Friday, October 22, 2010

Simmering Poems

I have been sick all week with just a cold, but with severe asthma a cold can quickly turn into a hospital stay or weeks of higher doses of steroids that turn me into someone that's not me even weeks after tapering off.  I have given myself permission this week to not write, to take a break, to watch hours of whatever reality crap is on TV or episodes of House I've already seen. 

Even though I consciously made the decision to step back from writing, my mind was concocting poems in the background.  As a former programmer, I liken this to a forgotten background process running in an application that throws an alert when it's done.

As I stood in the shower this morning with water pouring over me, the poems came to me.  Poems of my youth, of my family, a series of poems with the images I can never let go of as a child.  My mother blaming my four year old sister for my near-death at two; the way my grandma smelled as she alternated between being so loving and beating us with a switch she made us pick from the tree in her yard; the day my sweet grandpa let me sit on his lap and drive his red Duster to the hardware store when I was only six years old; the way my parents escaped extreme poverty and my dad withheld money from my mom so she would always feel poor; and many other images I would love to write storis about, and may someday.  This morning these were the beginnings of poems instead, like that's the only box they fit into today. 

I am amazed at how these poems simmered in the back of my mind and just came out when they were ready, like a baby ready to be born, like an unwatched tomato in my garden ripening at its own pace. 

My son was late to school today because I wrote down the ideas, the images, and several lines of several poems that were distinct but interrelated before I got him out of bed.  I apologized for making him rush to get to school and explained I was writing poems and lost track of time.  He sleepily smiled his sweet smile at me and understood. 

The soup is done - this batch at least.  I need to scoop it out ladle by ladle into a pretty dish while it's hot and bubbly.  Some of it I will freeze, put on hold, and set it aside until I have time, warm it up again and hope it keeps. 

My grandparents are deceased except for one.  I don't know if they would resent me writing their stories, feeding their metaphorical soup to strangers.  My parents would hate it but won't care that much since poetry is not of their world, doesn't matter to them, can't hurt them any more than an opera can.  Isn't it cool that someone born of them would compulsively and instinctively write poems in her subconscious?

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