Today’s prompt invites us “to think about your own inspirations and forebears (whether literary or otherwise). Specifically, I challenge you today to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems. These could be poems/poets/people that you strive to be like, or even poems, poets, and people that you strive not to be like. There are as many ways to go with this prompt as there are ways to be inspired.” ~ NaPoWriMo, Day 14
This was a tough one for me. Not because I haven’t had my share of inspirations, but because my first guide into poetry was my mother, who was a genius of a poet and a tortured human being. When I was very little, I used to scribble on the back of her discarded manuscripts, imitating her. I didn’t know the alphabet yet, but if anyone asked me what I was writing, I would lie through my teeth and believe my own lies. My mother passed in 2011–and the older I get, the more absent she becomes. Or, perhaps, more present, because I think of her more often, while trying to come to terms with the complicated relationship we had when she was alive. The poem below addresses grief more than gratitude, though I hope that gratitude shows up in subtle ways. As for the outlandish story the poem spins, I don’t know what things are like where my mother is now–but I want to believe that she’s at peace–and loving–and loved.
PS–Most of the poems written this April will remain online for up to five days, after which they will be replaced by an excerpt, an erasure, or a thoroughly amateurish art piece that will only allow for bits of the original poem to peek through. At least, this is the plan. The reason being that, at some point, in the hopefully not too distant future, these drafts will undergo revision and begin their multiple-year pilgrimage through the slush piles of many a literary journal. So help me, O Muse.
PPS–The original draft went to my work-in-progress folder and has been replaced by an erasure. The seashell angels, with their heads planted properly on (see Day 13 for clarification), have staged a seashell funeral. It kind of matches the tone of the original poem as well as the erasure, so I’m letting them get away with it.
Poetry from the trenches, Day 14