She-Bop…or, at least, She-Try

About a week ago, Robert Lee Brewer posted a challenge at Poetic Asides to write a “bop” poem, a form with which I was not familiar. I do love a form challenge, and this one proved quite difficult. Robert is taking entries in his challenge until May 30, and I’m not sure that the draft that arrived is worth posting as an entry or not, so I thought I would post it here first.

A little process note: Since I know that some readers (especially those who don’t write poetry themselves) have a tendency to read every poem with an “I” as autobiographical, and since this poem deals with a mother, I feel the need to post a disclaimer that this poem came from playing with images and NOT from any experience I have personally had. (I have the best mom in the universe, actually – just saying…)

So, let me know what you think.

Eulogy for a Foster Mother (with a Refrain after Basho)

*

Behind the church, before-school spring dawn,

I huddle against the aging brick, know that it is

safer than watching you wake. I cup a cigarette

in my hands, blow smoke that rises like vespers,

scrape dandelions against the cold cement

until the soles of my shoes shimmer with gold.

*

The temple bell stops; I still can hear the flowers.

*

Escape becomes an art –the half-open window,

the well-timed arrival. I trade in the church for

the blissed-out fog of one joint after another, one

boy after another. They think you are charming,

a fractured flower, have not seen you swing wild

at the morning alarm, violence blooming in your

mottled face. When I was thirteen, I brought you

daisies on your birthday. You called me a whore.

*

The temple bell stops; I still can hear the flowers.

*

Incense smoke perfumes the air with its mix

of high holy and head shop, the brass burner

ticking back and forth hypnotic at the end of

its chain as the priest passes the casket. Your

body is a stone, a cold pillar swathed in silk.

I am stained by your legacy, purple and silent.

*

The temple bell stops; I still can hear the flowers.

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