All last week I felt a little trapped in the fast lane. After the photo shoot, and the excitement of a full house on the bonus side of the family, I was a few days away from a poetry reading to a crowd of five hundred plus people ages four to eighty-four. Not an easy crowd to prepare for.
The poetry reading took place at the ninth annual faculty talent show at the middle school where I have worked for fourteen years. I believe I have read an original poem there for at least seven of those nine events. (We’ll leave out any commentary about my dance performance that one year..) The event raises money for a two night and three day camping and community building event for our 7th graders in the fall. This year I read four new poems, three of which came from the water series. The first one was about my own experience in the locker room after gym class in junior high. It was an epic success.
As a thank you to the three donors who have reached out to support me so far I will be sending along your own hard copies of all the poems I read that night. To encourage a little more participation in my own modern day benefactor outreach here is my fourth water poem; Lifeguards which I began while sitting alone in the observation deck of the local YMCA swimming pool. I imagined that perhaps someone else was there too…
She pulls herself unencumbered for the last
five lengths. Almost eighty, and with deliberate consideration
in each step, the woman leaves the pool.
Her legs are bowed, her skin pale, vieny, and taught.
The back of her suit, is almost identical in shape
and color to that of the teenage girl hugging
the young man with the easily rumpled hair
coming on duty to relieve her.
The young lifeguards do not see the old woman pass.
They make no notice of her diminished bone density,
or the heaviness in her joints (relieved a little by the
swim hopefully). The thirteenth anniversary of her husband’s
death, or her frustration with her great nephew’s odd wife
do not interrupt the young people’s embrace. That she will be dutifully honored
for her years as a military pilot after the Vietnam War,
or that she lost two children because of some genetic anomaly
that will die with her, is not snap chatted during the lifeguards’ exchange.
She steps into the locker room, to shower and sauna.
Her companion admires her from the observation deck, sees her exit,
and delights so in the grace, and comfort of their friendship.
I am noticing a definite theme to my work is surfacing. I’m not quite ready to name it yet, as I am still exploring, but the awareness is powerful. It has to so with the relationship, or space between (inspired by a favorite street photographer of mine in San Francisco) two people. I feel that that space is often the place my poems scramble to inhabit. In the case of the poem above, I was also caught between the two women (who I witnessed pass and that is when and where the poem began) in how I see my own life. Layers of relationships are so compelling to me
Patronage in the modern day: I have an ambitious goal of making $500.00 today in patron donations (that would put me over half way to my $1000.00 mark for my spring campaign!!! and allow me some very necessary support to use the precious free time I have to keep writing poetry, and designing the anti bias curriculum I am committed to instead having to squander it away trying to obtain underpaid freelance writing “opportunities”.) Thank you for your consideration. Any contribution is so deeply felt as a vote of confidence in my work and voice.
How to become a MamaC benefactor:
Go to Square and email me a donation of your choosing. There are no fees, and according to my brother it takes about three minutes to set up. All you need is my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org For $25.00 you get my thanks, and one poem a month for the next eleven months. For $50.00 you will receive my thanks), and two poems a month for the next eleven months. For $100.00 you get In tact my original water poem, two new poems for the next eleven months, and a bound and signed copy of the collection by May 2015. For $500.00 you get a poem a week and a photo montage along with a bound and signed copy of the collection by May-June 2015. OR, if you are more interested in the race work please specify that in the Square email, and I will keep you informed about the progress of the curriculum and let you know as soon as it is complete.) Creating abundance and support for my layered work in the world one bold ask at a time.
For $5.00 I’ll send you a random poem and all my gratitude for believing in me.
Total raised so far: $300/$1000 spring benefactor goal >>>>>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.