Friday, April 06, 2007

Once Upon a Holy Week

A poem from many years ago, when I was both crazier and more creative than I am now.

There is a theory, not without its merits, that anyone with a compulsion to write is a bit barmy. I'll buy that...well, I'll buy it if it doesn't cost too much. However, I suspect I may have already paid, maybe even more than once.

Holy Week

The best laid weeks sometimes get up
And walk away, unsatisfied.

Tuesday, I left therapy dizzy and disoriented
And fell into a hole of my own devising.
In theological circles, the abyss.
In Freudian dogma, Momma’s nether parts.
Either way, it’s dark in here.
The walls weep.

Wednesday, I passed a sigmoidoscopy
With flying colors—mostly brown.
Lying on the table, the procedure seemed familiar…
Ah, yes — therapy. Mostly accomplished behind my back,
By therapist and supervisor, in camera.
Each sigmundoscopy confirms their diagnosis
The asshole, she is interminable,
Prognosis guarded. Or, as my psychiatrist says,
“It’s not for shit.”
I concur.

On Thursday the stonecarvers arrived
At the churchyard with Momma’s headstone.
The Celtic knots her only son-in-law had designed
Were right there on its face,
Proclaiming her three names and those two vital dates
All in their proper places.
I promised her I’d witness the laying of the stone
But when I got there, at the appointment hour,
The stone was in place, the carvers gone.
It seemed as if it had always been there,
Fitting in with the other graves, and the nearby
Flowering bluets. I sat by the grave, tired from
My long journey here, idly tracing the engraving
With my tears. She left us at three AM to die alone
And now I’d missed the laying of her monument.
It is a role I am born to play.
In my defense, I reminded her
My doctor claimed to know the core of me
Was whole—“You must be responsible
For some of that,” I comforted.
In reply the wind blew hard and sudden,
Smacking down my belated vase of daffodils.
Clouds shrouded the sun.
Oh, Momma.

On Friday I crucified myself;
Doing the last hand alone was difficult
But with faith all things are possible.
The sky was cloudless. No crowds gathered.
I climbed off and dragged my crucifix
Home. I put it with the Christmas tree stand
In Momma’s closet, where the cat hides.
Maybe next year will be different.
A better crowd of standers-by, perhaps.
Or more dramatic weather.

Fortunately, even past bad poetry and self-pity, there is always Easter.