Blues In The Night


The night shrieked too when I left home at last.
Those days had rocked with sock hops and nehi pops.
My sister Allie so moody, so volatile, so beautiful
had found true love. His name was Charlie.
His hair glistened over his sparkling brown eyes.
Could he dance and could he sing!

Allie played every instrument so easy then.
When they made music together the crows stopped in flight.
The summer stood still; the night was magic.
Every day Allie was calmer. She didn’t slam the door
or run outside when Daddy came in the kitchen any more.
And Momma didn’t glare and rattle the dishes and pans.

It was hot, so hot that Tuesday when an ambulance came.
They came into the house but Momma stood by while
I couldn’t find my scream and they twisted Allie in a jacket.
They hauled her out and away. So Daddy beat the table.
The crows found my voice, we heard their hollers
through open windows. With no breeze, sounds fell like hailstones.

Weeks passed and Charlie left town. Kids said he was blue.
Blue, that’s what I was too; then Allie returned,
at least her body did.  She drooled and stared in space.
She didn’t know what the piano was and stumbled when she walked.
When Daddy came into the kitchen, she crept toward the door.
He continued watching her. The next night I found out why.

I heard him open my door and saw the monster she’d told me
he was. In my p.js I kicked open the window screen and ran–
I ran through the blue night, the blue wheat rows, the blue
earth to the blue train tracks and the black ties. Down and
down past black bridges until the day caught fire blazing
red in the windows of the last blue barn.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 2011

21 thoughts on “Blues In The Night

  1. Heart-rending, beautiful, and so sad… “I couldn’t find my scream and they twisted Allie in a jacket.” That line, among many, really got to me. Great emotional impact and easy to imagine given all the details of the scene. Fantastic writing.

  2. oh no – this reminded me of the movie “forrest gump” the whole atmosphere with the girl being abused by her father – i watched this movie only once and felt sick for weeks..
    your poem has the same effect – a tragical story but masterfully written gay

  3. Lord above. I can see it. Poor Allie. What you don’t say in this is as powerful as what you do. And I love the crows.

    Thank you so much for your gracious comment about mine. I put that comment in my “special stuff” file.

    • I can’t touch you. I hope you liked it though. Yours moved me so; but the one of yours that touched me deep to tears was climbing those stairs. I held on to it all week. Thanks, Shay

  4. One of your very best, Gay, and that’s saying a lot. the last stanza in particular brings a haunting musical/dirgelike quality that combines dread, terror and freedom adroitly into a cry from the soul. The use of commonplace detail to build up the realism, and then the surreal images…just amazing.

  5. Thank you everyone. I just wrote this to the prompt. I have been thinking in rants off and on this year when I get these emails extolling the 50s. I lived through those days and while they were relatively halcyon (I stress relatively there) for me, I did not go through them with blinders on. The reason they “seemed” so peaceful is because evil was allowed to breathe all around us and no one especially not those in power did one thing to stop it. Whatever they say, these are better days and I say look to the future because the only good thing about the 50s was that it wasn’t the 30s or 40s. But lobotomy and shock therapy were bombs that dwelled in my subconscious as real as the nuclear ones nearby in the ground.

  6. Wow, just wow! Such an awful story told in such a brilliant way. “The crows found my voice…sounds fell like hailstones.” Really powerful. And the surreal ending when the narrator saves herself is terrifying and liberating all at once. Great write!

  7. When I write, I do so with the intent that I may be lucky enough to pen a piece that will affect and render the reader unable to turn the page (or click the mouse as the case may be) With this piece, for this reader, you have accomplished just that. I am still running in the blue, and will share this with many, hoping they too will feel what I have.

  8. I think this is your best yet, (out of what I’ve read) started off so light, then gradually lets you down slowly, & then you get this darkness thats so damn real, & it gives you a rush of emotion. I felt happiness, then sadness, wonder, anger.. so much.

  9. Wow! Gay, I think that may be one of your very best. Wonderful imagery. Nice cohesive narrative. Good timing. Good almost smell the grape Nehi!! The ending was perfect.
    Robin xx

  10. Yes, a terrible tale that I don’t know first hand, but these things happened and are still happening in places. Sometimes I feel in my search for beauty, that I have not stopped to shine a light in dark places. It’s my way to protest. When youth, talent, and zest for life is stripped by anyone seeking to dominate it’s our duty as artists to show that loss to all of us. I appreciate that this sordid tale found appreciation. Thank you.

  11. Vivid, heartrending… and mind numbingly sad…
    A very evocative piece, Teresa… I hope all the running brought peace and calm to the main character of this poem…
    Good God!! Abuse sucks.. thankfully for me, I can only “imagine” it! After reading such tales, one really begins to wonder about the dark depths of a human mind… (sigh)

  12. I like your story poem. Did you draw pic of barn? You earlier said you wanted to read my poem, “Ballade for a Street Musician” (tough form Ballade-not Ballad ). I have posted it publicly as it did not win award. Would like your feedback when you have the time. Jackie

    • Sorry just saw this comment. No I didn’t draw the barn. Actually it was a photograph that was used by the poetry website as a poetic prompt. I wrote an article on the Ballade Form for d’Verse poets and, I myself wrote a ballade about Ballanchines Ballet piece called Ballade to the music by Faure. I would like to read your poem. Would you please send a link? Here is the link to mine. It may be a bit arch as I reflect on it, but it worked well to illustrate the form:
      Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s