Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spin Cycle: A Poem

The Spin Cycle this week is "creative writing." At first I was excited about the challenge, thought I'd try something new that's been bubbling around in the back of my mind. A snippet was all I needed. But a challenging weekend of grading, followed by a challenging last week of the quarter... Well, let's just say I have several new drafts, but nothing worth posting yet.

I wrote this poem back when I was an undergrad. My spin.

A Wednesday Night in 1969

She stumbled into the room
blocking the children's view,
the were absorbed in an I Love Lucy
rerun. And waiting for dinner.

Lucy was sticking her tongue out at Ricky,
thumbs in her ears, wiggling her fingers;
he was unaware of the antics...
focused on his morning paper.

The children remained seated,
peering around their mother
ranting before them.
Bloodshot eyes bulging;
frail, thin body rigid.
Her speech slurred,
thickened by
an afternoon six-pack,
evening vodka,
Valium and Percodan,
prescribed by her doctor.

The mother's face contorted
as she told her children
that she wanted to die.

The children focused on Lucy's eyes
flashing in contemplation,
she had a scheme in mind;
she'd become an act at
Ricky's Tropicana...
They would have more time together
Lucy also had overwhelming
Artistic Desires.

The children sat in silence
as their mother informed them
about her recent ingestion
of her entire prescription;
they did not get up
or run for help.

The week before
she had paraded
around the house
with a gun,
bragging about
blowing her brains out.
The week before that
she had walked about naked
showing her children
the razor reserved
for later that evening.

The next mornings
she rarely remembered
her wolf cries.

Meanwhile Lucy had snuck
into the Tropicana
with her faithful friend Ethel.
They kidnapped the woman
who was Ricky's partner,
bound and gagged her
and locked her in a closet.

And so on this night
their mother collapsed,
out to the cold world.

Red lights flashed
Policemen and questions
Crying children amidst

The familiar tune
playing in the background.

The heart surrounding
The End.

For more spins, or to join along, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.


Anonymous said...

My goodness - angst-ridden indeed! I hope not based on personal experience.

However, you reminded me that this week's assignment is creative writing, not necessarily fiction, and I've been rather worrying over it (I'm no fiction writer).

Now all I have to do is get creative. *sigh*

mo.stoneskin said...

You weren't really full of angst were you?

I hate I love Lucy...

but actually fully enjoyed the poem :)

Pseudo said...

Jan - partially ture, my mom did try and commit suicide twice while I was grwoing up, and threatened at least twice weekly.

mo - actually not so much. and what was buried I let go through writing classes.

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

That was really good!

Mama Dawg said...

Oh, man. That was incredible. I actually got shivers.

Jack said...

Reminds of Charlize Theron's part in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.

Chilling indeed!

Amy said...

that is very powerful.

Beth said...

Wow! You portray the normalcy of craziness so well. It had to be hard growing up with a mother who obviously had so many issues. I think your poem is well grounded yet emotional.

Great poem! Creative, indeed.

cheatymoon said...


derfina said...

Woah. Disturbing!

Anonymous said...

That was a sad and scary poem.

That Janie Girl said...

Well, you have my attention! You definitely put the spin to that.

Good job.

Pseudo said...

I guess ealry college is a good time to get sad a scary out of one's system.

Anonymous said...

Great poem, said alot and great use of juxtaposition (do i sound like an english teacher LOL)

...like Jan, i'm a little concerned about the creative writing assignment, the last one i think i did was in grade 4 and the teacher didn't believe i had written it myself and made me do another...and then hung around my desk watching to see if i was copying it out of something. Weird. And off-putting. I may have to skip this assignment.

Maybe i'll pay stoneskin to do mine...he's pretty creative when it comes to this sort of assignment.

Sprite's Keeper said...

How haunting, yet beautiful. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at I Love Lucy again. You're talented, Pseudo, I'm just sorry you had to experience the inspiration. You're linked!

Fragrant Liar said...

Hmmm. Very intriguing. And now that I've read your replies to comments, I can see how it grew out of some experience. Very nicely done, Pseudo. A+

Casey said...

Beautifully written, as usual. I'm so sorry that the poem was loosely based on your own experiences.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Wow! The contrast here is so over-whelming. Bravo!

I've avoided the spin last week and this. I just don't have the heart to put in what it would take to get er done. I've enjoyed reading the others tho. You're a great writer, Pseudo!

Captain Dumbass said...

Wow. That was impressive.

Cristin said...

holy crap.

Kristan said...

Oh wow... I love the juxtaposition of the comic TV to the gravity of their real life.

(I'm only sorry it's somewhat grounded in reality.)

Lori said...

Wow! I love reading everything you write and this poem is unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I don't even know what to say. It's haunting, chilling, disturbing and breathtaking all at the same time. Wow.

Pancake said...

WOW, not sure what to say.. I read it yesterday, came back today hoping to have better words.... nothing

Pseudo said...

Yesterday in class we finished chapters 17 and 18 of to Kill a Mockingbird. Then we discussed the characters of Bob and Mayella Ewell. I introduced the idea of nature versus nurture to the students and let them talk about how Mayella might have turned out had she been raised by another, better, family. Also, whether or not Bob Ewell might be evil and lacking in virute inately.

I guess I don't buy the arguement that people who grow up in stress and trauma are bound to repeat patterns. We all have choices.

Kingsmom said...


Judah said...

wow, amazing poem. I have always "enjoyed" your writings.

Pseudo said...

; - )

The use of quotes on enjoy has me wondering....

Mrsbear said...

The was a powerful poem, some of life's ugliest memories provide the best inspiration. The last two lines really tied everything together. Great job.

Debbie said...

That is so sad and gut-wrenching.

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Beautiful and haunting. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Camille said...

I got goosebumps reading that---the sad kind, though.

Thank you for sharing.

Keely said...

That was eerie and unforgettable. You conjured up some powerful images.

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

I'm all tense after reading that. It was definitely angst ridden and sad and mysterious. And I am sorry you had to experience that as well.

Shangrila said...

That was beautifully written, and heartbreaking. I know what it is to watch a parent spiral, to become numb to it. I'm glad that you had the outlet of writing, you are very talented!