Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Umbilical Ode

Such small indentation, crinkled, folded
a sow’s ear – soft stroked
as the skin of a newborn
who screams on separation from its mother,
ridged, silently capturing years of dirt
thrown in accusation or merely
by accident –
an eye peering back in contemplation,
with lint in it.

For years you have sat squarely in my belly
a silent Buddha,
sometimes laughing
from within folds of my flesh,
poking a barefaced tongue out
as I strip in front of the mirror.
Once you were my lifeline, my pulsating bond,
the blood hurtling
from my mother’s warm ventricles
throbbing through coiled conduits
squeezing past the gut,
taking the hook turn past the ligamentum teres
of the liver and round the joyride of my heart
to arrive barefaced and breathless back
at you, the waystation,
the conductor,
the portal.

When I gaze at you nightly
for some hint of divine inspiration,
I see the flesh twisting beyond the skin,
the grip of a mother’s hand losing.
I see the skin spiraled into the line
that stretches between me and my mother,
between me and my unconceived child.
I see the flesh twisting tightly closed,
the mouth drawing tight,
the pursestrings

pulling tight.

This is a poem I wrote a while ago (it appears in my first chapbook, Chinglish). I'm posting it now because I've been doing a lot of navel-gazing lately, and watching others do the same thing. I mean, writing is sometimes an exercise in this, right? (Informed navel gazing, that is.) It's weird - whenever I write something that I consider to be exciting, and innovative, and saying new things, yet it's not in some way anchored in my own experience, people call me out on it. It's as if we all have this inbuilt antenna for authenticity when we read or listen to fiction. (Obviously, the same requirement for personal connection isn't needed in non fiction or research).

I'll be posting a few things that have been making me think, soon...

PS. For more Tuesday poems, click on the little feather on the sidebar!

1 comment:

Tim Jones said...

That's a powerful poem indeed, Renee - and reminds me of how much I enjoyed reading your chapbook.