Sunday, May 31, 2009

Music and Poetry

After reading other poets, songs and music are a great inspiration for me. I love to listen to movie soundtracks while I write. I can’t go wrong with the music from Lonesome Dove, or A River Runs Through It.

The other day I was listening to satellite radio, and Harry Chapin was singing “Taxi.” Remember that one? Well, maybe you’re not as old as I am. The story of the song is that this taxi driver picks up a woman, and before long he realizes that she’s his old girlfriend, and they spend some time talking until he gets her home. He remembers that when they were going together they both had big dreams. He wanted to fly, and she wanted to be and actress. It all turned out very differently. I went to utube, and listened to it one more time. Then I looked through my poems for what I had written, after a meeting with someone from my past.

I avoid school reunions. I went to two, but I might not go to very many more. I came to the conclusion that those people who cared about me, and we had things in common, were the ones that didn’t need a reunion to see me, because we still corresponded and saw each other when we could. There is a sadness to those get-togethers. The posers still pose, and the popular kids still point at the not so popular and whisper, even after all those years. I do admit, it isn’t always that way. Small schools seem to be different. The school I attended in Kentucky has an all school reunion each year, and it’s fun to see my father talking to school mates while I do the same across the room. I always leave with a smile and am thankful for such wonderful friends.

Anyway, I’ll share a poem with you about an unexpected meeting of two people, like in Harry’s song.

Bill Collector

It’s not a first-rate job.
Not one you go home and brag about.
You make up rules,
over a hundred dollars and off it goes.
Under thirty, no way.
But sometimes the boss gets wise,
demands you take a hard line.

The arrogant ones are easy.
They curse and insist you
leave the lights on, while they finger
a wad of money and glare at you.
Of course you disconnect the electric,
tell yourself they deserve it.

After thirty years I remember the day
I walked up to that rusted out trailer.
How the half naked kids clung to
the woman’s legs, while I told her
why I was there.
Then I really looked at her, recognized
the girl most likely,
student council president.
I prayed she wouldn’t recognize
the class clown,
the kid she wouldn’t be caught dead with.

Call the office or I’ll be back, I said.
Down the road I stopped in a quiet spot,
wrote on the order in triplicate
Bad dog unable to disconnect
No customer contact,
then hid in the back of the van
until the tears stopped.

Robert W. Kimsey


  1. Never been to a reunion but your poem sure brought back memories. Great poem Robert!

  2. Isn't if funny how people go back to reunions with former high school mates they tried to impress 40 years ago and are still doing that after all this time.
    I am not the person I was in high school and feel I'd have nothing to say to those I'd see at a reunion.
    Your image of the woman who couldn't pay her bill and the man who would not punish her, brought a lump to my throat. I'm sure there are many today struggling to pay the electric.