jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just For Fun in Suburbia

PoETry ThurSDaY has done it again! The prompt this week is right where I want to be...in the middle of a big fat lie. Standing on my head telling tales as big as pileated woodpeckers. I'm stalled on my novel. But I so want to write, to tell stories. To make a liar of myself and a believer of someone, anyone. I'll bet this makes sense to some of you! Just call me mom going mad in suburbia! And after this poem, please check out the post directly before this one! Also a big, fat lie! Or is it...

Just For Fun in Suburbia

The stove was not working today, so I ate my grilled cheese sandwich cold.
The horror continued as I discovered I had outgrown my apron.
Reaching both hands up and around my neck, another gruesome discovery,
my pearls remain at the jewelers, still being cleaned.

Persevere! Martha Stewart called from the inside of a porcelain teacup.
And so, I started a small fire using a rock and my son’s pet turtle’s shell,
burned one down in the medium size Teflon pan,
an experiment, to see if I could destroy the nonstick coat.
If I can’t have a fur coat, why should the pots and pans have all the fun?
No sooner had I started this fire, when the grilled cheese began to shake.
The pores of the wheat bread breathed in and out
in and out, and the sandwich began to speak.

Let me introduce myself.
I am your conscience.
If you don’t believe me,
just look out the window.

Here I paused to glance. Meanwhile, flames were shooting,
up and around my yellow kitchen, singeing the curtains,
sending the goldfish low as he could go in his blue pebbly watery grave.
The braided rug under my feet was untangling, strand
by rainbow strand of Moroccan yarn. I spied a tiny islander rise up
from the rubble, salute me and scurry out of the kitchen.

Out the window, sure enough, a mourning dove was speaking.
Believe the cheese, she cooed. Believe the cheese.
He knows of what he speaks.

I rushed to my daughter’s bedroom, pulled out her Dorothy shoes
size six, red glitter, low heel pumps. I sat in a cooling pool
of melted Home Depot tile, Aquascape Teal,
and took a giant bite of my flaming grilled cheddar.

Imagine my surprise when my tongue reared its pink head,
shouted, This is processed American you fool!
Next time go out for lunch!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Here comes the sun, the sun'll come up tomorrow, and any other sun-songs you can think of

Now I know what people mean when they say...*&%# Blogger! I had a great post, and blamm-o, it disappeared! All my clever, witty words, gone forever! Who gets those words anyway? They're like lost socks, I'll bet, and tiny, tiny Lego pieces. They're all together somewhere cavorting. The Legos are wearing socks and standing at podiums made of stacks of really great books, reading poems.

What I said was....The rain is getting to me! In my neighborhood, only the squirrels are happy. The rain hasn't stopped them, or the chickadees for that matter, from gathering, running, climbing, squeaking, chattering, and otherwise living it up!

Somehow, in my last post that disappeared, my last post that the Legos are passing off as their own in some undisclosed coffeehouse full of lost socks and great writing, I segued beautifully into the fact that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! I very bravely disclosed the fact that I have never, never made a Thanksgiving turkey, and that my mother smiled and laughed when I suggested that maybe I should be in charge of the Thanksgiving turkey this year.

I mean, I am 36. I am a mother of two. I run my own art studio. I can do this. Nevermind that, historically, all I've contributed to our Thanksgiving table was a series of different boyfriends and sweet potato casserole. Nevermind that not one of the boyfriends became my husband. Nevermind that my husband won't eat the sweet potato casserole. My cousin used to eat it! But she moved far, far away. (It WASN'T the casserole!).

No matter. I may or may not be cooking the bird. Maybe my mother just wants to eat Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving, not the Monday after, when I remember to buy the bird.

Ah well. Here's a poem. With a Thanksgiving turkey in it. Cooked up by me! Thanks for reading!

Love Song for November Rain

Strange but True Turkey Fact #11: It is not true that a turkey will drown if it looks up when it’s raining.

What the rain needs now is love, sweet love.
It’s the only thing that the skies get too little of.

Even the hardy mums, tough mothers, have had enough.
Their heads are molding, their roots are disintegrating.

