Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hard to Write

Ugh, I've been violently ill these past few days (and this post is also being written in between bouts of unpleasantness). Been wrestling with some decisions I've made in the past, and someone I know online was also mentioning how difficult life's choices are. Good fodder for poetry, though I'm not much a fan of confessional mode. This'll likely get chopped up and the pieces used in separate poems, but here's a first shot at it.



He swept twenty-six years aside

in a bout of midlife crisis fueled by crack

but he calls every night between ten and two

in the grip of paranoia just to hear my voice

and to ask if I sent them if I sent these

low men to watch him through the walls

and every no I send hurtling over the line

gets lost in the fury in the shadow of a life

and he tells me he’s coming he’d like to

take a trip he’ll drive so when I buy the gun

he can take it back to New York with cops

none the wiser not knowing a thing

and the images of broken glass and mom

cowering in a corner while Meaghen called the cops

haunted me in the hours it took to choose sides

to place the call that made him call me

lucid enough to know what he meant

when he said aloud You are not my daughter


I stopped taking the pills from the beginning

they didn’t help the pain they dulled me

I didn’t want to be dull when you came to me so seldom

so seldom in the night when I left the candles lit

and you loved me in vanilla light

I thought maybe a miracle maybe a chance

maybe some small sign God is kind

could cure me and bind us and fix things

you kissed my throat and I wrapped my legs

tight around your waist wishing

for a different ending with tiny fingers a different

cure than tears and the great wide emptiness

and I loved you and the thought of you

as a father as mine I thought of us forever in the morning

but I bled and the doctors took my womb and you left

and now the only crying at night now is mine


My mother is never sick but she called

sounding like she had hauled water up a bridge

sick so sick she said she couldn’t move

when she hasn’t missed work in three years

in tears when the doctor pooh-poohed her away

but I knew I knew it was more when she was so weak

and a new doctor found the thyroid wrong

which was more than nothing but less than cancer

and she always sounded so strong I was new

at work I was broke and tired and far away

and a trip to Anaheim breathing down my neck

so I accepted her fine because I needed it

and when she had to swallow the iodine pill

that was radioactive I didn’t ask her if she dreamed

of her mother and father and uncles and aunts

and all of her cousins who died after chemo

and Anaheim called right after mom did

and she gave me the fine a bit stronger like a gift

so I could believe and I could look at myself

without too much hate that was her gift and when

I stepped onto the plane it was not to go home

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