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Poetry: Ode to Robert Zimmerman

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Dance Party for One

Dance Party for One - Yelena Bryksenkova

i store my memories in a vault-like freezer
where they’ll never thaw
they’re all of me
yet, somehow
you fit in like i’m the glove
and you’re the skin sheltering me
covering me
for every story that you tell 
i can laugh 
i know them well
i am each one
while you perform i speculate
thoroughly bemused
i wait for more to come . . .
identity so far from reach 
a lonely walk
a crowded street of tumbling towers
painted smiles walking wires
spitting words into their fires
you know, the wanton hours
have different kinds of flowers
i’m sitting here confessing
how you’ve been my obsession
there’s one thing i forgot to do
i hadn’t realized obsessions either die
or turn away to take the best of you
well, i guess i’m just a dreamer
sour milk in a sterling creamer
doing whatever it is
that i’m supposed to 
yet, through my speculation
i arrive at revelation
sometimes amusing
but it keeps your feet on straight
only a dog can be man’s friend
because only a dog is around in the end
don’t ask me how i know
i just relate 

“Ode to Robert Zimmerman” was recited by RozAnne Petito at lunch where she works at the Columbia Café in Sarasota, Florida. She explained that her poem was written for Bob Dylan:

“During many nights in the basement, sitting alone by the record player . . . I was so honored to give his bodyguard a rolled-up scroll with a ribbon tied around it and a red rose to hand to him after the concert. I was told years later that ‘painted smiles walking wires spitting words into their fires’ appeared in a song. Whether or not this was just a rumor I cannot say. It was related to me one night by a musician at a coffee house. Either way, he is my first true love.”

Your Assignment

Your assignment is to follow her act. On a beautiful spring day, share a poem you love with someone you’ve just met.


RozAnne Petito was in high school in Trenton, New Jersey, when she won an award from the American Theatre Association for three original plays performed at the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania. Opting not to go to college, she hitchhiked around America with a typewriter and a set of black-and-white waitress clothes, certain she could get a job anywhere. By 30, she was married and settling into motherhood. She is currently back in the food industry and surrounded by six grandchildren, whom she adores. 


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