By Calvin Forbes
The slice I ate I want it back
Those crumbs I swept up
I’d like my share again
I can still taste it like it was
The memory by itself is delicious
Each bite was a small miracle
Both nourishing and sweet
I wish I had saved just a little bit
I know it wasn’t a literal cake
It’s the thought that counts
Like a gift that’s not store-bought
Making it even more special
Like a dream that makes you
Want to go back to sleep
You can’t have your cake
And eat it too Momma said
I was defiant and hardheaded
And answered yes I can too
The look she gave me said boy
I hope you aren’t a fool all your life
Source: Poetry (July 2011)
Calvin Forbes teaches writing, literature, and jazz history at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.”
More By This Poet
The Card Players
A fourth was needed so one of the three
Invited a friend and I came along as a spare
In case a chair was empty since I could fill
In as easily as I could shout out a rhyme.
As the jive flowed like...
The Other Side of This World
Put my glad rags in a cardboard box—
This old jiggerboo never grew mature.
Is everthing in its place except me?
Don’t be surprised; I called all day
And the only person I could reach was
The operator; and it’s a sorry day when
More Poems about Relationships
Back Up Quick They’re Hippies
That was the year we drove
into the commune in Cornwall.
“Jesus Jim,” mam said,
“back up quick they’re hippies.”
Through the car window,
tents, row after row, flaps open,
long-haired men and women
curled around each other like babies
and the babies themselves
wandered naked across the grass.
In the warmth of night I put feet to my plan: waited
for my brothers to sleep. They’d spent the day
sharpening their hooks, repairing the great net,
filling gourds with fresh water. They’d bundled
taro wrapped in leaves sitting below the cross seats.