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Hey, handsome...

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Below is the poem entitled Hey, handsome... which was written by poet John Heck. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Hey, handsome...

My heart is empty, Jeffrey.
I’m standing here transfixed 
within the threshold 
of a vacant bedroom.
The air is still
but the delicate scent 
of your passing soul 
invades my nostrils. 
The aroma travels deep 
inside the tunnels 
of my abdominal cavity -
lingering like... 
a dew-anointed meadow 
sleeping ‘neath 
a fuchsia sunrise.

Your mattress is scrubbed, 
stripped and sunlit – 
except for two eiderdown pillows.
I envision a perfect outline -
your fragile face
softly carved within 
the creases of these satin cases.
I visually inhale the profile 
of your splendor; 
a modern day Shroud of Turin 
resurrected and resplendent 
through trickled specks 
of semi-dried sweat.

“No more IV’s”…“right…”
“No more bedpans”…“exactly…”
“No more night sweats”…“yes, handsome…”
“Now give me a big hug, Jeffrey…Jeffrey…”

My hands tremble as I 
reach from one photograph to the next.
The images I want to barter 
with Faustus and friends - 
ensuring me a pact 
whereas I can live and breathe 
inside these time honored pixels -
content in lonely frames
hanging upon clinical walls 
in a half-emptied bedroom.

I grabbed a beaded satin pillow
to cushion the fall as
I slowly hyperventilated.
I breathe once more, Jeffrey,
but I’ll gag twice again,
as I remember our newly spoken language -
a private dialect we created last month
reminiscent of the movie 
“The Lost Language of Cranes.”
Those three long weeks before
you suddenly became incoherent 
and inaudible 
and immobilized. 
Remember how we improvised?
Remember, handsome:

(shaking and arms crossed) “OK…you’re cold – I’ll get you a blanket!"
(pointing to your mouth)  “You’re thirsty…water or juice?"
(pointing to your mouth and shaking) “OK…I’ve got it…ice cream…pudding?"
(index fingers pointing upward and swaying) “I know… you wanna listen to music”
(index fingers pointing downward) “Please turn off the TV set”
(middle finger pointing upward) “OK…you want me to adjust your pillows?"
(both middle fingers pointing upward and shaking) “Alright…alright – I know!…If you
hear Celine Dion one more time on the radio you’re gonna kick your bedpan off the side of
the bed!"

(arms folded across your chest)…”Rest handsome, rest…”

Ssshhhh...
It’s OK, Jeffrey...it's OK.
No more IV’s.
No more bedpans.
I have your pictures.
You're not sweating anymore.
I’m not choking...now.
Beautiful pillows…really…
TV’s turned off...
Ate the last of the ice cream
and the pudding...and...

And as I did -
I swallowed every part
of your triumphant, 
blessed soul.

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  1. Date: 2/23/2011 12:27:00 PM
    Congratulations on your win in Debbie Guzzi's contest "Free Verse Seriously". A well deserved win John. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 2/23/2011 12:26:00 PM
    Congratulations on your 1st Place win in Debbie Guzzi's contest "Free Verse Seriously". A well deserved win John. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 2/15/2011 6:13:00 PM
    I see this is an old one. Nevertheless, it is well written and deserved to win the top prize in the contest. Congratulations.

  1. Date: 2/14/2011 4:16:00 PM
    Teary eyed I write this comment to say, John, "Let it be". I am so sorry. Yet, I know that all will be well one day. Congratulations on your Ist Place win in the contest with this wonder! Always, Annalise

  1. Date: 2/13/2011 2:11:00 PM
    Wow! This is quite the masterpiece. No wonder you took First Place. You most definitely bared your soul in this unbelievably magnificent write. - Congratulations on your BIG WIN in Debbie's contest. Best wishes, Kory

  1. Date: 2/12/2011 8:08:00 AM
    Oh, how I do remember this poem...it was one poem of all the many, many I have read over my 3 years on the soup, that was truly unforgettable, ........what a magnificent yet,emotional journey it takes the reader on....who can not feel the lump in the throat while reading this? Once more, my sincere admiration for your talent. :)

  1. Date: 2/12/2011 2:46:00 AM
    eloquently-scribed! applause for the huge win, john! :) huggs, nette

  1. Date: 2/11/2011 8:22:00 PM
    This is a ver descriptive and awesome write John. Many congratulations for this success.

  1. Date: 2/11/2011 7:31:00 PM
    Quite a feature Mr. Heck. Congratulations! RAY

  1. Date: 2/11/2011 5:36:00 PM
    This is a wonderful piece, full of emotions. So realistic and pure. It touched me, thank you very much for sharing. I feel like you shared a part of your soul with this one. Congratulations to you and to the contest host, you deserved the first place. Valeria

  1. Date: 2/11/2011 5:02:00 PM
    Congratulations on your win..Sara

  1. Date: 2/11/2011 4:34:00 PM
    Congrats John on your first place win in Debbie's contest .. enjoy your top spot moment my friend with luv..

  1. Date: 4/14/2010 7:44:00 PM
    Awesome poem, John. The solemnity of this moment and the way you had to carry on afterward touched my heart. Congratulations on your first place win! Love, Carolyn

  1. Date: 4/13/2010 7:13:00 PM
    Very deserving of high regard. Tear-jerker. Beautiful. Congratulations.

  1. Date: 4/13/2010 6:22:00 PM
    Oh my goodness, John, this is so heartrendering, each word, holds your pain, so clearly, and you have captured what it is to watch, someone you love, slip away, and there is not a thing you can do about it, except be there... you prove yourself again, to be an exceptional writer, so congratulations on a well deserved First Place win, in Laura's contest.. love Constance

  1. Date: 4/13/2010 3:40:00 PM
    Congrats John on your 1st place win in Laura's contest... a well deserved first place for a most wonderful write ... excellent and thankxxx for sharing and enjoy your victory lap to the winners circle..luv.. "Sweetheart"

  1. Date: 4/13/2010 12:27:00 PM
    John, I have NEVER EVER forgotten this amazing poem since first seeing it here many months ago. I printed it out then, and tucked it away to keep....it is one of the most moving poems I've read anywhere.....anywhere. So well deserved this honor and so much more....

  1. Date: 4/13/2010 12:19:00 PM
    stunning poetry, John, congrats....jimbo (with tears in my eyes)

  1. Date: 4/13/2010 12:13:00 PM
    Hi John~ A big CONGRATULATIONS on your first place win in my contest! Your poem truly had me in tears. You are a profound masterful writer and I enjoy reading the wonderful poetry you write! Please call or e-mail me your address I will order your ribbon this week! Love Laura :)

  1. Date: 1/31/2010 11:07:00 AM
    Still on of the most touching. Congrats John on a very well deserved feature. Vince

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