Monday, June 23, 2014

Hello Grief!

Today I chanced upon this poem by Matthew Dickman- just the right words for today! I saw the poem as a movie, descriptive, graphic...I love the representation of grief as a "purple gorilla". I love her gentle admonition of the poet's handling of her grief- the crying in the check-out line, the smoking and drinking. The whole poem is beautiful in its honesty. And it is me all the way.

Reminds me of a poem I had written sometime back. First Matthew's and then mine.

Grief- by Matthew Dickman
When grief comes to you as a purple gorilla
you must count yourself lucky.
You must offer her what’s left
of your dinner, the book you were trying to finish
you must put aside
and make her a place to sit at the foot of your bed,
her eyes moving from the clock
to the television and back again.
I am not afraid. She has been here before
and now I can recognize her gait
as she approaches the house.
Some nights, when I know she’s coming,
I unlock the door, lie down on my back,
and count her steps
from the street to the porch.
Tonight she brings a pencil and a ream of paper,
tells me to write down
everyone I have ever known
and we separate them between the living and the dead
so she can pick each name at random.
I play her favorite Willie Nelson album
because she misses Texas
but I don’t ask why.
She hums a little,
the way my brother does when he gardens.
We sit for an hour
while she tells me how unreasonable I’ve been,
crying in the check-out line,
refusing to eat, refusing to shower,
all the smoking and all the drinking.
Eventually she puts one of her heavy
purple arms around me, leans
her head against mine,
and all of a sudden things are feeling romantic.
So I tell her,
things are feeling romantic.
She pulls another name, this time
from the dead
and turns to me in that way that parents do
so you feel embarrassed or ashamed of something.
Romantic? She says,
reading the name out loud, slowly
so I am aware of each syllable
wrapping around the bones like new muscle,
the sound of that person’s body
and how reckless it is,
how careless that his name is in one pile and not the other.

from American Poetry Review, 2008

Companion (Mine)

For lack of a better word,
I call her loneliness.

She creeps in on the busiest of days
when I don’t have a moment of spare
Stands boldly in front of me and forces me to stop

The cantankerous machine comes to a grinding halt
Screeching, squeaking, complaining
Yet, surprisingly, a little relieved…

I welcome the companionship she offers- like an old friend
The sadness she carries on her- like a halo
The deepness she comes with- like the ocean
The quietness she is wrapped in- like the night

But since I can’t stop for long
I allow her to sit beside me
My sister
And I crank up the machine again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy but not gay!

Such is the power of half-baked knowledge that when two women from different worlds, different socioeconomic classes, become close friends and enjoy each other's company, the only explanation is they must be lesbians. Such is the innate need to label people and relationships that break norms and present situations not encountered before! Such is the desperate need to dust one's hands off and say "There, I figured it out"!

Well, I am not gay, unfortunately. Wish I was, cause women are by far better people than men!

So folks, you are not done. Think more. Stretch your limited thinking. There is no existing compartment for what I am, so it's not possible to push me into one. Stay foxed. 

Being Useful

In the last four months, being busy with family affairs- niece's wedding, my surgery, family holidays, cooking for a large family and their friends, Atreya's college move, trip to Europe, ill health upon return- my work had taken a backseat. I had reduced my consulting assignments to a minimum and stopped my teaching in schools and Anganwadis.

And as expected, the feeling that I was not doing enough crept in. And as is the nature of our relationship, I wrote to Atreya about it. His response was so beautiful and comforting. I love him for it. This from a man who has always known his mom as a busy working woman. Am I lucky to be his mom or what?

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Some Days

I don't wear my singlemomhood
Like a crown of thorns
I don't make too much of it.
It's neither an honor
Nor a burden
It's just a fact.
Not a pitiable fact
Not a glorious one
It's just a fact.
On most days that is...

But on some days
I allow my eyes to well up
And the heart to burst with sadness
Not out of self pity
Nor out of fatigue, or loneliness
But just out of a feeling.
Not a pitiable feeling
Nor a noble one
Just a feeling.
But only on some days...

Father's Day

Today is father's day. I see so many FB posts of my friends thanking their fathers. But I have desisted. Despite the fact that I loved my dad a lot and miss his calm presence.

Maybe it's because here I see fathers who get drunk every night and have no relationship whatsoever with their kids.

Maybe it's because here I see other fathers who stay sober but still don't have any relationship with their kids.

Maybe it's because when I asked my school kids, whom I teach on and off, who their most favorite family member is, only one child said it was her dad. Everybody else said it was their mom.

But mostly because my kids have no father. My little girl has never had a father, and my son hasn't had one since he was seven.

My kids are wonderful people- wholesome, somewhat crazy but happy, fully-loved and fully-loving kids. This family is fatherless.

Happy missing Father's Day!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I hate cities

Tall lonely apartment buildings
Huge department stores
Coffee shops
That is what cities are.
I hate cities
Cities swallow children.