Thursday, February 23, 2006

Face Off Poem

The CBC Poetry Face Off will be broadcast on On the Coast (Friday, March 3) and North by Northwest (Sunday, March 5) - so it's next weekend, not this coming.

In the meantime, I have checked and found out it's okay to post the poem on my blog as long as I give credit:

This poem was commissioned by CBC Radio for the Vancouver Poetry Face Off. The theme of this year's event is "irresistible." All of the Face Off poems will be broadcast on CBC1 on the dates mentioned above. When I find out which segments I'll let you know what time to tune in. The poem will be re-broadcast in April in time for voting for the Canadian Face Off Champion.

Here it is:

Mother's Day

“What would you like?
Parched beard stubble whisper in tired ear
What would you like?”
A line from an old story, a good story, just a different page
“What would you like?”

He wants to please her
Or at least to wake her up
He’s longing for the girl who drank wine with him under the stars
The girl who licked butter and lemon juice from his elbow
Lay with him on the beach at midnight
Lightweight and alien as dandelion fluff in the sand
Oblivious to the rising tide
She was…..

touched/grabbed/clutched past the brink of exhaustion
An endless expanse of sticky limpet baby love and toddler-chasing
Her body a giant pair of shoulder blades clenched and aching
Cacophony-steeped soul now closed for the day
She does not want to play
She is the antithesis of desire
And yet, he sees…

the woman who sneaked with him on a Saturday
To the office of the boss at whom he was right pissed
The woman who swept pens and papers to the floor in one bold stroke
Pushed him down on the desk
Made a bed of oak
Creating between them their own private joke
A quickening of the heart at just the thought of it

She is a run-over grocery sack lying empty at the side of the road
A wound-down windup toy that will bite you if you wind it one more time
A slack-bellied bad hair day in a nursing bra and one of his old t-shirts
Diametrically opposed to beauty
He sees her…..

golden and lithe
Tastes her like cinnamon and electricity
Wants to please her or at least to wake her up
Craves her joy

She is stuck in the current chapter
The opposite of joy
Numbed fingers trace lines of instinct and obligation
Crave nothing but rest
Still, he wants her….

“Talk to me,”
He wants to hear the girl who once told him everything inside herself
Revealed spiral staircases and triangle closets full of quaint disguises
Stories to provoke and enchant
With the richness of shared hope and imagination

She talks
Spills a tale of diapers and blender jars, mastitis, teething pain, botched baby pictures and 3 year old sibling envy, cries about an article warning of a 4-week window for the development of hand-eye coordination – miss it and the child’s doomed to have someone else tie his shoes for him for the rest of his life
Tears and milk leak into the sheets
He waits, stays close, until torrents subside

With infinite patience, gentle persistence
Harbouring, perhaps, the hope of some affection in the wake of this storm of sadness
He holds her

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay…
What would you like…to make you feel better I mean?”
Warm oatmeal muffin voice to weary heart
“Some time away?”

“Maybe,” she says
“Maybe if you take them, just part of a day…
I could read a book
Dig in the garden
Drink tea before it’s cold
Listen to the sound of my own thoughts
Feel my heart slowing
I will stand on the shelf like a jar of honey, refracting the afternoon light
Still and warm and quiet
Would you do that for me?”

“Anything,” he says
“Anything for you. Tomorrow -- your day.”

Now she holds him
“I would like that very much,” she says.
Words reassemble on the page
The old story, their story, new again
She finds him…


WestEnd Writer said...

Lovely, Mompoet.

As usual, your poem is irresistable.


Carol said...

Mompoet, I am so proud of you. I knew talent before when I read you and am now convinced.

I have marked both dates on my calendar.

mompoet said...

Thank you friends.