Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Layers (by Heather of the EO)



I've been following Heather on the twitter for quite some time now. I'm pretty sure I first ran across her in the comments section of Stuff Christians Like. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally get over to read her blog, The Extraordinary Ordinary, but it is, in a word - extraordinary.

As writers go, she's the real deal. Check this out:

***

Layers

He stands at the counter next to my table,
he's ordering
and telling the people around him
that he hasn't been here since it was Richardsons.
No one seems to know what he means.
Including me.
Time marches on.
So do I.

But he takes a call amidst the backdrop of coffeehouse noise,
shouts to the caller
the funeral arrangements, thanking for condolences.
There will be a private burial, he chokes.
And my heart hurts.
The plates are clanking, the aromas strong.
He's thinking of another time and another place,
a person he lost from back when this was Richardsons.

A young couple with a fuss about where to sit,
a sneer,
a silent scold.
Then they sit and they eat
with no words, just resistance.

They weren't here when this was Richardsons.

The mail carrier stops for his short break
checks email, sips hot cocoa
and chats with regulars.
He keeps his beard always the same.

Her gruff voice interrupts my thoughts,
and a familiar face with smoky breath
smiles down at me.
She hands me my sandwich with a
"There ya go, honey."

The machines whir, the employees flit,
The lady with the yellow and black hat
laughs at how she matches the tablecloths.

A boy and his mom sit.
Stack of library books.
She reads aloud as he carefully tries not to burn his tongue
and gazes out the window.
She loves him like I love mine.

An old friend stops and they chat,
in that careful way of
insecurity.

The tables are so close together
people get pinned in corners.
I'm hit in the head with a jacket sleeve,
no apology needed,

It's small in here.

Tables screech across solid floor,
struggling to make more room.
Beans are poured from their spout
grinding loudly.
The aroma fills the air,
a thick old friend.
Like Richardsons.

She finished her meal
even the crumbs
and she picks up her book
and she hides her nose.

Anne Lamott tells stories and they teach me...
I read, "It's scary when the self divides into one being who will be more noticed and admired, and another, worried person who gapes out at the world from inside."

All the moving, talking, eating, laughing, scolding,
carried on by people
who are two.

These are my Saturdays, a chance to sit with my words,
a few hours
in the coffee buzz heart beats of the people around me.

And I learn new things about me and about people,
in the place that used to be Richardsons.

***

To read more from Heather, visit her at The Extraordinary Ordinary and follow her on the twitter at @HeatheroftheEO

20 comments:

The Things We Carried said...

These are my Saturdays, a chance to sit with my words,
a few hours
in the coffee buzz heart beats of the people around me.

Loved these lines.

Melissa from the Blue House said...

Wow... love it. I'll have to check out her blog!

Billy Coffey said...

So, so good. I'm wondering at what point my first Richardsons will come, when I'll start looking backward more than forward.

Katdish is right. You're the real deal.

Helen said...

Very moving, especially the man mourning a loss.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Phew, Heather. Wonderful.

Heather IS the real deal. Everything she writes stirs something for me -- even if it's just laughter.

Jami said...

All that extraordinary ordinariness there all the time, if we look. Just lovely. Thanks, Heather.

Tooj said...

I love Heather. I remember this post. :)

Lee of MWOB said...

Oh boy do we both love that Heather. I remember this post of hers/yours Heather and I do love it. It does seem effortless. It's obvious in the words....

What a beautiful picture you painted of the place that used to be Richardson's. Let's go there when I come to visit someday okay? :-)

L.T. Elliot said...

I LOVE THIS POEM! It's one of my very favorites that Heather has written. She also wrote another fabulous one called Seeing it Through . I love it!

sherri said...

Beautiful writing.

Lorena said...

Love your blog!... I love chickens and have a bunch so I should borrow your sign. haha =)

Corinne said...

I adore this post. So simple, but so complex.

jasonS said...

This is so great. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks Heather.

Although as a father of 3 youngins, I have to say my first thought at seeing the title was "Ogres have layers." :)

Boy Crazy said...

I only found Heather recently and I luuurve her. Also love Anne Lamott and think she should be recommended reading for all Christians who enjoy writing.

I'm also glad she steered me over to your blog. You're very funny. :)

Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) said...

Yes, I 've read that one of Heather's before...it's a classic :) Nice to meet you. I'm following!

blueviolet said...

When you said Heather is the real deal, you said what I feel every time I read her posts. This is just a brilliant piece of writing that you've posted here today.

She has a gift beyond what I normally read, and I hope that her extraordinary words touch others as much as they always touch me.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Nice ... a good reminder to live in the moment, so I have 'Richardsons' that means enough to me to want to remember them.

~*Michelle*~ said...

Thanks for sharing Heather with us...this was awesome!

Pam at beyondjustmom said...

Love Heather's words, always. That's all.

charrette said...

Yes, I remember this fabulous post. Thanks for sharing it again. There is so something about Heather that is so wonderful, honest, heartfelt, and REAL. I wish I had her gift.