all the boys liked to grab sarah’s boob one or the other when they passed her locker like she was a sideshow attraction a free one they’d honk the flesh like an old car horn some even making the arrrooogah…
I keep hearing them say:
Yet, all our lives and all the world around is a series of dramas playing out.
Of characters passing across the thrust
Of hearts being broken and lives being twisted
Into unexpected shapes tumbling towards resolution.
What kind of no drama do they mean?
No drama, you cancer-girl.
No drama, you single mother.
No drama, you exhausted supermom
No drama, never-alone, it never-lets up homeschooler.
Stalwartness shall be your burden.
Go get lost in the garden, between the dried out chrysanthemums
And water the plants alone with your
Tears. No one wants to hear you, you
Aberration. You who dares speak
Louder than the crisped interstate hum,
You who feels its OK to say out loud
She disagrees. You who
Cries foul. Leave us.
We are busy cementing our
Feet in molasses pride. You girl
Dripping with your fat emotions,
Making puddles of
Noise and need and complications
Wherever you go–
“Get out of the way, drama queen” said them,
No person anyone has
Ever met, and
No human being at all.
I thought about this today, thinking about mental illness, women, and friendship and acceptance.
This poem came up)
My moral sensibility does not
Like to be quiet and has
A pantyhose-thin filter and
I seem not to be able to
Stop the sound wave once
She latches onto an
Bullied principle or
Bloated sense of patriotism or
Some blindly ironic act of love.
She is quite loud, even in
The hair salon, and
Partial to f-bombs, because
As she tells me, people listen
When the f-bombs start
Flying. And as I hear her
Ramping up from some
“Did you hear about the so-and-so?”
I duck for cover because there
Is no stopping her
Once she starts rolling, rolling
Like a circus clown balancing
Downhill on top of a
Rubber ball. It’s often armchair
Righteousness on a Sunday afternoon
But I can see it makes her
Feel better, makes her feel
Heard, and it’s always a
Conversation others are trying not to
Have and, besides, sometimes it
Works. Sometimes people really do
Stop shopping at Walmart, stop
Buying every plastic piece of crap in their
Sleep, start timidly using the word “feminist”
To describe themselves, so
Even if she isn’t
The gentlest advocate for
Change, I am ok with it
Because loud noises often
Interrupt rapists and thieves
And wake up the living dead
And so I let her rant.
Our girls are not
Bedrock and limestone.
Take them to the dance and
Pump them full of absinth and
They are yours. But all those
Bruises rush downhill in
An avalanche of destruction,
Little man, you are
Pummeling your own
Little girl, your own
Little princess at her
Fifth birthday in the
Bathroom with your hand over
Her mouth saying shhh shhh
Don’t tell. Apologize and
Wallow in your regret; don’t
Worry little man. Another
Misguided sister will bring her
Charlied up compassion to
Bear and around and down again
The story will go until
Your own little man
In short pants and
A mantle of excuses
Centuries-long and heavy
Slams himself inside another
America’s Next Top Victim, cuz
The girl won’t go
Easy but the
I have a mother. She’s over there
In Iowa, playing Tetris.
I have three sisters, they are
Always available to me, on the phone
To laugh and retell stories. One of them
Did enough work, herself, to
Find her way all the way back from
“Who are you?” via “Who am I?”
To “Who cares? I love you anyway!” and
Because of that, we are sister-friends.
I have good girl friends, all over
Some I found in
Grad school, some on the floor of
A restaurant, on a porch swing,
In a pub.
There are those I am still
Excavating from the wreckage of
My college cyclone. Three
Revisit me all the way from the
Faraway land of Catholic school,
And seem to love me best.
One friend is Karen. She came with the
Wedding, free of charge. Insisted my hips
Will shimmy that way,
Come the day I let it all go.
She doesn’t ask me to change myself, or
Order me around; just to say,
Come in. Here’s the love. Here’s my arms–
I’ll hold you and you may lean in here,
No judgment. You are doing
Fine. Rest. Put your head down,
Sister, daughter, mother, friend.
I have got you. We are the
Same, no less, no better
And when you want to take up
The mantle again, you will be able to
Do it because all of us are here to hold you up
Say yes, you can. Know it because
You are me.
You are us.
All these play group mothers take their
Turn flailing on the Big Rug,
Tossing their scorpion glances then
Trading them the next second for
A quicksand gasp, teetering
Over the abyss of another
2 Year Old Afternoon
Beating back a thousand buzzing
Answers, and hearing almost
Nothing useful at all.
I was so tired at
7 p.m. that I excused myself
From the ravioli and
Gave over to my husband
The dishes and climbed
Up the stairs and in
Between the quilt and the
Vellux and let myself
Nothing to do. Except
Pushing my head further
Into the valley of the feathers
And counting my bones against
Muscles as it all sank against
A willing mattress.
Napping at night to the
Lullaby of three
Daughters shedding their
Day, brushing their teeth, and
An Irish folk tune.