Painstaking, that was the end of the decade pronounced emphatically, ‘The Nineteen Seventies.’ I carried my portable Corona typewriter, room to room, trying to get away from the complaints of family and friends who refused to leave me alone. Clickety-clack was my train of thought, my boxcar taking me away to a place that made me swoon with its swell of secrets. The poetry of what I wanted in the days of being held hostage wasn’t intentionally obscure. I wasn’t earning a living; yet I was under the thumb of a life that chose me.
The ritual for a life outside of one’s life was poetry. My poems of slender means that ventured beyond their onion skins were folded into three and stuffed into a #10 envelope with another envelope’s return postage. This was what I lived for, and my mailman knew it. Dominic left the mail in our built-in milk box. Every morning at 10 minutes after 10, he, followed by Sugar, our backyard neighbor’s chubby, red bandana lab who hadn’t had her fill of his Milk-Bone Treats, left our clutch of mail. I would hear the milk box door squeak open and slam shut, and hurry to retrieve it. How quickly I could flip through the business of letters to find what I was waiting for.
Waiting became a measure, not of time but success. I wanted someone I didn’t know to say, yes. Dominic knew this. He felt the juggling of yes and no was the weight of the envelope in his hand. When the weight was the ounce returned, he would leave me a roll of five-flavor Life Savers. How did he know that this gesture would buoy me in the years of energy crisis?
Yesterday, while searching for a poem, I found a clip binder full of ‘The Nineteen Seventies’ poems. I looked through them, reading the chiseled words stamped into yellowing onion skin and recalled my life three decades ago, so full of time and desire—I’m still waiting for that certain someone to say, yes.
M. J. Iuppa lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals: Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Review, Writers Rising Up’s 2015 Digging to the Roots Poetry Anthology Calendar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific, Snow Jewel, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press’s Where I Live anthology, Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries (Ireland), The Lake (UK), Punchnel’s; forthcoming in Camroc Press Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Review, Clementine Poetry Journal, Postcard Poems and Prose, among others. She is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on art, writing and sustainability at http://mjiuppa.blogspot.com.