The whole poem should be read and posted here but this excerpt below is important for me as an interesting way to end a poem. The poem itself takes the reader to a scene waiting at the schoolbus stop, and the narrator’s admiration of a girl “soaked / in schoolday morning light” but this is not the voice of a boy, this is the voice of a man looking back to moments in childhood, preserving them in the resin that is word. It starts as a poem of meditation on a crush, a childhood memory to which the reader is transported. Somehow, Seibles takes you from a full and knowing look between best friends to some unfolding decades of the twentieth century to an astute attempt at conceptualizing youth: inexperienced experience. A moment when it is raw.
In colloquial Arabic, we use the word “anteem” to describe a certain sort of best friends. This is likely yet another interloping French term that we’ve adopted, a transliteration of the French “intime” which translates to close or intimate friend. The best friendship Jepps discusses here feels like one of as7ab anteem.
Excerpt from Delores Jepps by Tim Seibles, originally published in Fast Animal (Etruscan Press).
I don’t think I’ve ever understood
how lonely I am, but I was
closer to it at fifteen because
I didn’t know anything: my heart
so near the surface of my skin
I could have moved it with my hand.
P.S. found this via an article showcasing the favorite poems of young poets of color. this was fatima asghar’s choice. her work is dope too and she’s also one who identifies herself as being “in-between.” i read this somewhere. i also read a dope poem by her that specifically uses the word orange but i can’t find it right now. will post as i rediscover.