Saturday, August 21, 2010

Poem: Long Distance. Resistance to writing ugly.

My mother's willfulness was Oedipan. She ignored prophecies of body, medicine, reality, certainties. Mom was a Christian Scientist whose drawn-out death was unlovely.

Miracles are just that, unexpected, hoped for, not planned, not to be counted on. For twenty years she counted on one. She finally got an operation and lived, secluded, another ten years.

For long and longer I have been reluctant to talk or write about her, the family's, thirty-year epic. I don't always come out great in the story and it doesn't always bring out the best in me as a poet. Quite possibly I want sympathy, which suggests self-pity. I resist because the visuals aren't pleasant. A week ago I thought of Kaddish. Of course. Ginsberg describes Naomi, his mother, in all states. It's been done and should be.

In terms of poety, especially with my mother, especially but not exclusively, I am partal to abundance of heart moving the lines, as in "Six, Seven Strawberries."

Long Distance

Thursday I talk with my mom.
She’s answered the phone:
she's receptive;
has lain on her side
to hear the ring.

She says she and Pop walked Manhattan
for years: Wall Street, Harlem, parks.

I ask how she’s doing. “They feed me.
Nice food, water each day.
The meals are delicious.”

Again. “How'’re you doing?”
I’m proud I ask twice.
“It got worse. My face twisted
last month, I can’t leave my room.”

She's had operations.

“Makes me cry, Mom.”


Her face melts, hardens, melts.

Friday, I’m lost in Tribeca.
Heat bonds to my skin
like a man I shouldn’t love.

Mom’s in L.A.
She lies on her back
feeling its skin

by Sarah Sarai, pub. in Red Peter,
and included in The Future Is Happy.

1 comment:

  1. But THIS cat (above) is one of mine. By way of scale, the airplane is a 747.