Dearest Betty Carter

by Bruce Lader

Dearest Betty Carter

Sweet mistress of eureka,
there’s only one of you
swinging colors instantly recognized,
leading me through far-out mazes
of harmonies I could listen to
marooned on a remote island forever.

In the car I pray for traffic delays as you
nuzzle my ears, caress me
with juicy morsels of elusive melodies
gliding like discoveries of birds.

You change the monotonous sentence of work
into honeymoons around unknown planets.
So many nights I have wakened
yearning for your voice,
spider-stepped to the study
where we rendezvous in your galaxy of music.

My wife doesn’t dig the idea
of ménage à trois. She observes me
swaying and gyrating out of control
like an infatuated teenager
when you steal my breath away
without leaving a clue how you bridge tunes
to the furthest horizons, and mold them
with deceptive curves of delight.

I can’t keep our involvement hush-hush
any longer. She’ll read this poem and get
the wrong picture about the nebulous voyages
you navigate with limitless range
of camouflage, the abundant sounds
seducing me astray.

Falling Star Magazine (Spring 2009)

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Bruce Lader is the former director of Bridges Tutoring, an organization educating multicultural students. Currently he brings writers' groups together in the Raleigh area, gives readings in the NC Triad and appears widely on YouTube, local TV, radio, podcasts and international magazine sites. Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, New York Quarterly, and many other literary resources archive his work. Lader’s poetry is characterized by a humanistic world vision, psychological insight, ironic humor, and speculative imagination. His themes are the need for freedom, love, and social justice. Describing Landscapes of Longing, Kathryn Stripling Byer commented: “…a powerful, unsparing, and yet tender book about the realities of self and culture that have assailed us since the beginning of human time.” Kelly Cherry wrote of Fugitive Hope: ... " [the book] deepens, broadens, and sweetens, as a pastoral symphony might…. an astonishing journey, beautiful and hopeful.” Discovering Mortality was a finalist for the 2006 Brockman-Campbell Book Award. In addition to winning the 2010 Left Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition, he has received a writer’s residency from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and numerous honoraria.

Last updated September 16, 2011