Tuesday, December 3, 2013

family gatherings can be ripe venues for poems

Family time and experiences of suppression are often ripe venues for poems. With tweeks (shown in red) this poem may finally have come to a close with decades to ripen its potential to provoke: For example,  "Tea" becomes "Rooibosch" to invoke the Dutch etymology for South African Rooibos which is said to have anti-anxiety properties. 
In remembrance of the family matriarch, those in attendance were asked to share a reflection. What surfaced within me was gathering for meals. My reflections would most certainly not be welcomed at her funeral but maybe the discomforts within this poem can be welcomed in the world. Some ways of thinking go to the grave.
There was discomfort in these shallows for many years. I prefer now to be present wherever I am. I choose not to be in places mystified "as family" when it does not hold that meaning for me. From a complexity of emotion once lacking in emotional grist my character and those of poems are built: perspiring experience, salted wounds sans colored glasses.

GOOD and black 

Four generations 
stretching a good table. Fine china well smeared with gravy 
and blood 
of cranberries, as the dapper 4-year old topples 
dessert in conversation: "That’s bull-shit!"

What follows? 
The murmur of mimic, watershed tales of pre-school teacher 
complaints; a rambled ‘What can be done?’ retort 
to what was heard, spoken, repeated: "That’s bull-shit!"

Small talk brews aromatic. ‘What can be done?’
topics twist to most seen TV, turns to telling stories 
of road-rage. Son and daughters tasting how possible - a chiffon identification with fear. The shooter’s fear emerges 
like apples from the cut wedge of 
the other pie. 

“It must have been one ...” 
“No, Grandma. Both were women. Both were white.” 
pours past Diet Coke, Asti; Rooibosch running at the mouth “Well, most times its men. Most times it is Blacks. Shooting even 
each other.” 'No Grandma.' steams above black coffee. 

'Every time it is 
a person with a gun made only to shoot people - a handgun 
in an angry hand! More pie with your drink of choice?' Every holiday there is too much. 'Anyone-else, tea?' consumptive shallows drip
into talk of Internet shopping. "What children get, every
thing they do not need." "Did you hear?" current events get swallowed like the offer of a second dessert, discomfort 
to return later.

She is 75. She repeats 
what she believes above sugar powdered angel’s wings. She fears 
the real thing.

The child hears fear and repeats. The child gets everything
"That’s bull-shit!" is mimic in the world, good

and black for Christmas.

This post was prompted by a publicly shared comic's Aziz Ansari expression of similar sentiment. 11.8.2013 Racist grandmas are dying, and that is a good thing.

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