Tag Archives: childhood

10 Songs with the Memories Pinned on

“Twenty Miles” Deer Tick
The last song on the cd in the car changer,
It would end just as I was twenty minutes away from my college apartment
That was my escape from my mother’s house in the summer.
He sang the kind of grittiness I wanted to feel,
He sings like he’s seen something to make him yearn,
I wanted that.
It was the drive from my hellish internship to the southern part of the state,
Trees, winding hills, freedom, and limestone,
And my own music no one else had heard of.

“London Calling” The Clash
My sister was getting ready in her wedding dress in my childhood blue bedroom.
I needed her calm.
She was turning into the unmanageable sixteen-year-old again.
So I played Clash from my phone, and set it on top of the white hamper.
To distract.
I couldn’t listen to them for years afterward.
They would take me back to that stress,
That fidgeting anger, that is my sister.
And, more importantly,
The last time I was vulnerable to her.
I said she was the most important person to me,
In my wedding toast.
That winter, she asked, “what do you want from me?”
And I’ve asked for nothing ever since.

“Go Your Own Way” Fleetwood Mac
I moved to Alaska this year.
Like your cell phone when you’re looking for it,
Or your girl when you’re sharing your heart,
I’m very rural and remote.
I’m on an island.
It can be debilitating.
When my car finally got here,
I took it out on the white gravel road at an early hour on a Sunday before moose season,
I blasted this song as loud as I could,
And reminded myself I love to sing,
I put my hands out the windows,
And soared.

“Pale Blue Eyes” The Velvet Underground
The last year of college,
My friends had moved on,
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,
I felt ill prepared and a disappointment
And my roommate refused to turn the heat up.
I was cold always.
I would cook to warm up the kitchen.
It will always take me back there,
To sitting on countertops eating oatmeal watching the gray-blue dawn,
Hoping the night would last a little longer into tomorrow.

“Read My Mind” The Killers
I had a car full of friends.
We blasted this driving on old country roads,
My shotgun singing loudly after her tequila & worm
I was still nervous around people,
Waiting for them to reject me
For something I didn’t know I’d done wrong.
But, for right then,
I wasn’t bored, and it was a beautiful night.

“Heart in Your Heartbreak” Pains of Being Pure At Heart
My first college party, when I was determined to go with it,
They handed me vodka in red solo cups,
I didn’t say it was my first drink,
A boy started talking about this band, and their new album,
I loved their new album,
He said we could listen to the record in his room,
I followed,
My friend got in a drunken fist fight with her boyfriend,
And I went up to take care of her.
I saw him again when he made my sandwich at the deli counter,
I don’t think I registered.

“Fast Car” Tracy Chapman
My mother would buy me dinner on Friday nights after work in the city.
I would drive back north, late,
It was always a wonderful drive,
I had nothing to do the next day,
And no responsibilities on my time.
I could sing as loud as I wanted,
And listen to my favorite parts again and again without
The risk of annoying anyone.
It made me glad I was alone.

“O Holy Night”
My brother has a beautiful voice.
For a year or two there, he kept his high register, and his baritone came in,
And we sang this song a cappella in the kitchen while I made Christmas cookies,
Just for fun,
Just to see what we could do,
I didn’t have shame, for a minute,
We just had fun with a very silly song.

“Thunder Road” Bruce Springsteen
My sister’s husband doesn’t like when people sing along to a song he’s never heard.
My mother and I visited them in Texas.
I put this song on in that tiny four door,
And the three of us,
Who know all the words,
Because of my father,
Said screw you to her husband,
Cut off all conversation,
And sang our hearts out for a couple minutes
Stuck in highway traffic on the way back from IKEA
With a bookcase stuck out the back window.
Loved, and free.
This is the song my father sang to me in my mother’s stomach.
This is the song I discovered for myself, in 8th grade, with a portable cd player, could make me feel and think,
This is the song that made me want to write.
This is the first song I learned all the words to on purpose.
This is my litmus test for a relationship.
This is the song I lip-sync to at midnight in the pitch-blackness of my room,
To remind myself how to feel, and how to air-guitar.

