One Shot Wednesday 12/15/10



I bought this shirt because it would look great

crumpled on a stranger’s floor of yellow

faded carpet or maybe hard wood grains—

the color would be perfect pressed against

a cherry stain—all melded together

with other orphan clothes that no one wants

to claim as theirs. But I am afraid to die.

I won’t be like this deserted shirt

surrounded by colored fragments


they won’t be alone when that goodnight comes

creeping along—a grey monster thrown out

with the trash by God on day seventeen

when he was tired of watching us fail

at what should be easy. I am complete,


because I cannot hold anymore pieces.

I throw them all at strangers I know only

in the most intimate of ways, the body—

but I am only drunk with fleeting touch,

no lingering thoughts or words too sincere.

I will die alone, in my wholeness,

while my castoffs stitch together

in a brokeness I will never know.



  1. Wonderful imagery. I love the first part, “the color would be perfect pressed against/a cherry stain”, but then it gets darker and even more intriguing. Nice one shot!

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I love the colors in this poem!

  2. Claudia Said:

    agh – i forgot to breathe while reading this.. what imagery and what deep, deep emotions – think i have to read it again – there’s such a lot in this poem – wow!!

    • Judy Black Said:

      Goodness, glad it isn’t a terribly long poem, don’t want you passing out from not breathing. I’m really glad you liked it!

  3. dustus Said:

    Beautifully sad, far-reaching poem with clear imagery and emotion. Great poem!

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoy it. This poem has been a real struggle so it’s nice to see that you like it and found the imagery clear.

  4. “…die alone in my wholeness.”
    Well done!

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thanks! That last line has been a battle all through revision so it’s nice to see that you like it! 🙂

  5. Eric Said:

    As long as you’re afraid to die, you’re on the right side of living. Very nice One Shot, Judy!

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thanks! That’s what I like to think, being afraid of the end means you’re living right! I’m glad you enjoyed my one shot!

  6. Powerful, provocative poem. I write a lot about death–one of the subjects that we continue to explore and question.

    My one shot:

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thanks so much! I’m off to check out some of your work now! I’m glad you found it a provocative poem, that’s what I always strive for.

  7. Jingle Said:

    amazing wriitng..

  8. Jingle Said:

    Here is the end of the year awards 4 you, enjoy!

    End of The Year Awards 4 Friends of Jingle or Jingle Poetry Community

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    At this magical time of the year, we wish you all the BEST! U Rock!

    Link a poem to our potluck today, Keep your grace updated all the way! xxx


  9. Dick Said:

    I sense a triumph here, a ‘do not go gentle’ defiance of death. This is a powerful, measured facing up to ‘that goodnight’. If my interpretation is correct then this works as a fine universalisation of a personal experience.

    • Judy Black Said:

      I’m glad you got a sense of defiance in the poem, and found it universal. I always worry about poems being too personal for others to relate to so it’s nice to see that, that isn’t the case.

  10. James Said:

    I really liked the first lines. The hint that what is ours today won’t always be. Good read.

  11. hollyheir Said:

    What an impact the line “I am afraid to die” has in the midst of castoff clothing. Agree with Claudia much to consider here and interesting use of a cubist arrangement of images to say it. Well done. Gay @beachanny

    • Judy Black Said:

      Glad you enjoyed the poem! I’m also really happy to see a comment on the arrangement, you’ve got a great eye for details!

  12. fireblossom Said:

    “I bought this shirt because it would look great

    crumpled on a stranger’s floor…”

    The poem took a different direction than I thought it was going to. I read this and thought, ha!, now that’s brass, already envisioning the shirt cast off in favor of better touches.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Haha, this poem took a different direction than where I thought it was going to go as well. It took on a life of its own after some revision. I love it when that happens. 🙂

  13. Steve Isaak Said:

    Solid word choices, flow.

  14. Chris G. Said:

    There is a depth here, though tinged with sadness, a power that shines through with lines such as: “I will die alone, in my wholeness.” Solid. Good wordplay and flow, it all comes on very smoothly, leaving the impact of its emotional quality all the more easily and powerfully undertaken. Good imagery. Good substance as a whole. Well done.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thank you very much! This poem has been a long work in process so I’m glad to see that is working!

  15. Michelle Said:

    Great poem…I like the connection you make between wholeness and loneliness…Can we be too whole to connect with others? Sometimes brokeness leads us to something better 🙂

    Nice illustration of this theme.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Aw, thanks! I’m glad it led you to some interesting questions! 🙂

  16. i am glad you posted this again as i had a chance to discover it…very good descriptive write…all the best pete

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thanks! It was a total mistake to repost it but I’m glad that it has helped more people discover it!

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