Monday, June 22, 2009

for Odie

She sets a tinfoil square close
to my scalp, separates a hair
section, dips her wide brush
into lavender goo and paints.
Comb for straight edge
she folds the foil, says I
could choose my own name.
I've decided on Ama-
it rhymes with Gramma,
but has way more glamour.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby Quinn is out of the womb
and in the world and I have made
three lasagnas in three days
which you wouldn't think would
be related except that I'm gramma
not mama so I'm the one with the oven mitt.

I'm in my place. Once again, doing my job that means I try to make it so that I'm out of a job - two mornings holding the baby so mommy and daddy could sleep then this morning I let myself in and they're all zzzing away in the bed so I crept downstairs and washed strawberries and put dishes away as quietly as I could. This is not my dance. My dance card not only is not full my dance card is in a foreign language from the past and my daughter radiates heat and health and smells of mother's milk and beginnings. Her daughter falls asleep at the breast without latching on and has a tiny mouth. A lactation consultant suggested sacro-cranial manipulation for the baby who also has a tight string under her tongue. Like I do. That foreshortened thingy-deal that a doctor recently asked me about. "Did you have a speech impediment when you were young?" No. Do you want a punch in the eye? I didn't really ask him if he wanted a punch in the eye, but I had a reflex inside my mind that said it. My son in law made a jokey fist and waved it at me when I said I have the short thingy deal that has a very official sounding name that people who have normal tongues can remember. Mine is too tied - it's that tongue-tied thingy deal I could probably look up right now on the internet except that my temper like my tongue holder is short and I don't want to and in my refusal is my power. I'm a powerful refuser. That's not such a great skill, really, but I'm good at it. Let us all celebrate and exaggerate what we are good at for at least a few minutes a day. I'm going to add caveats to that one. If you are good at holding back like me that's okay but if you're good at socking people in the nose then just cool it and get some fricking help already.

If you are bearing with me, I will continue about my granddaughter who is a little pea in a pod in her little green swaddling blanket. Her mommy or her daddy hand her to me all pod-shaped with her beautiful perfect little face with eyes like her mommy's and lips like her daddy's and an intensity all her own. She isn't radiating baby-heat yet, so new out of the womb. Her daddy goes downstairs to work, two floors and it's too far away to stay longer than ten minutes, he says. He misses her smell. How can anybody doubt we're mammals? Take OFFENSE that we're mammals? My best friend for eleven years was a dog mammal. She didn't hide her empathy or hold blame or invest a minute of her valuable time on recriminations. She'd have loved this new girl baby. I love this new girl baby. She makes my eyes water just to think of her out here with the rest of us. All of us opening and closing our hands and squinching up our faces, our little chins quivering. We don't know what we want, but we want, we want, we want.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tell Me That You Love Me, Baby Q

Another night with no phone call to come to the birthing center,
My daughter thinks maybe the placenta's gone rogue
My son-in-law undulates an arm, says "One-armed squid,"
we all laugh though my younger daughter, squeamish,
squeezes her face and makes retching noises. That belly
bulges enormous, baby maybe seven maybe nine pounds
and growing. My younger daughter's dog leaps at the bulge -
"Dogs do that," my daughter says. They want to get at
that little being. That little being we want to get at too.
Count those fingers and toes, snuffle that fuzzy head.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

That's what I'm talking about!

A poem that riffs on "Ballad of the Gypsy" by Langston Hughes written by a 7th grade boy, PERFORMED by the boy and two friends at the cafe reading - whose idea? THEIRS!

The teacher said she found the 8th graders clustered around a computer at lunch, thought, "They KNOW they aren't supposed to be playing video games," walked over, found they'd Googled "Bang Bang Outishly (for Monk)" by Amiri Baraka, which I'd had them listen to in class, and were listening to it. OH YEAH!