Friday, June 3, 2016

Prose poetry for when life doesn't fit inside the lines

I haven't written very much poetry in a very long time. But this career thing, these interactions with families, with need beyond my ability to heal, with figuring out the faces of a slew of new-to-me people (sarcastic? happy? angry?), with wanting perfection, and the words beginning to roil as I am looking in another direction, and suddenly the water, the words, are hissing across my mindscape until I have to take the lid off, write them down in order to save the vessel before it boils dry, scorched beyond usefulness.



I did some things today.

And then I read this piece on young mothering and community from Part-time Working Mummy, remembering young motherhood, sitting at a backyard BBQ, belly huge in the sweltering Chicago summer, my new husband chatting joyfully and drinking cold beer. I left early. Of course.

And then I wrote this, because community needs storytelling:

In sing-song, six feet of my son calls to me in a raspy bass, five minutes, the same I love you, but we need to get this shit moving voice I've used with him for fifteen years. And I need it, this warning, my mind a circling drain of last night's ER shift: ceaseless crying of a baby's brain on fire with blood. A sing-song five minutes to bring me back, to think I might be failing at adulthood, but I think he might be winning at adulthood, which might mean I'm winning at parenting, which I'm pretty certain means we're all winning on at least one level. And then he drives us, seven minutes late, he notes, across town to the house of friends. Where he and his fellow teens swell my heart with a kick-ass rendition of Jimi Hendrix, another kind of fire, while I dig up ferns from the yard below. The house where, tomorrow, my friend's first baby, his own brain sparked nineteen years ago with the fire of a too-soon entrance into the world, will be celebrated as he enters adulthood, brain now on fire with engineering and college and so much good. The ferns move from her yard to mine, to pretty up the bare dirt where my last baby played trains, the selling of the house where I heard his heart stop. My man is across the state, creating art sparks in a Detroit more alive than you know, and the teen sparks life out of a fire-red bass, and my eyes spark intermittently with sun-fire and tears, because there are baby robins in the lilac bush, their eyes still swollen shut, and there are babies not too far away whose eyes will never open again, and it is so fucking fragile, all of it, and so exhausting, and so much more beautiful than anything I could've imagined when I was twenty-three, smoking what would become my last cigarette, as I waited, terrified, for the spark of fire, red bled of its color, pink lines across the white horizon of life.



2 comments:

Amy said...

First sentence -- so good, in that I am right there, hearing it, knowing how we pass these things on to each other. Love all of it. Thank you.

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