I'm trying to keep up with my oh so cool, way too talented poet friends who are posting new poems for NaPoWriMo. Naturally, I'm behind. I'm working on a much longer project of my own. Anyway, in today's freewrite, I wrote something that may be a poem, or it may want to be a short story. Hat tip to Mom and her very oddball stream of consciousness rationalizations.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MY GRANDFATHER - DRAFT
Your life is still mystery. There’s a tape that repeats in your head
and it misses all the details I’d like to know. How it felt
to jump so high and land on your feet for the first time.
The starch and itch of a white shirt around the collar of your neck.
The honeysuckle and freesia perfumed air just an hour before dusk
and the dark wet smell of boiled water for laundry. The bitter and syrupy flavor
of molasses on a dry biscuit on your tongue, grateful for the meal
and treat all in one. How blood tasted like dirt and rocks in the crack
of your bottom lip when you folded inside your mouth to suck it dry
after the old man slapped you quiet. How your hands were sore
and scarred from splitting cotton blossoms from the field. The facts of your life
are in all these things too. But you don’t let us in. The South is fantasy
in wistful reflections inside gravelly voices. Those were the good ol days.
Days so good that you remind us often, of how so many of you took
I94 north from the heat and burn of tyranny and indifference. You left everything
you knew to be remade in America, the beautiful. The bountiful. Followed the road
to factories, steel mills and car plants. You were going to do so much better
than your parents. Make your own way in the world, working harder than
the liliest of white hands next to your mashing metal into the frames of vehicles.
Until they closed the plant and the wealth didn’t trickle down but became
pounds of unnaturally colored surplus cheese. I see you now, every Sunday
steadfast in the belief that the everlasting arms will hold you up and shower
you with answers a cruel world never revealed. Something greater than
the force of will that brought you north in the first place to tell you
a secret you should’ve known all along. You do belong and you are loved.