Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yelling and Screaming

I used to save much of my yelling and screaming for the page. Over the last year or two (Bradley's third and fourth years on Earth), I've been doing more of it aloud and more often seeking peace (understanding of screaming and yelling's root causes?) on the page. Or is that a misconception? Does anger with a child's irrational stubbornness or with one's own inability to cope with it translate into rage on the page? Or does it really turn the process of writing into a meditative walk by the holy pond with its silent, scheming koi?

I've always thought that distance from raging emotions was a necessity for writing anything other than spoken word-style poetry. But what if the writer/parent lives in a state of constant emotional rage, which roils either above, below, or well below the surface of that pond? What if this rage subsides only when the child's raging hormones lead him/her away from the shadow of the host fish? Or what if at that point it just explodes?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Fourth Parentish Poem (Mother's Day Edition)

Hi, Mom!

            For Denise, on Mother’s Day

Someday you will be on the receiving end
of the athlete’s face-flash, thumbs-up wave
to the force responsible for all he is today.

Now you are the hands that wipe face and tear
chicken into tiny strips on plastic plates
you wash and stack three times each day.

Five years hence you will buy spiral-bounds
and comic book lunch boxes soon lost
or left for dead on schoolyard steps.

Sometime next year you will exhale,
even when you’re not alone or free
to finish a report or nap on a cloud.

At a certain age, you will wonder again
if you really are a mom when the proof
lives elsewhere with another pretty blond.

This is the game you’ve joined late,
looking for yourself laughing in the stands,
seeing you’ve always been on the field yourself.