst YouTube Channel.

 

6 thoughts on “Pamela Hirst | 3 poems

  1. Sweet! What a perfect way for me to begin my day! I love hearing about your adventures and your new perspective. You look rested and youthful in that photo. I love you with all my heart P!!!

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  2. Good to read these, Pamela. We’ve known each other most of our lives, and I still learn something new when I read one of your poems. Our friendship continues to give me a window into another world.

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  3. Pamela, I can definitely identify with your journey from being a couple to now walking alone. I’ve been on the same journey for six years now. It like walking in quicksand from being hard to difficult. I’ll keep the light on until you next trip to Nashville. Looking forward to reading your next book. Emma J. Wisdom

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