Seventeen in ’72
by Roberta Feins

I was a lovin’ baby girl,
whose gentle relations
had names they must call me.

So busy being free for what it’s worth,
I have of late lost all my mirth:
no one to take me to the sea.

Cry, baby cry.
Where will you be tomorrow?
Calling out your name,

waiting for reply.
Markets locked up tight
since the day we said goodbye.

Between the sheets,
the blackest spell of sorrow.
I gave my heart too soon,

stars on my window shallow.
Thought I’d see you —
one more time.

Magic loves the hungry.
Red is angry, helpless. Friend,
I’d give you everything I’ve got.

Full and hollow.
The moon was bleeding,
that was all she had to say.

I draw your face
a little fainter every day

NOTE: Phrases and lines from the early 1970s — Melanie Safka, Joni Mitchell, Stephen Stills, Shakespeare (via Hair), John Lennon, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, James Taylor, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Incredible String Band, Rod McKuen, Simon and Garfunkel.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  Me on the coast of England in the summer of 1972.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It’s hard to overestimate the importance of contemporary music on my adolescence. “Seventeen in ’72” is made up of lines from various songs that were like a soundtrack to my life. I copied them, drew pictures around them in multi-colored pens, sang them accompanied by my guitar.About five years ago, I set out to find recordings of as many of those songs as possible. “Seventeen in ’72” is an updated take on a cento. According to Wikipedia:  The cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets. Though poets often borrow lines from other writers and mix them in with their own, a true cento is composed entirely of lines from other sources.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Feins received her MFA in poetry from New England College, where she studied with Judith Hall, DA Powell, Carol Frost, and Alicia Ostriker. Her poems have been published in Five AM, Antioch Review, The Cortland Review, and The Gettysburg Review, among others. Her chapbook Something Like a River, was published by Moon Path Press in 2013, and Herald, which won the 2016 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest, will be published by Autumn House Press in 2017. Roberta edits the e-zine Switched On Gutenberg.