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, February 15, 2007

I Am No Genie

I don't know about prose poems. I have never been a fan. I like the brevity of poetry, the slim lines, the paring down of weighty, worthless words, the sharp images. Of course, I like Mary Oliver's prose poems. I feel like I am getting more of her wisdom, the more words there are.

But still, I am not a fan. I had a prose poem I wrote last Fall for an on-line poetry course, but even that, looking back on it and considering it for posting, left me cold. Sorry, poem. I love you, but, I'm just not that into you. That said, I did try to write a new one. It meanders. I have the urge to cut, cut, cut. And, not only that, no matter how I try, it doesn't show up properly on my blog. The line ends are all wrong! But, for now, I will let it fly. Fly little poem with seventeen million wings. Don't get bogged down...

I Am No Genie

A genie dressed in green silk robes slid out of my oven on a flaming gingham potholder. Paralyzed by the intoxicating aroma of chicken divan, the girl magician stood immobile on the edge of a wooden spoon. Before my very eyes, she dove into the casserole, offered herself up for an early evening feast.

Because they would not understand inadequacy, mommy-guilt or mommy testing her new bottle of acting tears, I tell my children the story of the flying kitchen genie.

But, alas, I am no genie, and it is just me, the mommy, perched atop my flat-top stove
waving a ladle at the radio, that harbinger of today’s disaster. The radio, squat, blue boom box that just informed me I have been feeding my family poison peanut butter,
a little Salmonella spread to go with their fluff and crustless bread.

You try and try to do right by your family, fill them full of vitamins and minerals,
steam the broccoli, deep six the fryer, broil the free-range chicken. Weekly, daily, minute by sticky minute, you send healthy lunches and sugar free snacks. Cushion the goods, nestle them among paper napkin love notes, written in Permanent marker.

All this, only to have an invisible voice looming behind an invisible finger pointing directly at you, chastising, accusing, sealing your family’s doom more airtight than Goldfish in Ziploc. Their fate, their gastrointestinal distress lies in your sticky hands.

It wasn’t like I bought it from some mustached door-to-door salesman. I went to the market, to market, to market, on a Monday like every other good mother. My steady hand passed over crunchy, full fat, most salt, tossed low-salt, low-fat right into the cart.

Oh, I try and try, and now, children, I think I will pull my hair high into a ponytail, drape a veil over my face, nod my head once, wrinkle my nose, and order some organic peanut spread on-line. Presto magic-o. Abracadabra. A-la peanut butter sandwiches!

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Blogger Sideon said...

This is wonderful. The language of this modern day fairy tale just begs to be spoken aloud.

Moments that I loved:

"A genie dressed in green silk robes slid out of my oven ona flaming gingham potholder."

"...minute by sticky minute..."

"All this, only to have an invisible voice looming behind an invisible finger pointing directly at you, chastising, accusing, sealing your family's doom more airtight than Goldfish in Ziploc." So much in this sentence resonates - the crushing weight of the pointing finger versus the family's doom inside a lunch baggie.

"I went to the market, to market, to market, on a Monday like every other good mother." The repetition is delightful.

The whimsical language is deliciously (no pun intended) ironic against the seriousness of health and potential food poisoning. It's the manifestation of guilt in all it's Genie glory.

12:53 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I loved this. Very contemporary and words come alive. Infact sentences come alive. Sideon has already said that.


8:16 AM  
Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

Jilly - you certainly have not disappointed! This is awesome. I think your urge to cut is a natural urge - it is poetry after all. Simply because it maintains a prose form doesn't mean it shouldn't be just as tight as line broken poems.

However, I think this piece IS tight, and doesn't really need any cutting. I really like the italicized beginning, and this line "fluff and crustless bread" very much.

I am so glad you posted this week! I just love the style of your voice and the content of your work.

12:01 PM  
Blogger twilightspider said...

This is so ridiculously good. If praise was available in sealed containers of safe, organic peanut spread, I'd send you truckloads. Every stanza here seems essential - I'm glad that you resisted your urge to cut further. This is just a delight.

1:22 PM  
Blogger G said...

I really like the image of you standing on your "flat-top stove waving a ladle at the radio, that harbinger of today's disaster." Isn't the peanut butter thing terrible? "That invisible finger" never goes away, does it? Mommy-guilt. What can we do.

I couldn't do the prose poem this week so I applaud you for succeeding!

6:07 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Thank you everyone! I was unsure of this, so it's nice to hear it works for you. I once read that Georgia O'Keeffe used to second guess paintings, even after they were hung and she finally had to stop. Just finish and be happy. Just this morning, I saw a spot I'd like to change. I think I probably will. Funny how with posting poems, they can still evolve and change...

9:53 AM  
Blogger Remiman said...

This is simply stupendous.
Flowing, picking us up along the way, and pulling us into the main stream of your thoughts, letting us taste and feel them along with you. So glad to have read it.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Here's to organic peanut butter!

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it can't be so! the polka-dot witch and jilly poet disagree? i just love prose poems! my first work ever published was a prose poem. in my college literary magazine. love them, love them, love them.

but that's the only place we diverge. i think. i agree with you that this particular piece asks for line breaks. although it could just be that i'm so used to your style that i crave what you do so well.

this is a terrific poem however you choose to lay it out on the page!

1:53 PM  

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