Thursday, March 17, 2011
More Writing Oldies from the Vault
The first poem is a short one I wrote around my senior year of college. It was written for a creative writing class lead by my professor and mentor, Peter Blewett, who now serves as Board Vice President for Milwaukee Public Schools. This poem was featured in my friend and fellow English major's senior project. For those of you who aren't familiar with a college English program, your senior year you are required to do an indepth project, usually a paper with a presentation of some sort. My friend, Amy Murre, chose to present on the need we have for art in society and made her own independent magazine. This poem was in Unsung, 1998.
I am on the ledge of knowing,
and soon I will stretch my self,
and with a silent prayer,
This second poem is very close to my heart. On Friday the 13th in November of 1998, I lost my half-brother, Greg, to the new strain of tuberculosis resistant to antibiotics. My brother was an alcoholic, something I discussed when I presented this poem in a Fox 6 News featured poetry month spot that ran
in 1999 or 2000. (Sorry, the date escapes me right now. I looked and I can't find it anywhere on the net or I would share that with you too. But I have it on VHS, which is totally useless now *grins*). My brother drank and would not see a doctor. He thought it was just a bad cold. By the time we convinced him to go to the hospital, they couldn't save him. I don't share this with you for sympathy, but to make other people aware of the serious issues surrounding alcoholism. I had to watch my elderly father bury his second son and he has never been the same since.
This poem was part of a trilogy about this family tragedy and a way for me make peace with the situation, though I don't think there truly ever is peace when something like this happens to you. It was first published in The Neovictorian/Cochlea in the Fall/Winter of 2001.
A Red Carnation
In memory of my brother, Greg
Born Dec. 27, 1954-Died Nov. 13, 1998
So this is where it all ends,
right here inside this wind-shelter
in the middle of dreary November
with a tinny pre-recorded version of "Taps"
whimpering through the veterans' speakers
like a pitiful puppy.
All of us struggling to stay strong.
and for what -
all of the get-better-soon's and we-love-you's
muttered amongst the sighing of ventilators
and the bleeping of heart monitors,
the painfulness of time stretched out
like a winding road,
waiting for the phone
to slice through the tension
of silent dinners of cold spaghetti and dry meatballs
and forks scraping on plates?
And for what?-
to follow our mundane routines,
to rise stoically every morning
and go to work and to school
while you lay there dying,
suffocating on your own phlegm?
No more vows of you going back to school
and making dad proud,
no more sketching winged dragons
and knights riding majestically into battle on Arabian horses,
no more Thanksgivings or Christmases
with you stealing all the mashed potatoes,
just this cold piece of ground
and a temporary marker until the spring thaw
when your headstone can be set on your grave.
And next Memorial Day we will attend
the ceremony for the veterans at Woods National Cemetery,
and drink lemonade and eat sugar cookies
while listening for your name to be called out from the roster,
and we'll walk through rows of white gravestones standing at
to place a single red carnation on your grave,
our father's favorite flower.
Thank you for listening today, reader.
Important Writing news: I have landed my first blog interview. More information to be announced when I have it!
I also just found a nice mention of my blog on someone else's site, Horror Books with the Undead Rat. Apparently, they liked my article about exercising your writer's imagination.
And my Godzilla/Hello Kitty story met with mixed reviews on Critters. I had preivously blogged about this story. People either thought it was funny or just plain weird. I got some feedback on focusing more on Kitty's character and checking up on some of my Godzilla facts, which is great. Always check your facts before you submit! Otherwise, you will hear about it from your readers in email some day.
As always, happy reading and happy writing to all!