Friday, September 18, 2009

Willing Back Grandmother

The poem I'm going to share with you today has some issues and for that reason is still being revised. One thing that I do like about it is the ending; I love the ending image, it's clear slightly melancholy and it gets the point across. However, a problem that I'm having with it is that I believe the middle and perhaps even the first stanza are not doing enough. Without saying it, I want to say why the young girl misses her grandmother. I feel that the speaker has reason to be upset and yet she isn't, she's young after all and the grandmother is cruel for no reason. I want the middle stanza(s) (during more rewrites) to convey that there is some redeeming quality to the grandmother's anger, though I worry that my attempt to justify her anger will eventually be my downfall if I try to revise it with this in mind. I would also like to capture the young girl drawn to the grandmother despite her angry disposition. Either it is because she is young and knows no better or because she can't help loving her, probably the former because it's less sappy and/or corny. Either way I hope you enjoy it.


if I flew an airplane into interrupted space
and made a big enough dent in time maybe god
would take me seriously so that I could get her back
on sunday greasing my scalp, braiding my hair, whipping
my fingers with the wooden brush if I felt the tender spots
where she pulled too hard.

she said man cannot live by bread alone. what else did he need i
wanted to ask? perhaps a side of codfish & callaloo greens
but who's going to make them for me? who’s going to wash them and
steam them just so? lay them out in from of me? cuss me when I don't eat them?
lash me with a switch from the cherry bush? if I don't eat them,
who's going to make me eat them?

i stand for long whiles watching her gravestone commanding her memory
to rush out from behind me and hug me, or cut me with its eyes, or teach me
the history she didn't want to tell me, or fret when school's long been out
and night has fell and watch the tip of belleview heights hill
for a skinny brown girl walking with her shadow towards the house.

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