The Grapevine Art & Soul Salon
TWO POEMS BY NANCY LAW
My Ideal Man
You are everything I want in a man.
You believe in loving yourself
and others and in kindness.
Love and kindness and music
live in your heart.
You love music, movies, reading
walking beside the Chattahoochee River.
You are an engineer, a graduate
of Cambridge University, a world traveler
alone and lonely
desiring a woman at home to talk to
to make sweet and passionate love with you
all through the night.
You pledged to be faithful to that person
when you found her.
You called me beautiful
fun and interesting.
I wanted to compare our young lives
on two different continents.
I shared my past with you
told you about living in Atlanta
in the sixties
about my career, my marriage
my children, my friends, my sister
all the things that made me
the person I am today
told you how the little girl I was
is proud and happy to be the woman
I have become.
You wrote romantic e-mail letters
typed text messages
made telephone calls to hear my voice
sent instant messages
calling me honey, princess, baby
sweetheart, sweet Nancy.
Sometimes a text from you woke me
in the middle of the night.
You wanted me with you
to share your excitement
about building a pedestrian bridge
You made me feel passionate
aroused and giddy about my life.
You emphasized truthfulness.
I was truthful.
You were so sure that God had brought us together.
I didnít think God had anything much to do with it
but I planned to meet you at the airport
on your return from Singapore.
You had a gift for me, you said.
You sent me your flight information.
I confirmed it.
I received an email: you said
you wanted to be my husband.
I donít want a husband.
And then came
another email stating that you could not
complete the job because
your tools had been confiscated
for nonpayment, that you had run out
of money and would not be able
to make the flight.
Passionate and handsome
wonít open my bank account.
I gave you my heart but kept my money.
I didn't think twice. It was not all right.
I think now there were three of you:
one writing e-mails
one doing text messages
one making telephone calls
all together almost
making a whole picture
of my ideal man.
But for three weeks on the phone and Internet
I loved being in love with the illusion
that you are everything
I want in a man.
Searching for the Holy SpiritÖor a Man
For several months I have felt a need
to return to Aragon Methodist Church
the church of my youth where
I was nurtured and loved
where I was taught about Jesus
memorized Bible verses and
sang songs about that old-time religion
where there was preaching on Sunday mornings
Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings
and Methodist Youth Fellowship meetings
where burial services
for my mother and father were held
where neighbors and friends came to pay
their respect and express their love:
most of them I had not seen
since high school graduation.
My memory has been flooded recently with images
of stained glass windows
of the choir singing hymns
of Rev. Howe and his wife Georgia
of Ms. Nan Williams, sons Tommy and Frank
of Ms. Ethel Williams, children Ann and Paul
of the Bonds and son Jerry
of Sunday School
of MYF and my sisterís role in it
of Vacation Bible School
of summer camp
where I became infected with infantigo
causing pus-filled sores all over my body
and got to leave camp early
of parties at the church fellowship hall
and at Ms. Nanís house
where we played spin the bottle and post office
of Christmas plays
of Santa Claus giving presents and stockings
filled with fruit and candy to the children
of homecoming, quartet singing, potluck dinners
of hot tea at the parsonage where I learned
not to mix lemon and cream
of twenty-mile trips to Rome
of Royís Drive-In and the radio station on top
and calling in requests for favorite songs
of swimming at the Rome YMCA.
After several trips I didnít make
finally, last Sunday morning I got in my car
and drove forty miles from my house to Aragon.
I went to church seeking warmth and comfort
from fifty years ago.
I wanted to find the Holy Spirit or, at the very least
I was hoping for a man.
I've looked everywhere else I can think of.
I was ready to accept comfort from either source.
When I walked in
I was greeted
with a hug from an usher who
told me how happy she was that I came.
She asked my name.
As people said hello and welcomed me
I explained that this
was the church where I grew up.
I looked at the stained glass windows.
The piano was in the same place.
The pews and hymnals looked the same.
Something different: a young black man
led the singing.
I noticed on the bulletin board that
attendance the previous Sunday
was 51, about the same as today.
There was no one from my youth.
They were either dead or had moved away.
The congregation was mostly older women
whose husbands have died
a sprinkling of younger women and men
maybe five children.
The minister, a young man
was absent because his wife
had just delivered their newborn son.
An older woman gave the sermon
traditional and comforting, all about
loving Jesus, praying for the sick
being thankful for what we have.
I have been gone too long, I thought.
I found a group of loving people
who welcomed me and made me
happy I was there.
I donít know if I found the Holy Spirit.
I didnít find the man.
Copyright ©2011 Barbara Knott ∑ All Rights Reserved