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Poetically Yours - Ep. 71 - A teenage love

James Morehead holding his book "canvas"
Provided by James Morehead
James Morehead holding his book "canvas"

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets, but this week we’ve extended our reach. We’re featuring the James Morehead, the poet laureate of Dublin, California.

Morehead is the author of canvas: poems, his debut poetry collection and the host of The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast.

James' poem "tethered" was transformed into an award-winning, hand-drawn short film. His poem "gallery" was set to music for baritone and piano. His poems have appeared in Wingless Dreamer, Prometheus Dreaming and Prompt Press.

“These are poems to be savored, re-read, kept handy for those times when only poetry will do,” said W. J. T. Mitchell, senior editor of Critical Inquiry and Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor, English and Art History at the University of Chicago.

Today he relives a moment that most people can relate to in his poem “crush.”

teen week at foxwood inn

i'm fifteen scrawny bookwormed and shy

she arrives so tall her rich brown curls waving

a smile dazzling and confident

the crush envelopes me

its weight taking my breath away

as she turns the corner there is no time to say hi

and i fear being caught staring too long

each morning after breakfast

i peek over my paperback

waiting for her to pass by and if her eyes catch mine

i shrink and blush my heart crushed and racing

later by the dock

the jocks show off their running shirtless headlong dives

while i sit silently on a fading muskoka chair

tucking my book under a towel avoiding splashes

when the last night comes her name a mystery still

with stairway to heaven's sorrowful intro begun

i crush fear walking towards her

extending my hand offering a dance

she looks me in the eye

and quietly nods no

and takes the dance floor with one of the diving boys

i walk into darkness across dew-damp grass

down to the end of the dock

sitting legs swinging toes caressing the still cool lake

robert plant echoing in the distance

between chords i hear footsteps

she's there her hand on my shoulder

a tear sliding down my cheek

"i like you james but just as a friend"

sitting down beside me as the song ends

i feel the crush as my imagined first kiss

drifts away with the ripples beneath my feet

but in time smile eyes closed and dry

replaying her saying my name

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.