This is the fifth and final poem in my set of poems for the creative writing assignment due tomorrow. This last one was tough. It took me a while to decide which option I was going to go with. Ultimately I decided to do a response poem to another poem we read in class called, First Hour by Sharon Olds, which you can read here http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/56565801533 The poetry we are writing in class has to be contemporary, can’t be in rhyme, the poem has to have the same amount of concrete nouns as the poem has lines throughout. The response poems had to be opposite to the original poem we are responding too. I hope you enjoy my response poem.
Mothers Last Hour
I’m riddled with pain in my back
The sweat drips between my breasts
They yell, “Push, you can do this!”
I’m overcome with fear
Fear like seeing a spider crawl slowly up your arm
How can I do this? How can I protect another life?
I am not even sure what I’m doing with my own.
You will be my first child.
Dozing off in between each contraction in bed,
Family and friends siphoning the energy from me,
It is all out of love and concern for us both.
My modesty stripped a little bit more,
with nurses and doctors, they come and go,
So many white jackets and blue nurse uniforms come and go, strangers.
Visiting my vagina exposed to the world inside this pale room in this white bed
With splashes of red hues and pink
Beeping and buzzing from room instruments.
The room is fading to black
The noises are muffled but I hear what the doctor says,
“Hold on, almost there, things are going to be fine.”
The wind whistles in my ears and a cool wind strokes my face.
Your dad is full of panic as I am rolled to another room.
The bright lights are blinding.
My legs tremble and my heart races.
Can I finish this? Can we both make it through?
A shrieking cry echoes the room of lights. I’m exhausted yet excited.
Tears of joy stream down from my eyes as I lay on the bed
Tears drip into my ears as the room turns black one last time.
I hope you know that I loved you from conception.
It’s funny all the things in this world that don’t have much meaning to them. Well, until you lose someone special to you. Things such as lightning bugs at night, a day that mimics a distant old memory of a moment you spent with that person, things like the smell of fresh cut grass, a color you look upon from an old clothing article worn, the sound of a motorcycle revving its engine, or the smell of an oil spill from a mechanics garage….
I believe these things finally retain some sort of meaning to us after we lose someone because we want so badly to be near the person who is gone…
I find myself wanting to see stars in the night sky and lightning bugs flying around freely. I find myself wanting to see a red bandana; I want to smell the fresh grass after a rainfall, even a certain smell from the mud beneath my feet just to catch a glimpse of a childhood memory I know is there and I want to just be in that moment again even if it is only in my mind. That sound from a familiar song that reminds you of a smile they had. I find myself wanting to lie in the grass gazing it up at the stars smoking that old familiar brand of cigarettes just to feel close to a memory.
You find yourself going over all the time and space in between the years that have passed. Dredging up, from deep inside, this solemn feeling of regret; regret that you have taken advantage of the fact that nothing lasts forever like you hoped. Regret that you kept telling yourself there is always time. Saying quietly next time I will or I always have tomorrow. Then the day comes when someone tells you that special person is gone forever. You realize in that exact moment of the receiving the news how wrong you were about time, wrong about how life is tough not fragile, and how you wish you could have made just a few more memories, just a few more to add meaning to all the things you thought were miniscule, things surrounding you like the sound of rushing traffic, a cotton ball travelling in the wind, or the smell of brownies in the oven.
My dear friend Drew is gone. He left this world Thursday afternoon and these are the things I’ve been going through the last few days. I am heartbroken and I haven’t figured out how to start the healing process yet. I do not believe you heal from loss completely, you just learn to go on in a new normal of existence with that person absent. This will be the first friend I’ve gone back home to say goodbye too and that is because I loved that boy so much. I have memories with him as far back as I can remember. I feel good about a few things. I feel good that he did know I loved him and he knew he was an important friend of mine. He knew I would have moved the world for him if I had the power. I feel good that I believe deep in my heart he felt the same. The streets we grew up on were tough sometimes. Life at home wasn’t always pancakes and soda pop. School wasn’t always a playground. One thing was always constant though Drew and Rachel running together.
