Archives for posts with tag: mothers

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The blue sock
by Sunayna Pal

4 months and 23 days
after my son’s birth
I lost his blue sock.
We had 3 pairs of socks.
He wore one pair for 2 days.
Missing a sock meant
the schedule would go for a toss.
Why did it have to be the blue one?
It went with everything my son wore.

Websites told me
that kids lose their socks often
And a mother shouldn’t fret about it.
It wasn’t he who had lost it though.
It was my laundry blunder.
I started to worry
and pull my hair apart.
I searched everywhere.
Even in places that I didn’t expect.
Even in places I hadn’t been in for months.
I searched EVERYWHERE.
I made my husband search,
I made my mother search.
I even asked the baby.

I felt like a failure
as a mom.
How was I to take care of my baby
If I couldn’t even keep a track of 3 pairs of socks.
How was I to take care of a whole baby.
Despair creeped in,
In my every moment.
Prayers didn’t seem to help.
I felt defeated.

After a week full of search,
I finally gave up.
Full of anxiety,
on laundry day,
I collected the clothes in a hamper.
I took a deep breath
Before I changed my baby’s clothes
And,
Behold,
I found the sock.
It was inside a footsie.
I had checked the clothes
But not the inside of each.

I couldn’t believe it.
Was it the one sock I already had?
I checked.
I sighed deeply with joy
As I looked at the pair.
Maybe I would be fine.
Maybe I will survive motherhood.
Maybe it will be fine, after all.
Maybe.

IMAGE: The author with her infant son.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In India, there are neighbors and relatives who help you take care of yourself and your newborn. America didn’t give me this luxury. Though my mom was here to help me for a few weeks, I, a pampered girl, found it very difficult to take care of everything alone. Losing the sock did cause a lot of anxiety. It is over a year since that incident and I have calmed down as a mother and grown more confident with time . . . but I remember feeling really happy when I found the sock. I can proudly say – in 15  months and we haven’t lost any socks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Sunayna Pal moved to the U.S. after her marriage. She has PG degrees from XLRI and Annamalai University, and worked in the corporate world for five odd years before braking the chains to embark on her heart’s pursuits. She started “Art with Sunayna” (artwithsunayna.wordpress.com) to teach and sell art for NGOs and became a certified handwriting analyst (sos4graphology.com) to help people better understand themselves by using a mix of graphotherapy, healing, and affirmations. A new mother, Sunayna also loves gardening and photography, and enjoys writing from her daily life experiences. Many of her articles have been published in magazines and on websites. She is a proud contributor to many international anthologies. In her little spare time, she also maintains a blog at mannkiwindow.wordpress.com. She is currently working on an anthology of 51 stories about people who are of South Asian origin and have an experience to share about the U.S..

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Me, in a HAT, Without Her
by Megha Punjabi

The thoughts of despair, often termed as unjust
What is fair and what is not
Who is to decide, when one gets what one deserves.
As I walk by the canal, the wind passes through the strands of my hair
I take out the hat from my bag
The hat, which was a gift from my mother

I had turned 18 that year, last birthday with my mom
Because then I was an adult to lead my life without her
Or, so did my fate conclude, I was left alone in this world
Never hugged her enough, never kissed her enough
And didn’t love her, the way she deserved
Only sobbed enough, in her absence, when the emptiness never
     seemed to be filled

Hat, you are a very precious thing to me
Last token of love from her
I wear it when I miss her the most
Only end up, missing her even more
Also, sometimes reliving the memories, I never want to fade away
Tears might have found their place, and doesn’t roll down the cheeks
     anymore.

But what do I do about that empty part in my heart
Which never seem to feel the same, without you?
Sometimes I see you in my dreams
And then you vanish into a land
Where I can’t reach or see you.
I wish I could rewind and live those days with you again.

PHOTO: The author in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (July 2016)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My first visit to the continent of Europe, took me to the beautiful city, Amsterdam, Netherlands, it was like “love at first sight”. The place took me to another world, which is nowhere but, inside me. It kind of helped me connect with my inner soul and my mom. The black hat which I wore was my mom’s last gift to me, who passed away 9 years ago in 2007.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Megha Punjabi was born on 28th September 1989 in India, Asia. She has done her masters in Finance and Human resource. She has a spiritual bent of mind with a keen desire of writing poetry. Currently handling her family business of readymade garments in Lucknow, India, she also aspires to write a book.

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Lost
by Rona Fitzgerald

Summer days she’d set out with four of us on the bus,
bag laden with cosies, sandwiches, spare clothes.

Infinite blue, sea and sky merging, no frontiers.
Bird beat, waders, oystercatchers, zen-like herons.

We stood on one leg until we fell, splashed about
ate our sand-filled lunch as mother’s nose twitched.

Trudged home across the long bridge trailing
wet wool togs and towels. Back to order.

