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.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I Touched Him

because I couldn't see his back
rising and falling
like the length of his skinny body
in and out of the pool
all sticky
day long.

(Spotlight on the little-known

They’re never more angelic
than when they’re sleeping,
or so I’ve heard.

(Warning signs every parent
should be aware

You will not find the kind of mother
here, checking on her children
in the middle of the night.

In the middle of the night
I sleep.
Like a normal person.

(easily overlooked
or misinterpreted

I am no insomniac.
I know my children,
the span of their small
hands, the breadth of their
chests, the width of their feet
their lips, the measure of one eye
between their beautiful blue and hazels—
the third eye.

It’s just the media.
Blame it on the media.
Measuring the depth of my love
on the frequency of my obsession.

At one end,
the pool was twelve feet deep.
That’s three times
the size of my boy.
What is the direct route to his lungs?
How much could he inhale
in an instant?

Under pressure
we can all supply
what is needed.


I had used some indentations in this poem, for effect, but they didn't all show up when I cut and pasted. Can't seem to figure that out in Blogger. This indenting is something new I am trying...

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Blogger ...deb said...

Beautiful poem, Jilly.

(My low-tech cheat for indents is to make periods, or any other charachter, and color them white, which works on my blog background.)

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Nice poem!

Indentations disappear not because of limitations in Blogger, but because of restrictions on consecutive intraline spaces in HTML, the basic language in which the web is written. You can introduce spaces in several different ways using HTML:

1) ...deb's solution: Place dots or other characters wherever you want spaces to appear, than turn them the same color as the page background (in this case, white). This may be pretty easy to do in your post editor; I haven't used Blogger in a while. This is what we did at qarrtsiluni until recently. One limitation of this method is that the dots will show up in some feed readers that strip out the text-coloring code.

2) Designate the spaces with strings of the HTML code for a non-breaking space, i.e. & nbsp ; (without the spaces after the ampersand and before the semicolon). This gets real tedious real fast, but it works well.

3) Use span tags for each line with extra spaces in it, and add style definitions of padding in pixels for each space. This is the method we use at qarrtsiluni now for indents and other intraline spaces. I have to play around with it in the preview screen to get the pixels right, but other than that, it's easier than using strings of non-breaking spaces (which WordPess.com strips out in any case).

I realize that's probably a bit more than you really wanted to know, but I like to be thorough - and this really is kind of a big issue for anyone who blogs poetry. There may be other ways to code in spaces, too - I'm no expert. And of course one can always cheat and upload an image of the poem - a screenshot off of MS Word, for example.

11:48 AM  
Blogger GreenishLady said...

I was going to make the same suggestion as Deb's solution. It works for me. More code would be more trouble than its worth for me, but putting in a few dots and turning them white is easy enough.

I really liked this poem. Oh. Motherhood. How do we survive it at all?

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Nathan said...

I love the way the poem hones in on the words "pressure" and "needed" in the last stanza -- the essence of the previous lines. I know what the poem's getting at about the parenthood and the media. I stopped watching tv news a few years ago.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave is no expert? alrighty then... :-)

An interesting poem. Because of the variation between the expert descriptions and the narrator's assertions that she really does sleep at night, I have the impression that she is trying to convince herself, or is unaware of the depth of her obsession and concern. I like how the poem leaves this idea up to the reader, as if she were conversing with her psyche.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Jo said...

Oh I am so glad I stopped by for two reasons......firstly, great poem, let's just say I can really relate and secondly for Dave's tips. I never thought of the dot white out technique. I often want to lay stuff out differently, but can't.

4:07 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Good poem, very engaging. I heard about "dry drowning" on the news the other day--I think a six-year-old boy died several hours AFTER he left the pool...I had no idea.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Lirone said...

Very moving poem - particularly the verse that begins "I am no insomniac". It speaks of a depth of time spent watching the child that builds up this intimate familiarity.

12:07 PM  
Blogger writerwoman said...

Love this poem. It very poignant and yet it also makes you look at yourself and your own life.

This poem will be linked to on July 13th at PWb for our July Poetry Collection.

4:38 PM  

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