Monday, December 26, 2016

Charles Rammelkamp


Francisco's response to Barnardo
at the start of Hamlet just as basic:
"No, who are you? Stop and identify yourself."

"I don't know who I am," Luanne confided to me
at the beery reunion of high school classmates.

But I sure had an idea:
the gorgeous blond girl
who drove around Potawatomi Rapids
in a red Mustang convertible
like the moll in a gangster film.

Also recently married to Jim Hoagland,
both of them two years older than I,
home for Christmas
from my freshman year at college;
Jim a salesman at a local car dealership.

I didn't know what to say.
Was this a plea for help,
a confession about her marriage,
some form of flirting?

Twenty years later, divorced from Jim,
Luanne was in the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas,
serving a ten-year sentence for armed robbery.
She'd always been a glamorous femme fatale.
That's who she was; that's where she is.

Charles reads "Who's There?":

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Charles confesses: "All Hamletizing about 'identity' aside, as astounding as some of their fates might be, how many of the people we knew in high school really surprised us, the way they turned out? How I lusted for 'Luanne,' blasé behind the wheel of her red convertible. I knew she was way out of my league, not just because she was older and had her own car, but she had 'danger' written all over her."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP edits The Potomac, an online literary journal, and is the Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, Maryland, where he lives. His latest book is a poetry collection called Mata Hari: Eye of the Day, published by Apprentice House (Loyola University).

1 comment:

Roddy 1984 said...

This poem both delivers satisfaction and makes me want more. Then its last line addresses that very ambivalence. Very tasty.