Sunday, July 10, 2005

My Poem...but why stop there?

Heaven forbid I could ever take a simple task and complete it in a simple manner. I guess that's just not 'me'. It's not who I am. I wasn't even able to keep within the constraints of the number of items to list. I tried, but I guess it's okay to color outside the lines. I keep coming back to it to re-edit, but hopefully I will at one point call it complete. The concept of this poem (see previous post) has been haunting me. I have been obsessed with digging through the cobwebs of my memory for the "perfect", most-fitting words. In actuality, one could write several of these. My "assignment" regarded revealing childhood elements within my family history that formed my character. So my first poem here is one attempt to describe family. Like I said, I could write several. But I won't. I did, however, choose to write an additional poem about my friends. It was not my lot in life to have a close family, and I don't have a husband or children of my own...so often times, my friends have been given a more important role than perhaps would have been the case were the circumstances different. I have been very fortunate throughout the years, and have had many long-term and rewarding friendships. I thought about writing about childhood friends. I may do that. But right now I just wrote about my three closest friends--friendships that are still growing after more than 20 years. First the one about family:

Where I am From
I am from a circle of worms beneath the metal watering can, saltine soup for my Barbies, an Easy-Bake Oven, and too much Coca-Cola.
I am from tobacco-stained walls, a clothesline gymnasium, a wishing-well, and a fish pond. From Pixie-Stix eaten out of canisters in the attic, shoe-skating around the block, and wearing saddle shoes while I slept.
I am from "pickle weed", fuchsia bulbs that would pop under the pressure of tiny fingers, and calla lilies growing wild by the stream.
I am from disappointments veiled in alcohol, but always with kindness and the best of intentions. From one grandma named Novella, from the Barnums, from Charles Preston and Mary Jayne.
From drunk men singing "When Irish Eyes were smiling," and too many words unspoken.
From "do unto others as you would have others do unto you", and "spiders are good".
I am from the Presbyterian church that looks like a little Victorian house, where my brothers were ushers, but I only visited wearing Easter dresses or adult-sized shoes.
I'm from docked Navy ships, and mountains of periwinkles on the beach.
From chocolate pudding in a pie shell, beaters to lick, licorice in the candy drawer, and the pop!pop!pop! of percolating coffee.
From a Gramps who lived to tell about Pearl Harbor, but who was forever changed by it, and a Nanny whose flowers stretched so high that she sat on a ladder to be photographed beside their blooms.
I am from the image that was stolen from my car, of my dad standing beside a bi-plane, from cardboard boxes filled with damp snapshots that stuck together and were thrown away, and diary pages in a shed that rats chewed to scraps of nothing.

Where My Friends and I are From
We are from sequined gowns, tiaras, and long skinny Virginia Slims in menthol flavor.
We are from satin bridesmaid dresses, waiting rooms outside delivery, and the upside-down cage of the Zipper.
We are from white tulips, red and green jewel tones, and elephant skin. We are from a sand dollar, a sewing needle, sweet potato pie, and a chunk of dark chocolate.
We are from chicken bones hung on a Christmas tree and romantic tears. From BQ's, and pig snouts, and a high-pitched "YOU!".
From hearts and souls wide open, bathed in twinkly lights, from magical moments and the need to share time.
From "friends are like precious metals: keep the golden ones and leave the silver and bronze"; we are truly golden.
We are from the Rock and the Light or something more obscure, but always wrapped in kindness and laughter.
We're from Coyote Nights and slippers shuffling through the alley, bowls of M&M's, Tasty Chips, foil-wrapped cheese devoured on a train, and cafe mochas spiced with conversation.
From Wonder Woman in a black belt, and a broadcaster of news, a lover of words, and one with whom age makes more beautiful.
We are from photo montages on video tape with a backdrop of songs, and strips of paper that are moments frozen in time of giggling girls stuffed in a Fair booth, making faces

5 Comments:

Blogger Sarah Louise said...

I am from a Dell Trinitron monitor, visiting blog poems...I love the line about precious metals in your "friends" poem.

9:31 AM  
Blogger kath red said...

hey there. i did this poem too. it was really hard and i had to struggle to come up with the memories. i like your version, it gives a unique insight into a person.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Suse said...

Just found your poems ... beautiful!!!
:)

9:37 PM  
Blogger tender arts said...

Barb, your poems are beautiful.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Ah, Suse...so glad you found them. I would have emailed you, but you don't have a link on your site. I love your blog though--I read it all the time.

10:02 PM  

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