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Poetry posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Old Coats: Explorations in the Cedar Closet - 1. Old Coats

I stand, the doors open, examining some of the curiosities I wear.

I packed it

for Carolina downpours,

to warm chilly California evenings,

and for midsummer strolls down Stockholm’s twilit streets;

it always returned a bit more frayed,

to rest before its next

adventure.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

In the woods

its wool plaid keeps me warm,

yet camouflages me in the fall

against the maple saplings and deer-browsed hemlocks,

and in its pockets are coins, pencils

matches and evidence

of my dad.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

The clouds break

and the bright haloed moon

reflects off my maroon windbreaker,

its white trim flashing like the tails of startled deer

which emerge like ghosts from the thicket

to feed in the fields and

disappear.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

I can’t count

how many funerals

that hand-me-down raincoat has witnessed,

but untold tears have streaked and dyed it grey with grief

and filled tattered pockets with tissues

more eloquent than mere

epitaphs.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

Old leather,

creased, yet warm and supple,

heard ten thousand engines grind and cough,

listened to them wake and learn to sing in chorus,

pledging to break free of this green earth

and soar unfettered skies

until death.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

The hood leaks

where it meets the collar

and long use cracked the rubberized shell

Guaranteed to keep out the worst possible rainstorm;

no playing field mud mars its deep green,

but it knew how to play

in its day.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

I received

a new rainproof jacket

amongst the presents under the tree

as a replacement for my spattered and torn coat

which, though shabby, still remains alive

with bright orange autumn

memories.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

He lingers

inside my red parka

trapped in its folds by an embrace

sincere and heartfelt even though we had to rush;

I let it hang all spring and summer,

but December still smelled

of kisses.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

Bought third hand

at the AmVets thrift store,

tailored in heavyweight Harris Tweed,

it reigns resplendent over the winter wardrobe

with cut and color and perfect fit

unmatched by mail-order

impostors.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

He gave me

that long waxed cotton coat

because he could not take it with him

into his new place and employment adventure;

he loved its feel and warmth in winter,

but it was too much

to carry.



Thank you for reading these. Any comment, thought or passing remark you may want to leave will be of value.
Copyright © 2023 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
  • Love 17
Poetry posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Chapter Comments



What an interesting and beautiful look at a collection of old coats you've had, or possibly still have.  It reminded me of two jackets that belonged to my grandfather that I took after his death.  I still have them 30 years later, and now I'm looking at them in an entirely new light.  Thank you for sharing, Parker.  

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On 4/14/2023 at 1:01 AM, Midnightwolfpup said:

I love the concept of memories brought out by simple yet complex items such as for you, your coats. Your poems are an amazing combination of thought and story that mends together like a zipper on your newest coat! ❤️ 

That’s a lovely metaphor, and one which made me smile. You’re most kind in your words, and I’m glad you enjoyed these. 

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On 4/14/2023 at 2:12 AM, Doha said:

The association of memories with personal items is real for most of us. I'm sitting on the sofa in my lounge and I can see so many memories. They are fuel for the journey. 

You’re so right that our memories can be wrapped up in the items to which they are connected. They may make those recollections more real, more present in some way. I like that you say they are fuel for our journey. Thanks again for reading these. 

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On 4/14/2023 at 7:44 AM, raven1 said:

It amazed me to see how you took a simple article of clothing and transformed it into a world of memories and emotions.  Very inspired poems from such a common and overlooked item we all have owned.  Brilliant Parker!

Thanks for such kind words in response to this set of skyscrapers. I can’t help being reconnected with people and events through these items. Perhaps that’s why I’m a pack rat. Thanks again. 

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On 4/22/2023 at 12:27 PM, Mrsgnomie said:

This story was incredible. It's amazing how you take a simple item and turn it into something so incredible! By far my favorite so far. 

Thank you very much for your response to this group of skyscrapers. You’re most kind. I’m glad you found this to be an enjoyable set of poems. 

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5 hours ago, Bill W said:

What an interesting and beautiful look at a collection of old coats you've had, or possibly still have.  It reminded me of two jackets that belonged to my grandfather that I took after his death.  I still have them 30 years later, and now I'm looking at them in an entirely new light.  Thank you for sharing, Parker.  

I have almost all of them still; they have proven so hard to part with. There is a wealth of memories, great and small, connected to them, and still tying me to another time and day. It makes me smile to know you experience something like this too, and that these poems appear to make your experiences more real, too. 

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On 4/14/2023 at 7:49 PM, Headstall said:

Oh my goodness, Parker. Wool plaid brought big tears as it unfolded, and just when I had a grip, red parka brought more waterworks. Everyone of these is a gem... old leather could have been the air force jacket my stepfather cherished... given to him by his best friend's mother after his passing (It was too small for him, but he wouldn't let me have it... pissed me off, but really, I understood) ... the funeral raincoat with the crumpled tissues... that combination so expressive, so gut wrenching... images of white tailed deer and the bright orange of autumn... remarkable.

I tried the skyscraper form for the first time recently, but you are its master without a doubt. I have old coats I can't seem to let go of. I say to myself they all still fit me, but maybe it is the memories I hold onto. I even have a tweed I bought at a thrift store when me and a friend were shopping for something to wear to a 'tea' party. I feel smart, like a professor in it. Haven't worn it years, but still it hangs there. :) 

Each one spoke to me, and no offense to any other poet, but this has to be my favorite collection. I find it so easy to connect to your poetry. Cheers. 

I’m delighted by the news that mine is not the only closet filled with memories. Your response to this set is very kind and most generous, and it made me grin from ear to ear.  I’m glad each of these moved your spirit and heart. Thank you for such a fulsome and lovely review. 

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  • Site Administrator

I love the memories interwoven into each coat.  I also have a cedar closet full of old coats. Somehow I can't bring myself to part with them whenever I bring donate clothing.  I enjoyed these very much.  

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