“Elephant Love Medley” Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor et. al
I’ll always do something wrong, and they won’t like me anymore,
Whatever I don’t want to parse from my childhood,
All seems to be stuck in this song,
When my sister would yell at me for singing a line of the wrong part,
Then not speak to me for a week,
When I didn’t understand why she loved this movie so much,
When I wanted to make myself like it,
And not think it was weird,
I wanted so badly not to be in the middle,
But not noticed either.
For some reason, it brings it all back, this little mix-ballad,
To that summer when she would push me and yell at me to see
How long it took till I cracked,
Then say, “ha, I can’t believe you’re angry.”
And throw me out of her room.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Seventy)

I’ve written poems now for seventy days in a row. Goodness. That seems extensive.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 70

Poem 1:
Our porch was made out of concrete.
Never added chairs or anything.
It should have been the front door, the porch door,
But it didn’t lead to the driveway.
It had been a while
Since I’d opened that one,
I thought I’d left an tricycle with pink wheels
Behind the screen door.
So I checked, with a creaking,
To find a faded purple bike
With stringy ribbons from the handle bars
Sat in the corner
With the gray dusty concrete
And white chipped paint mesh door.
My plastic tricycle looked so small,
After I checked up on it.

Poem 2:
If a picture turned into a puddle
A little frame to where it’s light was held
I could put my hand through it
With a spoolsh
And touch grass
And ice and horses and lions
All the things the light touched
And the camera found.

Poem 3:
If I had been the girl I am now,
Who can hold her head straight,
I would have said hello loud
And clear without cold wondering reserve.
We would have been good friends,
Who talked and laughed about adventures,
And I would have beautiful hair
With soft shining waves,
And someone would understand me just so.
But I mumbled and jitted around
And you passed me by looking for
A strong tree friend to rest with shaded and cool.

Poem 4:
Gravestones crack in half
Because a riding lawn mower plows
He doesn’t mind cutting grass over boxes of people
Can’t hear the stone snapping
He just wants to get home.

Poem 5:
I got lost in a pattern on a scarf on a woman’s neck
I wondered who made that
Who put in the numbers in the pattern for the machine
Did they think,
How enchanting, flowers in a row.
She looks up at me and catches my lost stare.
She got it on sale, I bet.
Her pattern mild.

Poem 6:
I made an obstacle course for ladybugs
So many in floods of clusters in the window sills,
Orange spots.
I had little styrofoam tunnels and mountains
If the bugs climbed through,
I’d set them free.
Someone should have watched me closer
For the oddities of the bored child scare the now adult.

Poem 7:
I wanted to wear the cream sweater with the beaded butterflies
Mom refused to handwash it for me
So I did, in the sink, stood on tip top toes.
I set it out to dry on the hope chest at the foot of my bed
For morning.
Still a bit damp, but I had no other shirts.
So I wore it and rubbed my arms.

Poem 8:
She took me to the teen girls store
I’d always wanted to go in, just me, not my sister,
For new things she hadn’t bought me
Because she forgot I’d grown.
I bought jeans and matching tops and pants
I could zip off at different lengths that swished in bright neon blue.
She said two hundred dollars! But spent it anyway, with a
Look on her face. I said I can put some back,
But no.
She brought it up the next time I needed a new shirt.

Poem 9:
I print out a list of names for my boss.
I put them in a file folder.
All those people stuck in manila.
Trapped in the folders with the labels too.

Poem 10:
I’d like very much to have a billion dollars
For being me at the right time and place.
It happens in all the stories.
Me too please.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Fifty-Six)

I wrote some poems under a time limit again. To see if I could. I did.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 56

Poem 1:
Once I’m married
She’ll worry about if he’s good enough
And when we’ll have children,
If they’re being raised right,
Then how happy we are.
If I move out, and away,
On my own with my own money,
I won’t ever be able to stop them,

Poem 2:
If I drove a truck,
I would think
I get this far, then I can go home.
Then I get to see her.
If I finish doing this,
I get to sleep.
And in a couple days it will be the weekend.

