Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Beauty of the Deadline / Poem: His Hands

By one in the afternoon I needed to have 8 copies of a new poem to hand out at my Willow Grove Writer's Group. A self-imposed deadline. I did write Stephen of my desire to write and blog it. A written notification of this sort keeps me accountable to myself and to someone else. This is also why we set goals at New Directions and also with my psychotherapy clients.

The poem of course is about my boyfriend whose hands I look at when he's fast asleep. Two weeks ago I knew I wanted to write about them. I jotted down some notes but promptly lost them. I began the poem last nite - it was quite awful - I mean really bad - but at least I began. At 12 noon today I sat down with my mellow jazz on the stereo and drew up a new document.

Then I decided to call my son Dan who I learned is having a bachelor party tonite at a "gentleman's club" downtown "if anyone shows up," he said.

I told him of my self-imposed deadline and he said, "Well, Mom, I'm not gonna enable your procrastination" so we hung up, I turned up the music and began to t-h-i-n-k.

Scott was outside cutting our lawns. Thank god. The sweat was running down his nose and his cap was wet. I held up the poem.

Can I read it later, he said.

Sure, I said.

He had no idea what it was about.

He followed me inside his house where I'd leave it on his kitchen table.

I don't have my reading glasses, he said.

Here's mine, I said handing him my black secretary glasses that make me look like my 87-year-old mother.

He sat down and began reading.

Oh, it's about me, he laughed. So that's why you asked me those questions last nite about the tools I use.

It's not 100 percent accurate, he said.

I know, I said. I don't care about that. I wanna create an image in my readers' minds. I did not write this to make you happy or to satisfy you.

I know, he said. You wrote it to satisfy yourself. I like it. It's good. It's very very good. Can I keep it?

Of course, I said. I've gotta go outside now and wipe off the bird crap on my car.

a catholic schoolboy’s across his
his tiny hands
how they trust him

the things he does with them
the places they go
he is a fixer of trains
a well-proportioned boy
fledged into the body of a man
his locker holds
a blue uniform
and airtight boots
with tips of steel
they call him on the loudspeaker
“Sherman to the car house!”
tools strapped to his belt
a silver flashlight
brightening the
womb of darkness
he crawls
like a stalking cat
hands nimble on the blind keyboard
of wires and switches
hard gleaming metal
wires and cable
the abdominal cavity of trains
where he lives

his whole life
lived in trains
and in rest from trains

1 comment:

  1. You have done it again, my dear! I love your system of setting up accountability by notifying someone you are going to do this and stating the deadline. I do that all the time, but never really thought of doing it about a piece of writing I am wanting to work on. Thanks for the idea.

    I also related strongly to your jotting down ideas for the poem on scraps of paper and losing them, as I do that as well. I supposed a PDA or something to have at all times and take notes would work for us both but I am loathe to give up my papers, which I find everywhere with snippets for poems or articles (mostly that I can't read easily due to my horrible handwriting).

    I love how you take simple happenings and observations, breathe life into them and always make them interesting.

    Finally, your poem about Scott's hands...How simple, how meaningful and full of feeling and respect. Loved it!

    Also loved how Dan would not enable your procrastination. Good for him.