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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poetry Gong - Poem 4

Advice from a Caterpillar While Washing Breakfast Dishes

The caterpillar questioned me
hanging from the spider plant
in my kitchen window,
a wretched height for dangling.

I shrink from his glassy gaze,
grow bold with my strangled admission:

I do not know who I am.

My son strolls in with a pigeon
behind him, his sister with a snake.
Chicken and spaghetti?
they suggest the usual supper fare.
Clearly culture is in order.
I drop the mop

(am I still the same person as before?)

leave the pancakes on the plate
crusting in sugar-free syrup,
surrey to the Indian restaurant.

Welcome little family
to the hookah patio.
Inhale the cumin wind
relax in a bowl of pad thai
swim through the noodles.
Climb onto our spicy shores
nap on a cushion of naan.

Hand to mouth
food as divine. Fingertips
only, if you please.
The task at hand,
how to get dry again.
We must never speak of spoons
or forks. Clean fingers only.

Avoid the roots and subterranean
vegetables. Spare the cattle,
enjoy the dancing sheep.

Mommy wants you to have fun


You can impress your friends
with our secret language:
chana, atta, toor, ghee.

I pray you’re small enough to think

this is an adventure


We are saffron warriors.
Off with heads of lettuce.
it is rough being a child
of a poet, forced to eat foreign
cuisine. Through a cloud
of smoke we exit, hop a bus to McDonalds,
mash French fries between greasy lips.

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Anonymous christine said...

You are one fast writer! I think it's very imaginative, the way you start with the caterpillar, like in Alice in Wonderland, a great way to introduce the Hooka Patio.

I also like the description of the food. Made me hungry.

Sort of a sad treatise on the state of affairs that the family ends up at McDonald's.

11:42 AM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

yes. therein lies the question of truth in art. i found it a sad ending, too, but it seemed appropriate, given my children's rejection of most of my attempts at adventurous eating.

the poem doesn't feel finished, either.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ending seemed evidence of a defeated poet parent so it didn't scare me. this part scared me:

"I shrink from his glassy gaze,
grow bold with my strangled admission:
I do not know who I am."

because it's so true. for all of us.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Nathan said...

"Clearly culture is in order." I know this scene exactly. And to have the poem proceed from the narrator's admission that they don't know themselves is just fantastic. Everything about this is so good.

9:27 AM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

It will be my mission to take my children to the Indian Restaurant this weekend. Pretty sure hookah patio is closed for season. Just as well!

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Jill, I so enjoyed reading this.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

And I love "the pancakes on the plate/ crusting in sugar-free syrup", "the hookah patio", "the cumin wind", the noodles, the naan, "the dancing sheep", "chana, atta, toor, ghee", "saffron warriors" ... gorgeous.

4:34 PM  

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