Mother Love

 

This is a tribute to my Mother.

My Mother, who has always been there, for my Father, for my Sister. For me.

As I edge towards the end of my fifth decade of life, I find myself thinking about all that she must have done and seen, all that she must have lived through that I will never know about. What was it like for her before me? And what was it like having to give birth to a deformed child? And yet she nursed me. She raised me. She taught me to be a good boy. She loved my face.

She was there the day I discovered my Father could cry. My Sister poked gentle fun at her for falling asleep watching television. And she’d listen patiently as I babbled everything I thought my teenaged self needed to say. Of course, I’d figure it out eventually, whatever it was. It was just nice to know that someone cared.

My Mother.

She welcomed my soon to be Wife with open arms. She grieved on the day I married and left the nest. We continued to hold hands over the telephone. Her heart never abandoned me, my Mother, who was kindness personified. Who I strive to emulate.

And now I see that time has caught up with her. Now she’s a ghost of her former self, no longer the woman I grew up with, looked up to. Kindness personified has become a slow and drawn out forgetting. She is reduced to haunting the shadowed halls of her oldest memories. I hope at least it’s beautiful there.

Is it supposed to be like this? Is it not enough that we die? Must we also be stripped of everything we are and hold dear? Must we be taken away before we’re truly taken away? Yet we live like there will be a tomorrow, hopeful in the face of certain oblivion.

For my birthday this year I want the impossible gift. I want her disease to be lifted, thrown away. I want my Mother to live well into her nineties, happy and full of years. I’m not ready to let go.

I wish you could have met my Mother, back when her spark was compassionate and bright. But she is fading now, and most likely won’t remember you. My Mother, who loved my face. Who stooped low for me. Who fed me watermelon.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

GUEST POST // Puddles by Caroline A. Slee

I remember galoshes
Knee high
A sign of fun
As we raced
On our short legs
To find the puddles
Rainstorms
Turned our worlds
Into new and messy delights
Leaping
Like so many cannonballs
To bring our feet
Full force
Into waiting puddles
Years beyond
And climates away
Galoshes are just an unfamiliar word
Garden shoes and flip flops
Rule the day
Until the downpours hit
And children stare
At filling puddles
At a loss
For what to do
They step – gingerly, carefully –
Into waiting water
Torn between shock
And fun
The ghosts
Of all of those rain slickers
And rubber boots
Echoing laughter
Down memory’s paths

 

by CAROLINE A. SLEE
© All rights reserved 2020

GUEST POST // Memories from the dead by Richard Green

On these damp and grey November days I think
Of things that should have happened but never did.
Of conversations that were never spoken
Afraid to raise the memories from the dead.

Of the questions that were formed but never asked.
Of the the horrors that were felt but never breathed.
Of carefully made plans that never began.
Of the dreams discarded like old newspapers.

I never finished that book, that course that day.
I never figured out what I was feeling.
I never found all the words I tried to speak.
I never look back, never ever look back.

I should’ve told her how he was hurting me.
I should’ve screamed and kicked and made him stop it.
I should’ve bit down hard when I had the chance.
I should have cut his throat as he slept at night.

I could’ve been anything I wanted to.
I could’ve worked harder, been more compliant.
I could’ve been less terrified of success.
I could’ve done better, could’ve done much better.

I never developed a strong sense of self.
I never knew who I was supposed to be.
I never learned to trust my intuition.
I never really understood my feelings.

I learned to switch off and disassociate.
I learned that alcohol kept the pain at bay.
I learned that I was damaged, unloveable.
I earned not to trust people, they would hurt me.

All the wasted time of wishing I was dead
All the years never truly daring to live.
All the hurt I’ve done to others in my rage.
All this time I’ve let you walk around unharmed.

Now here I am still broken but not giving up.
Now I know my childhood was stolen from me.
Now I can survey the damage done to me.
Now I’m going to take the final fight to
you.

On these damp and grey November days I know
The things that should have never happened, but did.
Of the revelations that were never heard
It’s time to raise the memories from the dead.

 

by RICHARD GREEN
© All rights reserved 2019

beneath the burnt out sky

a black-clad harridan sits in the parvis
gazes into the dark sky with watery eyes
knobby yellow fingers stick out from mittens
like tilted candles on the requiem stone

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2019

Wordy Mikado (Fragment #017)

I stowed the wreckage of the broken poem in my pockets and dragged myself to my room. It was there that I shook out this mishmash, onto the little table in the corner, and I fell to thinking how it could be rearranged into a new poem. Some lines stuck out awkwardly here and there, and I suddenly recalled how in my childhood I would play Mikado. This flashback was so quick and so bright that it slashed through my mind like a lightning bolt.

We preferred to play with fine aluminium wires, not with woody sticks. We bent the ends of the wires into loops, hooks, and waves. This made the game more difficult because every move had to be executed with surgical precision. (By the way, I’d heard of a variation of this game that was part of the professional practice of pocket lifters.)

I found myself mindlessly poking my finger into the pile of words. My angriness fumed away. The professor’s voice echoed in my head: “And don’t spoil such precious words for glamorous bullshit.” We played with literal junk when we were children, and we did it with style. Why should I fuck with such high class stuff now?

I pulled out a long, shiny wire from the pile and smiled. I knew what I needed to do. I accurately stowed all the wordy bits into a little box and went to the library.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017