Tuesday, November 18, 2008

birthday card

*gone to mrs. basilworth's files
Anonymous said...

'making way through my flickering mantra' I have a choice...
Holy Shit. I woke my husband at 6:50am to make him listen so I could read this out loud. Is this where I call my shrink and end the relationship, or is this where I humbly beg for MORE MORE MORE! Awesome Stuff Woman

Maggie May said...

i am so so glad you enjoyed it this much! with poems like this it's a convoluted relationship, because you can't say you 'like' darkness, suffering, brutality= but you can like telling the truth, and what i call the 'accidental truths' that poetry tells, where the words come together and reveal something you didn't even mean to...

thanks LER :)

Annie said...

I don't understand every line in this poem, but I identify with the trauma and the emotion. There are things we don't ever forget, and slimy feelings, even after the disconnect by choice, or the physical death of the father, but we do survive. This poem makes me want to cry. I have moved past quite a bit, but poems like this are a reminder. My heart goes out to you.

There are many lines that stand out, and the poem as a whole, has a major impact:

"bullets lodge in body's private spaces, beyond removal."

"making way through my flickering mantra: i have a choice."

"tiny violence- i am in control of this mutilation."

"oh my darling, you were lost and gone forever
why can't you stay missing?
i killed you enough."

"... only the thin bloody line of paper cut
lies between your signature
and my survival."

Especially after a family visit, as an adult, I used to wake up every morning with a metaphorical baseball bat, poised to strike, but I never hit, because I am not that man. Now, after death, the baseball bat does not return unbidden, but I recall it sometimes, just to check the current state of my emotions.

It is not only his death that brought a measure of peace. I made the right choice and did not see him for over twenty years. But, my mother became ill, unable to travel, and if I was ever to see her again, I had to see him. Toward the end, he redeemed himself a bit, expressing a love and devotion toward my mother, and a sense of resilience and good humor I never expected, augmenting some of the pain.

Annie said...

- His end, not my mother's. She has chronic illnesses, but my mother is alive and well, loved and loving.

Maggie May said...

Annie i am so grateful for such a thoughtful, lovely response. thank you.

and... i haven't talked to my father for 9 years now. but i did just get a birthday card from him. hence...

and the briar rabbit references in the poem are from Song of the South, where the briar rabbit tricks his persecutor with some psychological warfare- pretending he DOESN"T want to be put in the briar, when actually that is the way he can escape.

thank you for sharing especially the story of your mother and seeing your father.

Jen said...

you are such a powerful writer. I so enjoy what you write. Wow.

Countrybelle said...

wow. some beautiful, heart breaking lines in there. wow.

Andrea Eames said...

You inspired me to post a poem about my dad, too. I love this one of yours - as I love all of your poetry, really.

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