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.

Friday, April 25, 2008

NaPoWriMo #25

On Reading the Poems of a Popular Asian-American Poet, the Northern New York Poet Laments Her Roots

I did not have an exotic
childhood. It was not spicy.
It was not saucy, raw,
or sensual. In many ways
it was a soft and white slice
of American bread,
the flour and water kind
sheet and blanketing bologna.
Holly Hobbie sheets were pulled
up and nylon threaded bed spreads flicked
mid-air every morning after cereal
white with skim milk, pale
canned pears sliced into moons.
Long yellow buses swallowed
wan cotton children whole,
belched them back
up the cement walkways
of lonesome schools named for ghosts.
What did I know
of foreign or domestic?
Spice was deadly salt,
sprinkled over ears of white kernel sweet corn.
Sauce was sallow gravy
poured over potatoes piled high as snow drifts.
It was not an exotic childhood
unless you were from Africa
or India, China or the equator.
Then all that virgin
white might frighten you.
You might choke
on the blinding blandness.
Wish you knew
at least one word for snow.


From the time I first read Ana Castillo and Sandra Cisneros, I have wanted to be anything but a German/Scottish/English/American girl from the semi-frozen northeast New York. I worried that I had no crazy Tias, no fortune-telling abuela, nothing exotic or even remotely spicy in my past. NOw that I'm older, I still lament my mostly boring family history, but I have learned to dig a little deeper, and to make up stuff.

Come to think of it, before all this, when I was about seven, I used to tell people I was really adopted and my real parents were gypsies. Hmmm....

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Blogger GreenishLady said...

It seems we all think our own families are "ordinary", no matter how different they might be under the surface. I like that poem a lot.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Jo said...

Some really strong lines in this....very good.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

#1/ i had holly hobby wallpaper

#2/ i lament a white-bread upbringing also but then, of course, there's plenty there. there always is.

#3/ i love what you said about making stuff up.

8:00 PM  

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