Prose Poem and Artwork by Arlene Tribbia
You wore a necktie to St. Columba Catholic grammar school, pulling it off before
you shot through the doors, the church bells ringing behind you as you ran.
You wore a scared grin and a dark blue suit and tie that was too big for your eleven
year old body for a picture someone snapped as you knelt at your father’s grave.
You wore a white Jockey t-shirt and baby blue boxer shorts when you went to sleep
at night, the radio next to your bed playing I can’t get no satisfaction.
You wore a black leather jacket when you were hip, smoked Kools and even your hair was dark and slick, except for a couple of stray curls on your forehead.
You wore a white Jockey t-shirt and dark blue plaid pajama bottoms while you made fried egg, onion and mustard sandwiches those cold, sunny winter mornings.
You wore a bleached white sailor’s uniform when you came home after you enlisted in the Navy until you went AWOL and then you wore a dark button down shirt and pants.
You wore blue jeans and black wrinkled shirts when you spent afternoons drinking
Schlitz and listening to Inagaddadavida and Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
You wore heavy boots with metal toes, caked with dirt and grease when you worked midnights plus overtime in the steel mill for one long summer.
You wore cool black every night whenever you drank beer and shot pool with your friends in the smoky basement, Light my fire playing on the radio.
You wore a tan jumpsuit when you walked through the doorway, into the visiting area of Stateville Prison where you went after selling heroin to an undercover cop.
You wore mismatched, wrinkled clothes whenever you were getting high, shooting up, drinking Bud and Robitussin with codeine, nodding off to A day in the life.
You wore dirty blue jeans and a ripped black leather jacket when you took the South Shore train from Chicago to Hegewisch home for the last time.
You wore a naked body covered by a military green sheet or was it a blanket? except for your head and feet when I saw you there lying on a steel gurney in the morgue.
Postscript: And now I like to believe you live in a childhood continent of illumination wearing moonlight and stars.
Author and Artist Arlene Tribbia, Chicago IL
Arlene Tribbia is a Chicago artist/poet who works across disciplines experimenting and composing in many variations of a theme. Her work is layered with the metaphorical qualities of poetry and language often plays a role in her painted and drawn imagery. Currently, she is transforming her novel, The Ten Thousand Loves into a suite of poems-as-paintings.
Many of her short stories and poems have appeared in literary journals in the United States and Canada, as well as online. For a number of years she wrote for the Chicago Tribune.
You can see more of her work at: http://arlenetribbia.com/wp