Thursday, November 09, 2006

Poem for Poetry Thursday

Wish I had written a new poem this week for Poetry Thursday. Instead, I give you an older narrative poem. Not much to stay about this one except that this was an isolated incident. My mom's the biggest nondrinker you'll ever meet.

However, this is probably not the week to tell her I have a blog.



The Only Time I Ever Saw My Mother Drunk


She bounded into the house with a piece of silver tinsel
wrapped around her neck, tucked inside her coat
like a winter scarf. Dad propped himself up
from door frame to wall to wall.
They had been across the street for hours
visiting our Polynesian neighbors. Mom said
they spent most of the night trying Karaoke.
Dad slurred, but was happy to talk about
the neighbors who performed nightly at Blue Hawaii
and their Christmas tree that touched the ceiling.

Suddenly she erupted with a spasm
that bent her body in half. A thick liquid glistened
on the floor. At some point she noticed a contact lens
had fallen out. We knew it was lost
in the chunks on the brown tiled floor.
Mom knelt down, tried to collect the goop with her hands.
Dad just shook his head, started in with a lawd have mercy,
then was silent. He watched my mother cry
into her hands, then stumbled out,
knocking over a chair on his way to the bedroom.

Upstairs we heard the rattle of pants and belts
that hung behind the bedroom door. He
fell asleep, made himself unavailable to us
while in the bathroom, I stripped my mother,
wiped the crusty film from her mouth
and put her to bed in my room.
I held her hand in my two until she
drifted off. While they slept, celery chunks
and cocktail wieners waited for me on the kitchen floor.
Somewhere a lens floated in heavy syrup.

15 comments:

ren.kat said...

I genuinely like this poem. Gross, yes, but I love how the contact lens takes on a symbolism that isn't overpowering. There's the balance of the mother-daughter relationship with the mother's whole "losing sight" that keeps it from being sentimental. Bravo.

bostonerin said...

I love this one, too--so vivid--and the graphic description keeps it from becoming sentimental.

gkgirl said...

keeps you reading
right to the very last line.

so matter of fact,
the exchange of balance

twilightspider said...

Well done. I like the almost prose-like quality here, though you never lose the poetic feel.

Left-handed Trees... said...

This poem was very powerful...great detail to drag the reader right in close with the moment, like it or not. I too have only seen my mother drunk once...something in common...

Poet with a Day Job said...

This is another great poem. I really love the confident voice in your work - it makes it possible for me to hang on during the twists and changes because I feel secure in knowing as I read I won't be left out to dry. You have terrific closure, and solid images for me to chew on.

pepektheassassin said...

Yeah, you'd think the world a safer place with all the spidermen and batmen and supermen out last week! Thanks for dropping by to look--

Your writing always has such insight and just the right choice of words to communicate all kinds of emotions.

Catherine said...

That sounds like enough to put you off drinking for life! Just the right amount of detail to tell the story, unpleasant but compelling.

Kristine said...

"this is probably not the week to tell her I have a blog" I love it! ;)
The poem was great. I could see the story unfold and felt a bit of the anxiety of being the child taking care of parents...

la vie en rose said...

wow! this is such a powerful piece!

ecm said...

You have such great details in this poem: the contact lens, the weiners on the floor, the syrup...you paint a picture

wendy said...

This poem took me down the nostalgic path to the first time I saw my mom drunk..coincidently in a hawiian dress...and then plunged me into the dull reality of having a mom who was a drunk. Lets put it this way...you were so much more kind..as a care taker than I was...

took me from here to there effortlessly.

Dana said...

I really like this poem, but I don't feel so good now.

paris parfait said...

Well this was an excellent poem, with even the disgusting moments given understanding.

January said...

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, it was gross, but it sure makes for good poetry.

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