(As many of you know, I've been in my intergenerational writing group, a primarily LGBT -- actually just plain old G -- though recently being about 20% straight. I've also just started a 9-week writing group with author/poet Louise Nayer. Both have been useful, and I've gotten back on the wagon of creating something other than the vlog/blog scratches and scribbles. To merge those two worlds, I've sharing the prose poem below that has received a decidedly mixed response. I'd appreciate feedback.)
The horrible dream never came true.
So you tell yourself that you never saw it – our entire neighborhood in flames, all the children trapped inside.
Tiny fingers reaching through broken glass and iron bars hot as a sizzling grill.
No water left on earth to fight the flames, only blood and Coca-cola sputtering from the corner hydrant.
Even the ghosts had abandoned us.
You told me that the world had become too big and young for you to put up a fight anymore. You preferred to live in a secret kingdom under a red toad stool. Everything was so easy to control down there away from the sun. I enjoyed drinking from tiny tea cups with you until I realized I could do the same on my own and not hear you reading your list of regrets. I still smell the fungus left from that winter we spent down there.
Do you still tell the story of dressing up like your dead brother to revive your mother’s imagination? Then she ran away with your brother and left you with her pearls to contemplate.
Some nights I see my ancestors pushing their rag carts through the streets of Vienna, dead men’s clothes picked off that layer that separated them from the bones. They could see glistening Aryan hair in the windows of the city’s grand homes, marble blue eyes staring out at them and believing the gas lamp glow was enough to warm the brown eyed baby with matted hair in the rag cart.
I almost see them tonight as I look out from this restaurant, distracted at times by the worrisome, hacking cough of the waitress, her hunched shoulders appearing to carry the meal she wishes she could serve. I sense fire and tiny hands reaching from her throat, wanting to place her palm on my forehead, wanting to quiet the dream.
Maybe it’s there -- two walls of fire merging, and the rains return.
Labels: 9/11, death, family, Memoirs, poetry, writing