Your Neighbor

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That woman who walks around
in clothes that look like yesterday’s,
with hair that might not have been washed
today, that woman who mumbles strange
rhythms too low to hear, who stops
to examine the small and the dead,
all things invisible from the window,
that woman sitting on the stoop scratching
in the notebook she carries everywhere,
that woman you see from time to time
but never the same time, that woman
isn’t crazy. She hears voices for sure,
but she isn’t crazy. She’s me.

 

I’m sure hoping some of you can relate to at least some of this?

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(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved

18 replies
  1. Bridget Magee says:

    Oh yes, I’ve been “that woman”. Especially, “that woman sitting on the stoop scratching
    in the notebook she carries everywhere,” I like that this poem make one think about themselves and the people they see (their neighbors) in a new light. Thanks for sharing, Liz! =)

  2. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    I was in the middle of your poem and thinking exactly that… she’s describing me!!! Then, of course, I thought, “geez, I wonder if I really do come across as schizophrenic.” Please don’t answer that. Wonderful poem, Liz!

  3. Keri Collins Lewis says:

    A fun twist there at the end! When I read this was inspired by getting locked out of your house and read the first few lines I thought, “Uh-oh, the only person around to help her was the Neighborhood Crazy Lady.” HA. We are the crazy ladies!

  4. Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe) says:

    HAHA! I love the hopeful question mark on your “can someone relate to this” sentence. YES, you are not alone! Especially with the yesterday’s clothes and unwashed hair. Showering and dressing is SUCH a waste of time, isn’t it?

    This is such a fun poem, Liz. I thought it was going to be about you, but all the different descriptions led me to believe it was about all the neighborhood ladies – so that surprise at the end was nice. 🙂

  5. Heidi says:

    Never mind “crazy like a fox;” we should say “crazy like a poet.” Recently on our neighborhood listserv there was a long series of posts about sightings of a certain woman who might have been connected to some break-ins. People were trying to decide what makes a person looks suspicious, and “standing on the sidewalk writing in a notebook” was suggested as a clue. Then another neighbor wrote in to say that SHE walks the neighborhood writing in a notebook because she’s a poet–would folks call the police on her???
    No, you’re not the only one, Liz!

    • lsteinglass says:

      I assumed the neighbors might think I was nuts, but it never occurred to me that they might take me for a thief!

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