March 30, 2008

Two New Poems

Joe is losing function in his hands, can barely lift them to use the alphabet board to spell any longer. Unfortunately, he has not arranged to have an eye operated speech-generating device on-board (I had urged him to use his mother's trust fund to purchase one months ago but for various reasons he balked) and so it is difficult for him to communicate more than his most basic needs...Now I still don't know if he will buy one or use the one that rotates through the hospital at intervals and do without it more often than not. It makes me want to scream with frustration, that he has the money and will not spend it (his mother is the same way), would rather die or become utterly locked in...Especially because I know how much Joe loves to talk, how much he values a conversation!

That said, the following describes a real incident. Lynnie and I used to billow sheets over each other's headswhen we were kids, in order to induce otherworldly experiences, but in this case I did it in a shallow fashion in an effort merely to generate a breeze and cool Joe down!


Ten days after my last visit
and your hand can’t hold mine anymore
but only accept my fingers around your palm
until suddenly you need your own to speak,
struggling for the letters on the board
spelling in a panic of discomfort: Hot.
Your eyes clench and that’s when I panic too,
feeling the heat, wanting to heal and relieve...
But how do I cool you when already
you wear only a thin johnny? I lower
your one cotton blanket a modesty’s worth
but no modesty’s worth the sweat beading up
on your forehead, your face in a grimace.
Tell me then, spell it out, what do I do?
It’s an order I don’t expect you’ll obey.
But somehow, you manage, Keep the sheet.
No natural nurse, but finally I get it, separate
sheet from blanket and billow the sheet
several times for a breeze. It’s a breeze
to make you smile now and your smile is all
the relief I need and that billowing sheet
of a feeling that makes my day.

This next poem was written in response to seeing a photograph of paleolithic cave paintings of horses deep in certain French caves. The animals were so well drawn it made me wonder...


It was cold back then, even in the south of France;
everyone lived in caves, hunting and gathering in
for the daily grind or idyll, depending on how it looked.
But no matter how you look at the graceful horses depicted
in Chauvet cave, you know the hand of a master
-- generations of artist teachers-- someone with both skill
and the practiced love of horses and drawing horses put
these down with a sure eye. In the 21st century
in the 20th at least, in my childhood back in the 1950s
this would best be exemplified by those whose horse-love
could not be surpassed, nor their dogged persistence
in picturing them until the life of each one scintillated
in every detail. Which is why, when experts suggest
male shamanistic origin behind these animals, I say,
No, she painted them, one paleo-pre-adolescent Cindy,
Sheri, Carol, Marilyn, Andrea, Kerry or Michaela
like the girls in my 6th grade class, distinguished
by their horse-mad eleven years, who could never draw
a polygon to pass New Math or save their lives
but in one minute straight sketched the perfect Lipizzaner.

Posted by pamwagg at March 30, 2008 01:56 AM | TrackBack


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