THE DEATH OF MEMORY
that must be
that drifts in
your mind the
as if some
in your brain
and hustled it
eyes nose mouth
that funny thing
you said at
party a few
or was it
many years ago?
you can almost
as if you were
but what was
it you said
and what about
that old neighbor
you liked so much
the one who died
a man you knew
for twenty years
and now you can
only vaguely recall
his body sprawled
out at the end
of his driveway
now you can't
you would be
to dredge up
the very first
time you met
or even that
your wife shared
about? what was
all the words
all reduced to
a hazy blur
a plain white
dixie cup you
This poem won second prize in the 2012 Margaret
Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Tom Howard Books. Author Vernon Waring received a $1,000 award. Winning Writers assists this contest. Copyright is reserved to the author.
JULIA WARHOLA SPEAKS
I am the mother of Andy Warhol.
Right from beginning, Andy was special.
When his brothers go to school, he
stay home with me. I like to draw
pictures...and so did he. We even
draw picture of each other. I like
to draw cat a lot and so did he. When
he is little boy, I leave room for one
minute and he not there when I come
back. "Where is my Andek?" I ask.
"Where he go?" and everyone is laughing.
I know early on Andy not like other boys.
He go into town with me and pick out
hats for me. One time he pick out black
felt hat and then he go home and paint
edge of hat so it has gold edge. It look
beautiful. I also like to cut tin
flowers out of fruit tin cans and soup
cans too. And Andy always help me. Just
a little boy but he take after his Mom.
He was artist even then.
Many years later when Andy is grown
man, I visit him in New York and tell
him he needs me. Then I go back to
Pittsburgh but I miss him. I pack up
and come back to New York and move in
The first apartment we live in not very
nice, filled with cats and mice and
roaches. Cats everywhere. Once I count
twenty cats and still mice all over!
I go to gallery one night for opening
of Andy's first show. When I get there I
have odd feeling. People there they look
at me like I'm different, strange. I feel
this but no one say anything to me. I
think they say things behind my back.
You know what I mean? "Andy's Old Mom
with babushka is from Old Country." I
just stay in background all the time.
I no talk to nobody but Andy. I tell
him how proud I am and to do right
thing and find his ideas in dreams.
Those are my words. But I no go to any
other show of his work. Ever!
He is still good son to me always but he
worry too much about money. When I
move here he take me to Woolworth's
for Thanksgiving Day dinner. We sit at
counter and have turkey platter with
everything. It is not bad food but Andy
look so sad because he have no money
then. I tell him not to worry. "You will
be somebody someday. You are hard worker,"
I say. "Just wait. Be patient."
Even though I complain sometime, I Iike
my life here. I watch I Love Lucy show
on television. And people in New York
very friendly and everyone in apartment
building polite and helpful. I go to
big church—very nice—on 15th Street
and 2nd Avenue where I see all my friends
and every day I go to A&P to buy food.
And I like Andy's friends. They kid with
me and tease me and I laugh. They know
I love my son and am good for him always.
Andy does get angry with me sometimes.
He say I nag too much. I tell him he
no dress right. I tell him right out
that I only stay with him till he find
nice girl and get married. That is my
dream. Once he get married, I tell him
I go home to Pittsburgh. He never say
anything when I bring this up. He is
good boy but moody, very moody sometime,
not a talker like his Mom, ya?
This poem won a Most Highly Commended award in the 2012 Margaret
Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Tom Howard Books. Author Vernon Waring received a $150 award. Winning Writers assists this contest. Copyright is reserved to the author.
About Vernon Waring
Vernon Waring's poetry has appeared in Ascent Aspirations Magazine, Nerve Cowboy, The Great American Poetry Show, and The Iconoclast. His short fiction has been singled out for commendation in the Glimmer Train, New Millennium Writings Awards, and Soul-Making Keats Literary Competitions. A native of Philadelphia, he now lives in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.