Thursday again and the idea was to spend time with poetry we avoid as readers and writers...I strolled through the bookstore and made my attempts at just that. The chosen poets? Two celebrities...I typically avoid musicians/actors who put out books because in my literary-indie way, I think of how many brilliant unknown poets toil away without recognition over their lives...the small presses who live on bread and water so they can deliver the word of a writer they believe in. Then, a celebrity writes a few words and it is marketed as the single most important tome of all time. A part of what I do is to review written word and discuss what I'm reading for this magazine. Writing matters to me. How things are marketed, shelved, and sold...at times, I worry over a world where Paris Hilton gets published and splashed across the bookstore display, while brilliant novels, poetry, and memoirs by unknowns are neatly tucked away to collect dust, not royalty checks.
So, I avoided these books once again...I am avoiding them now to write instead about my favorite up and coming poet who is celebrating her tenth birthday today, my Petunia Moon. It rained October 19, 1996 until an hour before her birth...then the sky broke open with splintered sunlight and she was here, making a mother out of a scared college-girl and her new husband. Giving me, suddenly, a reason for being here--something I'd always wondered over...giving me the purpose my aimless wandering through classes and books, parties and wild wine-drenched nights, had repeatedly failed to. Not long after her birth I read this poem:
Now That I am Forever with Child
How the days went
while you were blooming within me
I remember each upon each--
the swelling changed planes of my body
and how you first fluttered then jumped
and I thought it was my heart.
How the days wound down
and the turning of winter
growing heavy against the wind.
I thought--now her hands
are formed--her hair
has started to curl
now her teeth are done
now she sneezes.
Then the seed opened.
I bore you one morning
just before spring
my head rang like a fiery piston
my legs were towers between which
a new world was passing.
I can only distinguish
one thread within running hours
you--flowing through selves
For me to condense what her birthday means to me...what mothering means to me...is more than one blog post can hold. Indeed, this experience of being "forever with child" is, for me, the backbone of my creative work. I want to thank my daughter for giving me the gift of herself...
Once a week, we escape together from our to-do lists, homework, grading papers, commitments, to write together in a "secret cafe". Her work (some of which you can find here) cycles through periods of self-consciousness only to explode into a vast, untouched mind. Witnessing this process of hers, I recognize my own. She is growing, evolving, and "becoming"...on the page and off. These first ten years have been a blur of time--much too fast for me. She has moved from my body, to the circle of our arms, to the wider world. Now, I must stand back and watch her continue to cast off my well-crafted nets...and vanish into the blue.