My heart’s in those grainy dunes
keening sea birds summon me home.

PHOTO: Bull Island Sanctuary, Dublin 1960. The author is the child front left, crossed legs and shading her eye.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote the poem from memory — starting with the infinity idea and the zen-like herons. Part of the prompt for me is living away from Dublin and the sea which was part of my life as a place to swim and walk. I miss the light. Normally my Dad would not be with us, my mother would haul the bags and shepherd us smaller kids to the beach.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rona Fitzgerald was born in Dublin and has been living in Glasgow for 20 years. She is the second youngest of seven children. Her work has been included in a number of magazines and anthologies, including the Dublin-based Stinging Fly, New Voices Press anthologies and The Wait poetry anthology edited by George Sandifer-Smith. Her poem “Nocturne’” was published in Scottish Book Trust publication Journeys. “Solstice” was published as part of the Mid-Winter Special on Three Drops from Cauldron webzine, and “Quest’” was published on the webzine I am not a Silent Poet. Rona is a member of the Federation of Writers (Scotland).

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A PRACTICAL MOM
by Amy Uyematsu

A practical mom
can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years—I’ll ask her if she stops
to admire the perfect leaves
of the Japanese maple
she waters in her backyard,
or tell her how I can gaze for hours
at a desert sky and know this
as divine. Nature, she says,
doesn’t hold her interest. Not nearly
as much as the greens, pinks, and grays
of a Diebenkorn abstract, or the antique
Tiffany lamp she finds in San Francisco.
She spends hours with her vegetables,
tasting the tomatoes she’s picked that morning
or checking to see which radishes are big enough to pull.
Lately everything she touches bears fruit,
from new-green string beans to winning
golf strokes, glamorous hats she designs and sews,
soaring stocks with their multiplying shares.
These are the things she can count in her hands,
the tangibles to feed and pass on to daughters
and grandchildren who can’t keep up with all
the risky numbers she depends on, the blood-sugar counts
and daily insulin injections, the monthly tests
of precancerous cells in her liver and lungs.
She’s a mathematical wonder with so many calculations
kept alive in her head, adding and subtracting
when everyone else is asleep.

PAINTING: “Seawall” (!957) by Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993).

SOURCE: “A Practical Mother” appears in Amy Uyematsu‘s collection Stone Bow Prayer (Copper Canyon Press, 2005), available at Amazon.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Uyematsu was raised in Southern California by parents who had been interned in American camps during World War II. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Stone Bow Prayer (2005), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (1997), and 30 Miles from J-Town (1992), which won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Uyematsu co-edited the seminal anthology Roots: An Asian American Reader (1971), and her work has been included in the anthologies Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (2008), The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles (2003), and Sister Stew: Fiction and Poetry by Women (1991). She has also collaborated with multimedia artists Joan Watanabe and Roger Shimomura. Uyematsu taught math at Venice High School for more than 25 years before retiring. She lives in Culver City, California.

Author photo by Raul Contreras

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MAY DAY BECOMES YOU, IT GOES WITH YOUR HAIR
by Joan Jobe Smith

Sometimes I feel my mother is still alive, like five
minutes ago when I wanted to show her my
new silk blouse, ask her how she likes it, tell her how
I had her in mind when I picked it out because she
always liked me wearing white, said I looked so nice
and clean. (Remember how your mother liked
to keep you nice and neat?) And when I shook myself
back to Now, realized she’d been dead nearly 30 years,
I could hardly believe it, because I’d felt her so near
and real as this silk upon my skin, felt the air around me
turn as warm as the sweet of her breath when she
smiled because I looked so clean in this white blouse.
(Remember how your mother’s lips were naturally pink
as May Day azalea?) For years after she died, every day at
four o’clock in the afternoon, no matter where I was:
at work, on the freeway to L.A., a train to London or
crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge, I’d jolt a four-
o’clock horror that I’d forgotten to take her the morphine
she needed by 4:15 or she’d tremble with seizure and pain
as she lay dying upon her mattress grave. But today, May Day,
at 4:35 when she saw me white and nice in this white blouse
she didn’t hurt anyplace anymore when she reached
quick butterfly from far away and touched my cheek.

PAINTING: “The Redhead in a White Blouse” by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1889).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than five hundred publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. In November 2012, Silver Birch Press published her literary profile entitled Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), available at Amazon.com. Her writing is featured in the May 2014 release LADYLAND, an antholology of writing by American women (13e note éditions, Paris).

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MOTHER MAY I
by Paul Fericano 

Mother, may I
sit beside you
on the green mohair couch

late at night
like a wakeful dreamer
and watch old movies

on the black and white
television set
with bent rabbit ears

and rest awhile
near your soft and gentle heart
until I fall asleep?

Yes, you may
 
Mother, may I
light your menthol cigarettes
with the brushed chrome

cigarette lighter
that father gave you
on your first wedding anniversary

and marvel as the smoke rings
float like halos
just above your head?

