Saturday, May 08, 2010

With Every Vein

—Photo and Poem by Ronald Edwin Lane, Weimar

A perfect daughter to love and to hold
With her bare little feet
Each tipped with five tiny toes
To wiggle her way through her days
And to stand
And to walk
And to run
And to leave impressions in the sand
And to play games
Such as hopscotch
And “This little piggy went to market”
And to one day
Carry her away as a woman
Perhaps to distant lands
And wherever those toes may go
She shall understand
That I will always be there for her
To lend a helping hand


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

(in memory, Frances Ronan Goff, 1917-1998)

In the one picture I have left of you
you turn a didactic back. More evident,
your fiesta mood: you’re traffic-copping tricycles.
Your bangled wrists, as if to the skipping theme
of “Ding Dong School” or “Romper Room,” set palms
aslap in a Kodak blur. Hips schoolmarm-calm,
hair lightly permed, your bent, your whole intent
is for letting three boys train-track down the pine-
board floors on wheels that clunk. We whee and whoo
in homespun cyclones, lust for Popsicles.
Progressive Education proudly thrives:
No Silly Songs bid this kid carousel scurry on.
Our Long Plays centrifuge hot Khachaturian.
The Saber Dance in xylophones unhives!
Your blouse, photo gray here, whispers, Mommy’s nice,
in blue and orange notes, with birds-of-paradise.


—Dawn DiBartolo, Citrus Heights

mother has always been

both pit bull
and poodle ~

can't see true
thru her own hair;

not in anger
but razor tongues

~ just gleaming with rich ruby blood

dripping diamonds and
other precious jewels concealing death.

i used to dream
of her in castles,

across a moat too vast
for us to reach.

i was the drawbridge
extending endlessly ~

no trench nor solid ground
could divert me;

yet the distance between us
is of her making.


—Dawn DiBartolo

when I slip back to childhood
simply for memory’s sake,
firstly, there is this keloid,
a non-fading wound
viewed from the outside:
a little girl,
pink corduroyed legs
dangling as she sits
on the porch steps
of the white
plantation-style house
in the heights. beside her,
mother hangs her head
into trembling hands,
cuts of sane self
bleeding into the years
and crusting over in the
chilled ohio breeze.
she’s violently beaten
into disenchantment
so that one day,
nothing is real.
the child sees / knows /
feels only mother;
the hot tears down her cheeks
were never her own,
yet dampen everything she is.


—Dawn DiBartolo

i have the same dream
every night, with winged
adaptations to the ongoing fantasy;
but she was never angel.

like the horizon, precisely where sky
and earth meet, i made myself seamless ~
a defensive balance… necessary to survive.

so, they call me and cry,
“she’s fallen again!” i say
“because she’s no knowledge of bottom.”

still, i am helpless in the undertow of my
infatuation, struggle for a moment,
then let go…like so many times before.

i’ve been drowning since my birth,
suffered a thousand separations
from what should have been my net.

she is a precious hell,
a binding torment
i can neither tolerate
nor escape.


—Dawn DiBartolo

when i was young,
i loved a girl
i didn’t know,
nor did she know
we came to an impasse
of grays
and seeing no other option
fell content to stay there.

when i was teen,
certain weaknesses
came between
she & i,
and the way we began
to see things
was victimized
by the shadows of time
that played in both
our eyes,
and so we closed them,
more than happy
in our inability to see.

and that i now know me,
the girl i fell out
of love with
has older eyes,
with misperceptions
still caught in the corners,
the sleep that will always
be there.
but knowing its existence
no longer blinds,
cuz i can see her
with truer vision,
and dream content
that she is simply
the image that she projects.



…for me,
she said, as if my existence
were dependent
upon her approval.
tap, jazz,
like i’m to
shake my ass
to fit the choreography
she’s laid down before me,
like her footprints made stone
of sand.
but i’ve always been
the one in the back row
going right
when everyone else
is going left,
and determined
to feel my own music.

just dance
…for me,
she said, like life
was center stage,
and i was the star.
“and i’ll watch you
twirl about,
judging the length
of your arm span
from afar.”

and begrudgingly,
i do oblige
cuz the little girl inside
still seeks
her audience of one.

—Dawn DiBartolo


—Chrys Mollett, Angels Camp

Years ago I wrote a poem
about my Mother as The Black Widow—
The poem itself was full of venom.
I found surprising things looking for that poem—
But couldn't find it.

Now my Mother's ninety,
and has little venom left.
But I inherited enough of it
to resent certain things still.

Now I do her mail and bills—
Launder the underwear
she wets every day—refusing Depends.
I clean the kitty box
and sup with her on Sundays
For these little tasks I pay myself enough
to not feed the venom.

I'm resigned to the mixed grace
of aiding an aging woman
who is my birth mother.
Who remembers so little
of the great ship she once was.
And whose life is growing smaller
as mine gets busier.

I stay away sometimes
when my plate is too full.
I don't want to feed the venom.

Pampered—Maybe she'll outlive me—
Or, I'll find that Black Widow poem
after she's gone—
And look back with delight and appall
Upon the times of high venom.
Hers and mine.

Mothers are leaves
whose every vein
supports their offspring,
whether Abel or Cain.

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento


Today's LittleNip:

No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.

—Florida Scott-Maxwell