I Heard The Blues In Her Eyes

I-heard-the-blues-in-her-eyesHer tears only dripped when my eyes closed.
I pretended not to hear them
but I listened,

I listened to the clutch of her heart
whisper an apology asking for the forgiveness/of my hunger.

I wasn’t mad at mama,
she was younger;

younger than most mother’s.

Twenty-one years of age
standing in welfare lines
for free cheese and powdered milk
to go with the half empty jar of mayonnaise
and three slices of bread
sealed with a rubber band
to protect
from the rats and roaches.

I didn’t like when mama cried

because I knew how hard she tried

to hide the desperation that strangled her;
to fight back against the deep kicks of poverty
that was like a bully on a playground
laughing and tripping
until she was just tired of falling –

but she kept strong for me,

because a five year old didn’t know
the strange man at the door
was there to shut off the gas

and a five year old didn’t know
the rent was two months late
because the fifty seven dollars


of food stamps just weren’t enough
to keep food on my plate

and a five year old didn’t know
his daddy was just a sperm donor,
more like a dead beat cloner.

I didn’t like when mama cried

but She did

and didn’t hide her tears
to well…because her eyes
always would sing to me

the blues

andt they told me, with a soft voice,

that things would be alright
and they eventually were

because my eyes were enough

to give her the lyrics of strength; lyrics
which created a song still echoing

and spinning on the turntable of life

I’ll always remember mama’s tears.
They flowed to give me a future;
a future built off struggle and commitment
and those tears were the fuel
that energized our survival
but still,

I didn’t like when mama cried

because even within the silence of her smile,
I heard the blues in her eyes.

© 2009
Tarringo T Vaughan
“Tears Of A Poet”

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