Poem: Chalk

XMy writing will set your teeth on edge, like chalk on a blackboard.


My writing will set your teeth on edge,
    like chalk on a blackboard,
    because I set you on edge as well
It has to do with knowing the author
    too well,
    with the history we share
    that makes all words your words,
    even if they are mine

For if there’s been failure in us
    it’s come for the most part
    from my side
No, don’t argue, don’t take my part
    and call a share for your own
The husband who is absent, the lover gone,
    the father elsewhere
All of them are me

If someone said writing was for runners,
    they said not half enough
This frail thing I do
    can’t for a moment stand the light
    of over-shoulder-looking,
    of praise, support
    or even understanding
Most not of all, the understanding

And so I let you see it in withheld pieces,
    or a sudden gush,
    but never as it’s done
Shrugging away the parts I know must grind,
    as I have ground
It comes to me easily, this unease,
    these shaped words that are your words and mine,
    left over from pain and joy
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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