"No one will listen to me! They keep ignoring me!"

Dear readers,

Been out for a while. I've been escaping the hurricane and my own apathy.

In general, I'm frustrated by my self-imposed time constraints of two-hours per poem total (one hour for the draft and one hour for the finishing). The poems have a tendency to come out half-baked and lacking soul.

On the other hand, without the constraint, I put off writing b/c of the potential time investment I would need to write the final anthem on love and being. 

So I'm still trying to figure all that out. 

Today's final poem comes to you from a scene at a hotel pool. Hope you enjoy it. I enjoyed writing it.

I dropped the draft that showed up in the past couple emails because I ended up hating it - haven't really pinned down why. But time is short, so I'm moving on.

Today's draft is hit or miss also. It comes off preachy and unnecessarily controversial upon second reading, but I like the rhythm and emotional content in the last line. It might be a kernel for something more substantial. We shall see. 

The Goddess

"No one will listen to me! They keep ignoring me!"

My youngest screams through his weeping
as he gets out of the pool at the hotel
where his five close friends are staying.

I feel a wrenching inside - like an organ has come loose.
My throat is dry and tight.
My chest constricts.
It is difficult to breathe.

Not from fatherly-empathy; from panic.

Was it me? Did I ignore him?
Please God, don't let it be because of me.
I am notorious for this particular transgression.
I am in too much debt over this and cannot take on any more
without slipping into daddy-bankruptcy.

"I keep asking them to play games, and they're ignoring me!"

Deep sobs wrack his tiny body.

"They," he keeps using the word "they."
This is a good sign. My debt is now at least half -
perhaps less, depending on the number contained in "they."

I walk over.

"Was it me, buddy?"

He gurgles up through the sobs,

Waves of euphoria enter me.
The Hallelujah chorus plays somewhere
in the ethereal realm surrounding the pool.
The chlorine has seeped into my soul
and cleansed me of my sin.

My son is still sobbing. And I am still an ass.
For the first time since he began crying,
I empathize.

Oh God, am I really this selfish?
Panic again, shame, self-loathing.

I reach out to hold him,
but his mother has beaten me to it.

I push away the cycle of self-hatred with
a noble effort of sheer will (if I do say so myself).

I allow myself to pay attention,
and begin to see the scene before me for what it is:

the woman I married is transfigured
on the paved pool deck provided by Courtyard Marriot
into the goddess of motherhood -
the oldest of the gods.

I become her fumbling disciple,
offering a lowly hug to my son
once she has completed her work.

Read on the site

Tomorrow's Draft

My sins are forgiven - 

washed in the blood

of countless slaves, civilizations, species,

wiped from the planet

to build the modern

American war machine

that lets me sit in relative safety

at this coffee shop and write

bad poetry.

Hallelujah, how the fuck do we sleep?

Look out for the final version tomorrow.

Thank you so much for reading, and reply if you'd like to chat. 


Paul Cheney