I look back on days of summer when I couldn’t wait to get outside to my bike so I could ride to see him. I look back at the times he snuck to my bedroom window at dark just to say what was up. What a ride. Many people around the neighborhood and school thought for sure we would have ended up being romantically involved, married, boyfriend/girlfriend but it never went that way. I think he loved me and he knew it would have ruined the years of memories we had built. It would have ruined our friendship. He was right if that is what he was thinking. Our love was more of a brotherly/sisterly love than a long lasting love that goes into marriage.
I can see him walking though our old high school, sitting at a desk in some classroom, smoking a cigarette across from the band rooms annex, walking down Hanna towards my bus stop, smiling or giving me a hand gesture as I held a camera, I can see him sitting in the back of the bus saving me a seat, looking back as I was deciding to flee the hometown to better myself with him telling me to go and I can’t help but smile.
Tears start to fall when I am done rolling those memories through my mind because I realize there is no chance of creating new memories, no more conversations, no more pictures to be taken, no more time left….because life is so fragile.
Drew I will love you forever my friend. Save me a seat up there …in the back…I remember we like it there…
It gets harder everyday
Praying to outlast the loneliness
Praying to make better choices
Trying not to drown
inside my head
being held hostage with memories
of loss and pain
the soul forsaken
in the darkness
of wanting forgiveness
everything that was taken from me
feel sick like I’m stuck out at sea
the world is oblivious
to what whirls inside
the war that wages on
does anyone really care
what others bear
what scars they hide
out of control ride
looking for a home
somewhere to belong
loneliness everlasting sting
the hold on the heart
tearing it apart
ripping it from inside
pain seeping slowly
through the veins
of the wicked
of the lost
just searching for a cure
to fit in
wanting to be loved
by the world around them
they know they are alone
no one could know
the pain they seek to hide
out of control ride
does anyone really care
what we bear
the scars on our hearts
the tears drowning our souls
with no where to go…
can anybody really know?
My last conversation with him was reminiscing about school days. We both were so excited to get back in touch and looked forward to some sort of reunion to see each other at again. He was always a joker with me. I had taken auto shop with him for two years and in those final years of school we became super close. He was one of the absolute best guys I had ever met or had the honor to have in my life. We rebuilt a mustang motor together…I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that some guy shot him dead. It is just so crazy stupid it feels like a dream or a very bad facebook prank.
We toured a school our senior year while in auto mechanics. Strange thing about that trip I only remember Gary being there because most of that trip we were together joking, dreaming, and showing up the rest of the class. OK, OK we thought we were showing up the rest of them….we were the clown posse. He made that class bearable because I was the only girl there…and well he helped me fit in. He was a great friend and support for me. Some of the guys, sometimes they made me feel inferior to them because I was a girl and fixing cars were for guys. They might not have meant to make me feel that way but they did. Not Gary. He would joke that I signed up for the class because I had a secret crush on him. Or he’d joke I signed up due to another crush on someone else. He was always joking about me being a girl in the class but he always reassured me when we’d have an assignment together that he thought it was very cool I was in the class.
I remember one time we were told by Jim Cushing to change the oil in this car. So Gary drove the car into the garage and put it on the lift. I was such an airhead that day I had forgot to put the pan to catch the draining oil underneath the darn thing before I took the plug out. Well needless to say Gary and I were drenched in oil that day. The whole time rushing around trying to get the pan under the draining oil laughing at the fact I forgot such a simple task. Man those were the best years of my school experience and Gary is a dominate memory in them. I was blessed to have had him back then.
I loved all of Gary. But there were a few things I loved most that I looked forward to experiencing again when I made a trip into my hometown for the reunion. One was his great smile. It was infectious! The other was his sense of humor…he kept things light. We had a lot of classes together but auto mechanics was the best one.
It is going to be very hard walking in that reunion with Gary gone…he was one in particular I wanted to catch up with again. He has been the third friend from my class that has left me before I got to meet up with them one more time in person. Life just isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Things haven’t turned out the way they should have been…he was taken too soon…it was a mistake…and now it’s too late and there is no going back.
I miss you Gary. I can’t wait to see you again when we can have our reunion on the other side bro. I will remember you always! 2012
It burns tonight
The pain felt within
It will never end
The emptiness inside
A part of me
Along with you shall die
The loneliness I feel
Attempt to live on
This is REAL
The memories will always remain
Death felt forever
Within my veins