Soon their soil, their very foundation, will be nothing
but a muddy puddle. When distant cousin, winter, moves in,

an icy bottom can’t be too far off. Cold as a well-digger’s rump,
my father used to say. That’s the company this rain is keeping.

Rain, my friend, you are angering the cats.
Yesterday, you washed the ticks right off their backs.

Today, good fellow, gray painter, you are weak as tea
strained too soon. You are drizzling, making the mice slippery,

the grass wet underfoot. You’re drowning feline desires.
I have heard an ant could expire in one of your drops.

I have heard you are good for crops, for gardens, for men in long pants.
I have heard you roll, hands up, eyes closed, mouth wide,

in a perfect watery O, right off the backsides of rubber duckies.
But, hey, whose bathtub are you filling? You’ve drowned the turkeys.

How can we pilgrims expect pumpkin pie when the poor oversized
squash are sitting in soggy orange piles of their own seeds?

I tell you, wet-and-dreary, one of these days, someone is going to turn
your nose up so you pour down your own snout.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

LOOK! at my gown!

I am sorry to say, I did not do a true artist date, but I did take a moment during mommy-time to sit back and just listen. What follows is the artist date I had with my kids.

LOOK! at my gown! LOOK! at my gown! More! More! Mommy I had an A+ day. In a galaxy far far away... LOOK! at my gown! Hit the drum! It's fun! LOOK! at my gown!

It may sound like the refrain from some pot-smoking hippie band, but no! This is the melody of my afternoon! My rainy day song! Who says you can't find art in the everyday? Here we have the extremely high-pitched, very unfeminist single line of a book that my daughter loves, followed by the demands of an electronic talking drum, a voice-over from my son, currently hypnotized by LEGO Starwars II, the Cinderella wanna-be, the demonic drum, and good old Cinder again.

I often wonder what the repercussions will be for our children with all the talking inanimate objects surrounding them. When I used to breastfeed, I would sit in terrified awe of the sheer numbers of eyes all around me. They were all plastic and popping out from various and sundry stuffed animals, dolls, and books, but they were eyes nonetheless...all around me!

I have a poem to go along with this, but I have to find it. So I'm going to post this, change a diaper (LOOK! at my diaper!), run downstairs and find it on my other computer, and post again.
Hey, to all my fans...thanks for reading!

Here's the poem. Written a while ago, when I was only mom to one, but still just as relevant as I sit in the basement updating my blog and I hear the older one yelling at the little one for eating his goldfish...What is it all really for? And who are we, really, us moms?

Not the Perfect Mother

There are days when I am sure
the post office clerk is wagging a finger
as he hands me my book of stamps.
You’re not the cardigan wearing woman
you want me to believe.

You’re no ordinary customer, ma’am.
This in sign language from the woman in the smudged smock
as she slices my American cheese.
It is the same all over town,
the gas station, the book store, the pharmacy.

Even the smiling teenager bagging my groceries at the supermarket.
Especially her.
She knows.
As she settles my eggs in a bag all their own
I hear a young voice whisper,
Who do you think you’re kidding?
A shadow head rises
from her left shoulder, leans in.
I guess we are going to have a conversation,
have it out right here in the market.
You were a market.
You were bought and sold.
We know what you did for love,
for the lack of it
for the want of it.
Suppose you can hide that behind a baby and an SUV?

Back in the safety of my car
I find the eggs are crushed,
the stamps have attached to my dashboard
and I am choking on a mouthful of cheese.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Red Sky in Morning

I am by no stretch of the imagination a morning person. Never have been, and, I'm afraid, never will. But, I do love the old sailor's adage: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning." I have always loved that, from the time I was old enough to be out in a rickety old faded lime green rowboat at dusk. And, you know, I even loved, well, really liked, a sailor once. So here's to sailors and little green rowboats. And, hey, here's to morning.

Red Sky in Morning

Perched on the bare branch of longing
the cardinal listens through a window in shadow.
Fallen leaves descend into earth
mulch into paperweights of regret
like some English fancy woman
slipping from her petticoats
for a Valentine of peace.