Yes, you may
 
Mother, may I
tell the woeful stories
you tried to tell

of love gone bad
that left you alone
to live this stubborn life?

No, you may not
 
but you may
take three steps backward
and finish this poem

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Fericano is a poet, satirist and social activist. In 1980 he co-founded (with Elio Ligi) the first parody news syndicate, Yossarian Universal News Service (www.yunews.com) which helped revive Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” Since then, his work has never appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review. He’s the author of several books of poetry including Commercial Break, Cancer Quiz, and Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets, and is the co-author (with Elio Ligi) of the political satire, The One Minute President. In 2009, he created the popular Mission Poetry Series in Santa Barbara, Callifornia, and currently writes a monthly column on clergy abuse and the healing process for the blog A Room With A Pew (www.roomwithapew.com).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There’s never any drought of ideas with me. I usually have a notion of how a poem will end before I even start. Most ideas touch on topical subjects or family memories. I spent years and years reading the morning paper and scanning the news for bits of material to use as fodder for my satiric news service. I’ve learned that if you’re fearless anything can be the subject of a poem. The idea for “Mother May I” came about recently when I introduced the game to my granddaughters.

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CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
by George Bilgere

I can see her in the kitchen,
Cooking up, for the hundredth time,
A little something from her
Limited Midwestern repertoire.
Cigarette going in the ashtray,
The red wine pulsing in its glass,
A warning light meaning
Everything was simmering
Just below the steel lid
Of her smile, as she boiled
The beef into submission,
Chopped her way
Through the vegetable kingdom
With the broken-handled knife
I use tonight, feeling her
Anger rising from the dark
Chambers of the head
Of cabbage I slice through,
Missing her, wanting
To chew things over
With my mother again.

SOURCE: “Corned Beef and Cabbage” appears in George Bilgere’s collection The Good Kiss (The University of Akron Press, 2002), available at Amazon.com.

PHOTO: “Sliced cabbage” by Brian Boyle. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: George Bilgere has published five collections of poetry, most recently The White Museum, awarded the 2009 Autumn House Poetry Prize. His third book, The Good Kiss (2002), was selected by Billy Collins as recipient of the University of Akron Poetry Award. He has won numerous awards, including the Midland Authors Award, the May Swenson Poetry Award for his collection Haywire (2006), and a Pushcart Prize. Bilgere has received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Commission, and the Ohio Arts Council.
His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, Fulcrum, and the Best American Poetry series.
 Bilgere lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where he teaches creative writing at John Carroll University.

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THE RISE AND FALL OF LIFE
by Margaret Towner

The three-tiered plant hanger
is on the patio where my mother
could see it from her chair
when she was still living
in the house. Barb hung it high
last year and placed three
bright pots of graduated size:
one white flowering plant
at the top, in constant bloom,
a jade plant in the middle
always pale green, and finally
a red blooming succulent
with flowers that come and go.

“The Rise and Fall of Life” and other poetry by Margaret Towner appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose by over 70 authors living in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Europe, and Africa — available at Amazon.com (Kindle version free until 12/21/13).

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GOOD WIVES DON’T DRIVE
by Joan Jobe Smith

My father refused to teach my mother
how to drive his car, he said it
wasn’t ladylike in 1949, a woman driver

was no better than a streetwalker she was
to take the bus and be a good wife like
his mother was so my mother took secret

driving lessons, the instructor man
coming every day in his grey sedan
to show her how to let out the clutch

just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
to work the choke and the radio, make
turn signals, arm bent up for right

straight out for left, down for slow
me in the backseat watching as we drove
the L.A. streets: Firestone. Rosemead

Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
Santa Fe and the day she got her drivers
license she bought her self a green 1939

Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
in the driveway for my father to come home
honked the horn at him when he arrived

and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Photo: 1939 Ford coupe (a green one!)

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WASHING WINDOWS
by Terry Collet

Your mother used to sit on the window 

Ledge of the tenement building and 

Wash the windows of each of the rooms. 

She’d push back the shutters and just 

Sit there with a bucket of warm water 

And a cloth and wash away. You were 

Always afraid she’d lean too far back 

And fall out and down to the ground 

Several storeys below with a heavy crash 

And break bones or neck or maybe die. 

But she’d just sit there her legs holding 

Onto the wall beneath her and push her 

Right hand holding the damp cloth 

Over the glass while her left hand held 

The metal bucket tight swishing the warm 

Water as she moved back and forth like 

Some lone trapeze artist on the high wire 

Without apparent fear or knowledge of 

Was going on in the street below with the

Passing of the walking dead as Father used 

To say and Mrs Febrile sitting on her window

Ledge with her daughter watching gossiping 

And nosing about who did what to whom 

While all the while you were frightened of 

Your mother slipping out the window waving
Her hands and arms as she fell to her doom.