The Poetry of Molly Lynn Watt

Bio: Molly Lynn Watt is the author of Shadow People, On the Wings of Song, (manuscript) set in Civil Rights Movement, Consider This, commissioned for “Across the Ages” dance concert May 2011 which deals with incest, and Civil Rights Update, paired with Dr. King’s Dream speech, required in Dallas Schools. She co-created and performs with Dan Lynn Watt, George & Ruth: Songs & Letters of the Spanish Civil War, curates The Fireside Readings, and edited Bagelbard Anthology volumes 1-4. Molly is the poetry editor for HILR Review and teaches writing poetry at HILR. She plays in a uke band.

ON CAMBRIDGE COMMON

Students hustle by but do not see him
alone on the park bench taking a smoke
Years ago he was a student on his way to somewhere
Now he spends his days on the Common
his silver hair pulled out of the way in a pony-tail
always the same frayed jeans and shirt
gray sneakers tied with string
A canvas case patched with duct tape sits beside him
he lifts out a battered 12-string guitar
its bridge stressed out from years of percussive picking—
glances at the faint autographs on its leather back strap
Josh White, Guy Carawan, Pete Seeger, Tony Saletan—
places his still-burning cigarette between two strings
adjusts the tuning pegs, strums to find a key
hums as his feet tap out the beat and sings
This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through…

His lips curl into a smile around the sounds
as he sings to a galaxy of ghosts
He is not worrying about sifting through trash cans
for discarded chips, half-eaten sandwiches
nor finding a place to sleep on a bench, behind a bush
or with some young woman happening his way
willing to share her dorm bed for a night of song
Tomorrow he will drift off to another bench
shrouded in the proud tradition of protest
to rage against hard times, lost causes, corrupt bosses
mine disasters, union strikes, unjust wars, parted lovers
not thinking of the wife and babies he left behind
He pauses for a nip from his monogrammed flask
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore…

TUNING

In school I waited for the bell to ring
dashed home for Arthur Godfrey on TV
sponsored by Bare-Ass-Prin and Lipton Tea
I’d strum my uke and sway my hips and sing

exploring how to pout a sultry twang
clumsy fingers strummed chords in C and G
Dad asked Why do you always sing off key!
I lost my zing and wouldn’t play a thing

years passed without musical expression
too busy teaching lessons to school kids
—a workaholic to my profession—
when my husband —like some aging cupid—
brought home a ukulele to freshen
up our zest crooning torch songs off the grid

Molly Lynn Watt, a Sonnet

RED LINE

hurry hurry hurry
two stories down the escalator
wait wait wait
the old man calls
Spare Change, get your Spare Change

the outbound is running 1-2-3 in a row
I check my watch, I’m inbound
at least that’s where I want to go

the banjo lets fly a Celtic jig
I toss a quarter in the fiddle case
check my watch
stare down the track
and wait

eeeeeerrrrrrrrkkkkkk crick
the doors spring back
one seat
I press by others to snag it
a pool of yellow on it

I stand

a woman holds an apple core
a man replaces double-A batteries
drops one
he says oh shit
a pregnant woman with a baby in a snuggly
no one offers her a seat

everyone has somewhere to go
everyone has something to do

the T emerges at the Charles/MGH
the rain ceased
no one looks
a rainbow arches over
sailors setting out

I could get my G.E.D.
have a three-week vacation in a hospital
earn a fifteen hundred dollar stipend
be counseled about my unwanted pregnancy
join Hope Fellowship in worship
be surprised by Michelob light
get tested for HIV
many ways to mend my life

everyone is occupied
studying feet
listening to an ipod
diddling with a cell phone
reading
heels click across the floor
a man taps his walking stick
people bump up against each other
against the Do Not Lean on this Door sign
ding ding ding
grrrrrrrrrrrrr grrrrrrrrrr grrrrrrrrr

seven cups of Dunkin’ Donuts
nine cups of Starbucks
eight Evian water bottles
everyone’s hydrating
no one’s relating

Porter
Harvard
Central
Kendall
Charles/MGH
Park
Downtown Crossing
station mantra to the rhythms of the T
takes me to a place I need to be

Related posts

Top