When the red bird flies round
to the back porch of celebrity
no one recognizes him
except the woman from abroad.
Her palm opens
offering a fistful
of shining ruby marbles,
gleaming beads of jubilation.
The cardinal takes them then,
each into his beak and he is
from the weight of her satisfaction.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Let them eat cake (not my son's scalp)

Here's proof, dear readers! We really did go for a hike after my last post. And we ate cake! And I wrote more of my novel that night. By no means am I meeting the recommended goal of 1660 words per day, but I have 890 and I'm happy.

Here's the kicker...my son got a tick on our hike! Here I am trying to do a good thing, taking advantage of one of the last warm days of fall. We all had long pants and socks and shoes. No sandals. No flip flops. Our feet were so covered, we left sweat trails in the pine needles. Our long sleeves were trailing behind us like fleecy snakes, we were so decked out in safe hike clothing. But our heads. Ah. Our heads. And the trail. Ah. The trail. Stay on the trail, son. Stay on the trail. Don't roll around in the leaves, son. Stay on the trail. And so, my son came to me with a head ache. Not a headache as in get some aspirin, but a head ache as in, "Mommy, my head hurts. It feels like I have a cut."

Does anyone know about ticks and kids? Or tick precautions (post biting) in general? Our pediatrician said no worries. It wasn't engorged (from the way I described it), so they said, "No. We don't need to see your son or the tick. Watch for a rash. Watch for signs of the flu. It's a slim chance it was infected." Is this correct? Seems kind of laid back to me. No rash, so far, though. Whew!

My novel...I'm having trouble getting to the action. I love description. Love thoughts, images, metaphors. I'm a poet, after all. But I feel like I just can't get the action started. Maybe I'm just not far enough into it. Ugly critic, is that you in my head?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My first 150...

OK folks. It's November. Not only is it my birthday month (hooray! I'm still excited, and I'm closing in on 40. Check back in 4 years for an excitement level update...), it is the month of lunacy, of dreams and words and chest pains and writing averted...It is National Novel Writing Month! And, yes, I am participating. There. I've said it. Put it in writing. Have to do it now! Of course, I have given myself the caveat that if I don't reach 50,000, that's ok. I must write more than 150. Hey! I just did that!

Truly, while I neglected my poor, recovering from an unnamed virus son, left him in the less-than-capable hands of X-Box and Spongebob, I wrote 150 words. Of course, I stopped every few seconds to assure him, "Yes! I will cut you a piece of cake." "No. Two bites is not enough of an apple to have cake." "You knocked a guy's head off? That's great!" "Spongebob forgot how to make crabby patties? That's terrible!" "Yes. I will get your cake!" As I sit gazing into my son's earnest hazel eyes, cake spatula that he just brought me planted firmly on the table in front of my computer, I wonder...Is it worth it? What will I gain from writing a novel in a month? Will my children need me? Just how many words can I hope to produce? How many episodes of Spongebob will my son watch? How many Go-Gurts can I let my one-year-old daughter wander around the house with? Can I really be as selfish as my college writing professor who threatened her children that only if there is blood, actual blood (or fire), are they to disturb her while she is writing? Not sure.

What follows are my 150 words. I'm quite proud of them. The baby just woke up from her nap and we're off to eat cake. (Oh, and we're going for a hike! It's 60 out today!)

My First 150...

The birds woke me up again today. It’s not what you think, the chirp and twitter of robins and chickadees singing the sun up. It’s not the raucous cawing of crows three times the size of my black cat. It’s the smell. Every morning, windows up or windows down, I can smell the birds. I smell flight. Smell the dust and tiny pieces of down falling silently from beneath their wings as the tufted tit mice, and yes, the chickadees, rise to the feeder. Smell the fresh earth scent of sunflower seeds and oily blackness of thistle as the birds eat their breakfast, prepare for a day of flitting and flying, sailing alone and in pairs around my neighborhood and beyond. It is the beyond that wakes me. The strange and alluring scent of the unfamiliar, wafting from the birds’ wings that pulls me from my own dreams of flight.