Poem 3:
He sent me new jobs over email.
If I told him off
The worst he could do
Would be stop talking
Because he doesn’t help
In any other way
And I only talk to him
From kindness.

Poem 4:
I find it
And I remember thinking
What I thought when I left it there
It should have been so easy to find.
I put it right there
Somewhere different
So I remembered.

Poem 5:
He told me he’d take more melatonin
It’s the natural stuff
So he can sleep
When he can’t get booze.

Poem 6:
I think I’ve seen so much
Then someone tells me a story
And my house becomes a stable
Full of sheltered me
Who’s never seen this sun.

Poem 7:
His name was Patrick
And he wore SpongeBob t-shirts
He helped me count all the countries in Africa
But he got in the way of my work.

Poem 8:
With blonde hair and a wide nose
She told me I laughed so much, must be why I’m skinny
It works out muscles to laugh. She’d read.
Should I be worried about how skinny I am?
I hadn’t noticed if she wasn’t shaped like me.

Poem 9:
He won’t see it from another way.
Told, look at it from her perspective.
Sigh that hides the anger.
Anger to show that why couldn’t they just
See it his way.

Poem 10:
I swam at the Y with a class
To get a certificate.
He watched, because Mom wasn’t there.
The girl I swam with got bumped up
And I didn’t.
He yelled at the black suited instructor
She’s just as good as the other girl
Followed her stroke for stroke.
No it’s ok, stop, please, she was better than me
Don’t get angry at her
Anger is private and you’re at the pool.
I would have gone on to swim more if hadn’t shamed me
For being less than the best.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Fifteen)

This. I have written ten poems in twenty minutes for fifteen straight days. Seems impossible.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 15

Poem 1:
First time I decided not to share
I think I held back because no one noticed
Somehow they didn’t get to know because they didn’t see

Asphalt as the playground outside the box white pre-school, kindergarten, grade school
I wanted to run as fast as
So I did
I fell and skidded
I don’t remember the blood just the that the square and taped gauzy and white
It took weeks before I realized there were three big strikes on my knees not a red square
Mom never asked, still scarred
They didn’t get to hear what happened

Poem 2:
I saw her chase a fence squirrel
I didn’t think she had it in her
Maybe it is just dog arthritis
I’ll find her not breathing later
Stupid dog making me care

Poem 3:
Slammed the drawer so hard the whole front broke off
It just cracked I guess
Power to shut
No power to hold
Just like me then

Poem 4:
After I gained some weight
It’s easier to catch food when it falls on you
That’s nice

Poem 5:
I kept vigil while she drove just to check
Then I nightmared she didn’t see that car again
Turned to the other side
Folded pillow under my knee
Calling up all my tricks to see just the

Poem 6:
My one friend I sit with in a bar
She’s so different from me I take solace
She’ll ask exactly what you mean when you say that
Then keep asking till she’s figured it out and how it relates to her
My greyness, ambiguity and rhyme seek this plainness
Open to nothing but lines

Poem 7:
The zip code numbers made us friends
A cruel girl
Who straightened her straight hair
And talked Colbie Caillat
She talked out of your code
To tell those girls all you did
How you practiced making sexy faces in the bathroom mirrors

Poem 8:
He asked me to sew on the patch
Square and colored to show a new belt for kicking well and high
Broke the needle into my finger
He said you can finish later
There’s no hurry

Poem 9:
She sits and chats with her people she knows
You’re in that odd circle of standing people
But you don’t speak
They don’t talk to you
So you pull on her arm as hard as you can in your mind
Like she doesn’t even remember she’s obliged to you
They keep talking new colors for the concrete

Poem 10:
Pure red river honey
On the bottle
This bottle
My bottle
Rumbly tumbly mason jar
If I stuck my hand in that jar I could leave hand prints