Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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DECEMBER 12, 2010 8:36AM

Little Kate's OC: Remembering an Angel: Teddy

Rate: 14 Flag

Not an angel on earth,

but a stealer of pens, eater of others' dinners.

Not able to sing or talk,

but you could give your emotions voice,

treating to grumbles like mumbled dialogue 

someone who held you that you just didn't like.

Not dressed in immaculate white,

but in brown and gray with tiger stripes.

Not well-proportioned:

way too slim,

no matter what we did.

You strolled through the house like a shambling cowboy for twelve years,

no guardian here.

Every day in those dull days,

you made me laugh and gave me something to hold onto.


When the day came that you needed me

I don't know if what I did was right,

if I had to bow down to the inevitable.

An angel would say yes.

But you weren't an angel.


I still think of you with laughter

and with a remorse ever-weighing and wavering

that I never thought there'd be when we were young

and what had happened, hadn't happened.


One day, I found one of your strange, tri-colored hairs

in my first art history book,

stuck in the binding, diagonal from the bust of Nefertiti. 

I held it like a relic

between my fingers.

I placed it in a small plastic bag

that now hangs from my jewlery holder,

surrounded by gold.


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Thanks, Little Kate, for a cathartic Open Call.
Thanks, Alysa, for a cathartic poem! I love that you have rescued this angel from the notion of purity.
Absolutely amazing Alysa!!! (AAA rating!)

I love that you think of him with laughter. Beautiful!

And thank you.
What a charming and delightful tribute you your ill proportioned angel.

"I still think of you with laughter

and with a remorse ever-weighing and wavering."

Loved that and the ending especially. Just loved it!!
Yes laughter is the best medicine.
This is very touching Alysa. I have tears in my eyes after the second reading. I found a whisker on the sofa where he slept, and I did the same as you - with the tricolored hair.
Bad poetry? Not on your life! This was a great poem and I love how she left the strand of hair!
change your tag. it's good.
Is there *any* kind of writing you can't do?
Wow, I had to read it again and again. Thank you for sharing.r
What everyone else has said plus I love you found and cherished the hair, surrounding it with gold. Just beautiful..
let us determine if it was (bad)poetry...the jury is in: not guilty.
the strange hair hanging from nephertiti's bust,
to become a relic, is a bona-fide grade a poetic image.
and previous to that fine ultimate
imaginative snapshot,
a lean, concrete sketch of your shambling cowboyish thief
of love.
Wow. I had goose bumps reading this. Hugs. (rated)
Thank you to everyone who read this, and to those of you who commented, thanks for your kind words. I wrote this on a whim, after reading about Little Kate's Open Call. It's a death I still have a hard time with, for a lot of reasons. This is the first time I've written about it, and I"m so grateful for the experience.

aim - It was hard for me to consider Teddy a complete angel. He wouldn't be the same. I think he is one now, though.

Little Kate - Thanks for your praise, it really means a lot. And thanks again for this OC idea. I hope your lovely poem also brought you solace if you needed it.

fernsy - Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I didn't plan it and it just came out that way, more or less, but that's exactly how I feel about Teddy then and now.

Algis - He definitely made me laugh.

Fusun - I thought of you as I was about to type this, and I didn't want to send you a PM about it because I knew it's a sensitive issue, but I'm glad you read it and I hope it helped you feel a little better in some way. I know what you're going through, and I'm glad you found the whisker, too.

scanner - Thanks so much. I never like my poetry, but I"m glad you did like this.

kate - Thanks, and I'm sorry I made you cry!

Mime - That means a lot. Thank you but I'll never think my poetry is that good. Sincerity's all I've got going for me. That's important, but I'm no e.e. Cummings or Shakespeare.

Boanerges - You're too kind. There's a lot of writing I can't do, especially chick lit, unfortunately, because I really enjoy the genre.

hugs - Thank YOU for reading it, and for reading it multiple times at that. I appreciate it.

Lunchlady - Thank you. It's all true. I just looked at that hair again tonight.

mr. sunshine - I don't deserve such praise, especially from a poet like yourself. The amazing thing is, I didn't make up that image - it really happened like that. The real poet here is God, or whatever higher power you believe in.

S.ophie - Thank you, and thanks for reading.
I figured you didn't make up that image, Alysa.
That is the mark of a true poet: to find
God's messages in the most trivial events
and not immediately go on to the next thought or activity,
but to dwell,
firmly, openly,
in the moment that has been
graced to you.

These kinda damn things happen hundreds, maybe millions
of times a day! A poet is one who sharpens her
sensitivites to be able to acknowledge
at least .015% of them...

Grace is everywhere always, and it is
made of symbolism and synchronicity
with a dash of despair
and a dollop of desire.
Hannah - Thank you.

mr. sunshine (2) - I agree. I just feel bad because no matter what, no matter the images I capture or the things I feel, I'll never be a poet like the poets I admire. I don't consider it my craft, but thank you so much for your kind words and support, you who are the true measure of eloquence and poetry.
Alysa, You did it again. Wow! So playful and sweet. Maybe not Shakespeare, but still very good.
heidibeth - Thanks so much.