I’m using daily prompts associated with Inktober (artists doing ink drawings) to spur poetry this month. The poems flow from the prompts, though it may not be obvious (at all); and sometimes the poems are revisions of earlier poems that came to mind when I mulled the prompt. If there’s a photo in the post, it was chosen after the poem was written. I’m “showing my work” by offering some of the words, phrases, associations that came to me for each prompt. The poems may or may not have anything to do with gardens, gardening, or “nature” as it’s commonly considered. To see all the poems (once they’re written), check the Inktober landing page.
* * * * *
Today’s prompt: PATTERN
Some associations: repeated or recurring decorative design, model, motif, a regular arrangement, sequence, touchstone, blueprint, archetype, something to copy, instructions for sewing or knitting, tessellated, mosaic, a regularity in ideas or in the world, repeating in a predictable way, diagram, impression, stencil, method, constellation, thought pattern, a pattern language, holding pattern
When We Can’t Breathe
The women in my family,
when faced with expectations,
when convention makes us uneasy,
turn to alcohol, obsessive needlepoint,
heroic working hours, recreational shopping and
socially acceptable shoe-buying,
background TV all day, sometimes all night,
sleep-induced dreams of alternate lives,
carefully controlled starvation diets,
binge eating, agoraphobia and wanderlust,
anything to prevent our own noticed escape
from the stranglehold of each day.
We love the men who want us to be normal
even when the noose of their bright
concern for us pinches the oxygen
from our bodies and dangles us limp
inside the dependable bedroom closet.
We’re pained by their watchfulness
when the abnormal threatens,
when we curse and whisper and say how we feel,
when we withdraw, hide, jettison, flee, slip, crack, gulp,
when we take off for a day or a week to roam asunder
without the comforting embrace.
We’re done in by their apprehension
when we change, age, shift, remodel,
when we rip patterns in our wrists,
when we cut our losses,
when we slash what tethers us to the familiar,
when we unaccountably cartwheel, catapult,
become reckless, court danger, risk, abandon.
because these men are gentle,
they are unbearably permissive, tolerant,
breathtakingly willing to understand, to love us
in spite and maybe because.
They adjust, they adapt, they are mortally wounded
by our inability to observe regular mealtimes,
to sleep and wake by the clock,
to be the safe and steady partners
Their assumption that we’ll persist
tears our savaged skin into constant morsels
that we slosh in our mouths,
swallowing our compassion, our compunction, and inhaling
our enduring sadness for this conspiracy that chokes the air,
that leaves us fatally safe without rendering us harmless,
that bewilders them without taming us.
* * * * *