Rhyme Scheming

I like to think of myself as a reader.  Not so much that I’m “well read.”  I’ve read some classics and a lot of nonfiction in the last few years.  I have also read some highly entertaining novels that few would list as “literature.”  I’m rambling… My point is that I like to think of myself as someone who reads a lot of different genres and forms.  But I have a dirty little secret.  I hate poetry.

Maybe you are thinking that isn’t so uncommon.  A lot of people dislike poetry.  I, however, have discovered I have a completely irrational hatred of poetry that I do not completely understand.  I know it is judgey but nearly all poets make me roll my eyes.  I think as a writer I feel like poets should make the time and effort to write a story that might relate to someone besides themselves.  I suppose a poet’s response might be that I’m too inefficient to express myself in a poem; I need an multi-page composition.  And I would defend myself.  With a classically structured persuasive essay.

A few years ago I was talked into going to a poetry reading at the King’s English Bookstore here in Salt Lake City.  I went with a friend and once we arrived I saw that they had an open box of wine, which is my favorite flavor.  Open, that is.

I thought, “Okay… I can do this.  It is poetry, but it isn’t bourgie poetry.  It’s box wine poetry.”

I was fine (bored, but fine) until the second poet got up to read from his recently published collection. You are already picturing him, probably. He was wearing a sports jacket, jeans, and a stringy pony tail.  In the third or fourth poem he recited the line, “The spider scuttled out from beneath the ice cube…” and I had to bite my hand to keep from yelling, “No it didn’t and fuck you for saying that it did!!!”

Where the hell did that come from?’ I asked myself, taking a sniff of my boxed chardonnay to search for clues.  What about this poor cliché of a man had invited the full furnace of my rage, without any discernible prelude?

I elbowed my friend and we slipped out the side door and went to dinner at the Lebanese restaurant next door.  ‘Maybe I was hurt very badly in a past life by a mediocre poet,’ I hypothesized as we crunched through the snow between the two sidewalks.  ‘Or maybe I was a spider who was unsuspectingly crushed by ice.’

We will never know.

The Introvert at the Party; an exploration in Haiku

Introverted girl
at a social gathering
trying not to cling

Releasing Matt’s arm
I take a deep breath and wander
deeper in the house

Determined to learn
from the mistakes of my past:
don’t drink all the wine!

What is the most time
I can hide in the toilet
before eyebrows raise?

Do I look social
crossing the room with purpose
looking for “someone”?

Hovering over
the table of finger foods
not sure what to do

It’s called ‘finger food’
but do I use a napkin?
What’s the proper way?

And then what happens?
If I put it in my mouth
I will get a question

From someone or other.
I’ll stand there, mouth full of cheese…
happens every time.

Better to slip it
quickly into my pocket
for later, alone.

Time to venture off;
initiate a friendship…
thank God, there’s a dog!

Check the time, dear Christ!
How can that be possible?
It’s six forty five.

Cross the room again:
bathroom appetizer time.
It’ll be a long night.

Sisters in Seattle

I went to Seattle for a few days to visit my sister Andrea and meet my brand new nephew who arrived too soon – at just 25 weeks – over the New Year’s weekend.  I flew up to help out while her hubby was traveling for work.  Mostly I went to give my five year old nephew some attention.  Also I talked Andrea’s ear off.  (I really need to call her more.)  I also cooked a little.  I loaded the dishwasher once.  I barely helped at all, truth be told.  I always think I’ll be more helpful when I’m projecting the future in my mind then when I get into the future and see what reality allows.

Still it was a great trip.  Frog (my new nephew’s nickname) is so tiny!  Just 2.7 lbs when I left, but growing a bit every day.  I was watching him fight against his breathing mask and squirming to get his arms and legs free of the swaddling wraps and I was amazed.  He is so little and he looks so fragile – like a pink baby bird that fell from a nest – but he is fierce!  He can lift his head already, and he can voice his displeasure.  It made me happy.  I don’t want him to wear himself out, but I can’t describe the joy I felt watching him fight.  I’ve been so worried about this kiddo for weeks but now that I’ve seen him, I’m reassured.  He is a warrior and he is firmly in this world.

IMG_3415

My other nephew, the kindergartner, is really struggling with the changes.  He seems angry.  He’s not listening or asking for things with politeness or patience.  He is demanding things with a force that suggests his wants and needs are consuming him.  I’m not sure he gets what is wrong exactly, but there is a level on which he is aware.  He even commented on the fact that there are suddenly a number of photos of his brother on his mom’s phone.  “Why are there so many pictures of Frog on here?” he asked like a jealous boyfriend.  Like, “Who is this guy and what does he mean to you?”

Oof.  Just wait until the little one actually gets sprung from the NICU and comes home!  Then the real pain will begin.

On one hand my heart is breaking for him because it is hard to see him hurting.  But on the other hand, the one where I’m looking at it from the perspective of a second sibling, I’m less sympathetic.  “What? You don’t get to have your parents all to yourself? What would that be like?” [insert eye roll]

I’m told that when I came home from the hospital my older sister tried to smother me with a diaper.  She was wearing it at the time, just so you understand.

He is such a sweet kid and I believe he will be fine once he has had time – lots of time – to adjust.  He’s so funny.  I’m not sure how to describe him except to say that he has a dynamic inner life.  He is so imaginative and precocious.  He spent one entire day of my visit dressed as Yoda.  Not for any special occasion.  He just loves Yoda.  When I arrived he presented me with a drawing he did for me at school.  It’s a portrait of me.  “What’s this red part?” I asked.

“It’s a bloody thumb.”

“Of course it is, kiddo.  Of course it is.”

IMG_3398

 

What I wouldn’t give to spend some time in that kid’s head.  Frog is going to have the best playmate in the world.  Maybe not soon, you know.  But in a little while.