Monday, August 25, 2008

In My Dream

In my dream I was a fallen princess.
It was so quiet I could hear the wind changing its mind.
You were wearing your deep purple high tops
As we sat eating mangoes soaked in rum.
You asked, “What do you want?”
I answered, “I want freedom from myself.”
You were sure if we hid, Death wouldn’t find us
Even though we knew it was time.
My dog, Life, and I
Went out and saw the moon.
No man was in it.
He was on a break.
Or Death had found him first.
We didn’t know.
You brought your cat, Hope,
To play with my dog.
We had sex and died right after.

©Kathryn Atkins
Fall 2004

Stand Closer

Orange and yellow lilies
Mixed with fuzzy brown grasses
Bend softly, ballerina style
Over the edge of the chipped clay pot.
Stand closer and you’ll smell them.

Hop-red double impatiens
Sport blooms
Pushing for attention
Against the green fichus wall.
Where rats play tag in the tangled branches.
Stand closer and you’ll hear them.

Don’t-you-love-it purple flowers
Next to the spreading snow-white alyssum.
I am the garden where they grow.
The rats are my sins.
Stand closer and you’ll see them.

© Kathryn Atkins
Fall 2004

Sunday, August 10, 2008

To My Son

I will not hover like a helicopter waiting to rescue a drowning soul. I will not swoop in, saber in hand, my face stretched in a fierce, threatening grimace, the shield of parental iron posed ready to fend off the arrows of adulthood, the poison darts of responsibility and maturity, the bullets of insurance premiums and car payments, the bludgeons of mortgages and credit card minimums that never reduce the maximums that shake financial houses built of straw.
I will not pave this rutted road with rose petals; nor will I continue to mask the poverty smell with money-green perfume or bank-transfer cologne. No more. I did that for a year, like a goofy lap dog, hoping you’d “get” what you needed, somehow-- an understanding of THE CONCEPT. That concept is: TO OBTAIN MONEY, A PERSON HAS TO WORK. At least unless you’re born into wealth, which few people are, and those that are do so at the behest of some poor slob who DID work. Hard.
I failed you, son. But I will not compound my error. No more. Like giving up cigarettes or alcohol, I have to do this cold turkey, take a 12–step approach, and ask almighty God for the strength to do what I should have done a year ago. Cut you off for your own good.
“Geez, Mom,” you say. “Can’t I get a free ride any more?” No. Sorry. You’re on your own. You will have to allocate your time between school, work, and music. I will not tell you which to emphasize, except to say that right now, school is #1. You will be busy doing all three, but you’re young. You’re just not hungry. I give you now the gift of hunger. I have given you many gifts. This is the hardest, but the best. Make it work. Pray for strength. Face your fears. Engage in life. Be a man. You are no longer a boy. Sorry.

August 8, 2008