Challenge from Stacey Joy: craft a Call of Words poem
By reading a favorite poem or passage and selecting key words to use to construct new ideas and arrangements.
My inspiration poem:
Southern Gothic by Natasha Trethewey
I have lain down into 1970, into the bed
my parents will share for only a few more years.
Early evening, they have not yet turned from each other
In sleep, their bodies covered – parentheses
framing the separate lives they’ll wake to. Dreaming
I am again the child with too many questions –
the endless why and why and why
my mother cannot answer, her mouth closed, a gesture
toward her future: cold lips stitched shut.
The lines in my father’s face deepen
Toward an expression of grief. I have come home
From the schoolyard with the words that shadow us
In this small Southern town – peckerwood and nigger
lover, half-breed and zebra – words that take shape
outside us. We’re huddled on the tiny island of bed, quiet
in the language of blood: the house, unsteady
on its cinderblock haunches, sinking deeper
into the muck of ancestry. Oil lamps flicker
around us – our shadows, dark glyphs on the wall,
bigger and stranger than we are.
My Call of Words poem:
Endless Grief By Kim Johnson
From the shadows of the cruel flickers of awareness
of the disease that closed the door to a golden sunset future,
my mother wasn’t asking for answers
to the endless questions.
She became the island she lived on, her
intermittent unsteady steps
sinking into the muck
of Lewy Body Dementia,
a deepening cold toward the strangers she’d always loved,
dreaming of years long ago as today.
Four years later, why won’t my father face his grief?
He lives on in their house,
sleeping in their bed,
dreaming of catching glimpses of Miriam
In the expressions of another who cannot
see that she will never separate
his heart from Miriam – his high school sweetheart, the Love of his Life.