Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo 1

OK, I'm sneaking this one under the wire, but I've been working on it for days. I'm still counting it as my first NaBloPoMo entry.

This is the first new poem in two months, still very raw, still needs a good scrubbing.


On the drive to the grocery store,
I listen to my father enunciate each letter,
add stress to every syllable of his favorite word.
He said if I learned a word-a-day,
I can do anything I want to do in life—
a simple solution for all of life’s hurts.
This from a man who spent his working life
in law enforcement. But at 8 years old,
all I wanted to do was be 9, keep my head down
and make it to 10. No reason
why a word related to personal effects
would affect him enough to translate
the language of what couldn’t be said.

My father, who never made it past grade 10,
learned early how to disguise misfortune for blessing.
So he proceeded to tap out the word on my knuckles
with his free hand, the other gripping tight to the steering wheel.
Is it too much to imagine he knew it was derived
from the word dowry, how this word is now my
personal property, now the bell in my head
that never ceases to ring? I never guessed
my father carried something so massive as to pass it to me.
Yet this is the only word he ever taught me, this legacy
I now claim as the wind in my throat.


Catherine said...

Congratulations on getting writing again. I've more or less put off writing any poems until I finish my trip diary

Left-handed Trees... said...

I'm excited for you nablopomo entries...of which this was an amazing first. Such an open poem/ haunting and "big" if that makes any sense...wind (yes!) blowing right through the middle of it.

gautami tripathy said...

I too went ahead and signed in for NaBloPoMo. I don't know if I will keep up with it.

I like this a lot.

jillypoet said...

This is indeed an amazing poem. The father/daughter relationship is powerful, made more so with the daughter's young ambivilance toward learning words, and her adult wisdom. I like the feeling that I'm left with after I read this, but I can't quite name it. It's not saddness. Hmm... This deserves a second read.

January said...

Thanks Jilly, and everyone.

It was a hard poem to write. Still not there yet, but it was still good to break the seal on NaBloPoMo and write the first poem.

Rethabile said...

There you go, that sound, feeling, thing that you do. Same snoring dad who almost swallowed you whole? this is marvellous...

Jo said...

I really enjoyed this.....what a gift it turned out to be.

Color Online said...

"I now claim as the wind in my throat."

beautiful, a line that stays with you.



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