VoiceCatcher is sad to learn of the passing of one of our poets, Charlotte Udziela.
Charlotte Udziela had been writing little poems off and on since childhood. She believed good poetry both confirms what we know about ourselves and the world, as well as offers new and startling ways to encounter what we would not otherwise see or experience. After a childhood spent moving all over the country, Charlotte landed post-college in Chicago where she met her husband. They soon moved to the Northwest to live their own adventure and raise their family and had been together in the Portland area for over forty years.
Her poem No Exit was part of our Summer 2016 issue, and she shared her work at the VoiceCatcher-themed Plonk! reading in fall 2016.
She will be missed by the poetry community, and all of us here at VoiceCatcher.
by Charlotte Udziela
Hey, if you’re reading this could be you know my dad used to be this hotshot baseball phenom only he didn’t make it which of course is an existential dilemma: who gets to the Show and who does not, who has the pinpoint throw or the curve that fools, the fastest legs, the velcro glove. Sartre wouldn’t get that. But Camus, who knew how the sun blinds and desert dirt tastes, might have had it in him to ponder the absurdity of sweltering somewhere in southern Indiana, lurching from town to town in a rust bucket bus, washed up but still wearing that easy lopsided smile clutching that lucky bat ‘though his legs were giving out not unlike Sisyphus. Me, I never learned to keep a score card — it is how you capture the half-life of innings and the best innings are not too short, or too long like when the flag out in center field flags in the bottom of the ninth with no men out, the peanuts starting to taste stale, your pencil point breaking. You always wonder if this inning really is the Last Exit or if there is No Exit from the game as you remind Sartre that if you pass the salt shaker without putting it on the table first, you will never get a hit again. Camus would get that, how life drowns in the white-hot day game shimmerings, the sweated out flannels, the scuffed chalk lines of what’s not to be.