Saturday, April 2, 2011

poem making

(Note: Started writing this yesterday, Saturday, in the evening. Finished it after noon on Sunday.)


I have been making a poem today. I started making the poem yesterday, but fell into a ditch or something, read a book or something, watched a bad film, talked for a few minutes with my daughter and her friend, fell asleep at 1 a.m. with a living room light on low just in case the girls, both still afraid of the dark at 16 and 18, needed to come downstairs.

Just now as I began writing this post about poem making, I heard a rustling in the bathroom, caught my kitty dining on a plastic bag, which he surely intended to barf up on my bed at 2 a.m. I scooped him up and looked into his black masked face.

"You're a bad kitty, but you're pretty," I said. He placed a paw against my mouth. Shut up, lady, and let me eat bag!

"Your claws are sharp, kitty. I should have clipped them a couple of weeks ago. Pretty kitty."

It takes me all of 45 seconds to clip all four sets of claws. The cat barely has time to work up a good growl. He is already over the trauma, lurks behind my desk chair, stares into the back of my head in an attempt to use feline ESP to herd me into the bedroom where he can lie on my feet all night.

I can't go to bed, of course. My Girl is out again, and I need to pick her up at midnight.

You can call these things distractions if you want, but they are part of my poem making rhythm, have been since my daughter was a baby, though the pulse is different now.

(I sound like an ass, don't I? Oh well.)

I intended the poem to be lighthearted, was going to call it "Quick Bread," researched bananas. How many are usually in a bunch? Is the banana really the perfect food? How long does it take a banana to get too ripe?

Like my Greek mother (who would growl at me for calling her Greek since she considered herself American with parents who happened to be Greek immigrants), I am a bit superstitious. I sometimes think that when I talk about a poem-in-progress (or novel-in-progress) out loud before I've truly started it, I curse the piece, the piece dies. I fail.

But I don't know. I think it's funny that the friends on Facebook who caught me writing a poem about bananas (because I advertised it in a status update. I really hate Facebook) teased me and reminded me that bananas are phallic symbols. My daughter covered her ears when I told her my friends were teasing me.

"They were reminding me in silly ways that bananas are shaped like...."

"Don't say it!"

"...sorry, I have to. Like penises."

Poor kid. To have such a mother.

I'm a persistent little poet wannabe and couldn't give in or give up. So I started typing:

The thing about bananas…

Those bunches of six or eight bananas
I encounter at Kroger, piled up like a mountain
of curved, yellow fangs,
intimidate me.
I thought this was because my daughter and I
rarely eat our way through a bunch
before the bananas morph from yellow-green
to lemon-yellow to soft brown to spotted black,
like pissed off leopards with sweetly rank body odor.

I got that far, and then my Girl told me she was hungry, needed to eat before I took her to her friend's. We fixed homemade nachos (which I shared).


Text from my Girl.

It's 11:40. I'll be leaving soon to pick her up.


I picked at a few lines about losing bananas on top of my refrigerator and discovering them when they were beyond "over-ripe" and were simply petrified. Picked at lines about other "perfect" foods like blueberries and broccoli and kale.

There are no good lines in that section. Kale is not sexy, at least not when I sit it next to bananas. And I'm afraid broccoli, healthy though it is, reminds me of the college boyfriend who should have been The One except that kissing him was, for me, like kissing broccoli. So now you know I don't like broccoli.

Because of the goofy exchange on Facebook, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, subconsciously, it is the banana's shape that intimidates me. I mean, seriously, it's been a long time since I've seen a naked penis in person. I don't know if I'd remember what to do with one should one suddenly become available to me.

(Oh, really, now! The kitty was right. I should shut up.)


I have to leave to pick up daughter.

I'll be back to fall into the next stage.


12:29 a.m.


Trying to find my way back into this.

I am too tired and scattered. I'll start again tomorrow with this same post just because this feels like what I want to be doing here. Scattered posting.


(4/3/11) It's now Sunday, noon.

We have errands to run, my Girl and I. I want to let this topic go before I have to quit again.

I was going to apologize for writing this all directly into the window instead of composing offline, but, hell, what does it matter, really?

So. Yesterday. Banana poem (damn. The Girl has turned off the shower water. She is on a mission, so I have maybe seven minutes before it's my turn to shower. I should have finished this early this morning but didn't want to turn on my computer).

I've discovered that if I sit with something long enough, it sometimes turns into something completely different from what it started out to be. This is usually a lovely thing.

I don't have a complete poem, but I have a start on something because of where I went after I found an article on bananas and kidneys (really. I went that far). Because bananas are high in potassium, it's dangerous for people who are in kidney failure to eat them.

In 1995, my father went into renal failure related to a muscle disorder he had called McArdles disease. I'll write this in inverted pyramid style as if I'm in a Reporting 101 class. He did not die from kidney failure, but, man, it was close. My siblings and I agreed that since I did not work outside the home, my baby daughter and I would fly from Ohio to Texas to help him out, to take care of him as he went through dialysis, to be with him until his kidneys started functioning again. That's the back story. This is where I went yesterday after researching and thinking and laughing about bananas:

This poem that isn’t a poem is growing out of conversation and dream and joke and memory. Remember when Daddy’s kidneys failed and you flew "home" to take care of him? Remember you were making him dinner your first night there, before you had a chance to go to the store? He didn't have much food in the house. Bananas, two extra large eggs, a little cheese. You were so tired from traveling, from picking him up at the hospital, from taking care of your then not-quite-1-year-old Girl that you accidentally cracked one of the two eggs into the sink instead of the bowl for beating. You watched it slide down the drain into the disposal. Remember what you thought? You thought about how a banana would have made your ailing father feel so full. You thought about how it might have killed him.


There is something in there, but it's sad. It will not be a poem about quick break, though it could start that way. Or maybe writing through this process has killed the poem completely. Ah. Who knows?

I don't really know what this is today, this post. I knew what it was yesterday, but I am a different person today. The parts don't fit together well. Doesn't matter. It's not like anyone is paying me to write here or grading me on my dreadful composition.

that's enough now.

1 comment:

  1. It is what it is. And you don't sound like an ass. I loved this post. So truthful and funny and beautiful.