Listen To Your Mother Providence, May 2013

“and this is only rehearsal”

How strange
to stack up my stories
side by side the words
of women unlike me
yet like,
their stories not mine,
yet mine--
How wonderful to wrap
their words around my words,
struggles alongside mine,
another mother’s hopes
and fears
twined round my heart--
They call that an a-ha,
that moment
of profound
yet simple recognition--
yeah I get that,
it’s like that for me, too--
I won’t soon forget.
Friends, I am so proud and humbled to have been part of the cast of Listen To Your Mother Providence at the Providence (RI) Public Library, on Saturday, May 4, 2013.

What you don’t realize is that you really need to hear the stories of all of these women. So I am telling you. Because these stories will affect you, even change you.

Imagine all of this times 24 cities across the country, and baby, I feel like I was part of a social movement.


Please, please click to watch the performances of all of my sister-readers. YOU MUST. Be sure to have your box of tissues handy. Peace, lovely readers. And thank you.

Kirsten Di Chiappari, The Truth
Brianne DeRosa, Normal
Laura Rossi, Mother’s Day
Jennifer Ciplet, Sunny Side Up
Phyllis Myung, What Took You So Long
Lexi “Sweatpants” Magnusson, I’m Jealous Of You
Lauren Jordan, Pink Butterflies
Alicia Kamm, Baby V
Stephanie S. Lazenby, Nobody Ever Told Me
Carla Molina, Perfect
Kelly Baraf, Tea Party
Jackie Hennessey, The Horrors of Shopping With Kids

(The text of the poems I read is below. The first poem is from my upcoming book, SUPERPOWERS or: More Poems About Flying, and the other two are in my first book, Responsive Pleading.)

after Newtown
In talking about
the end of the world
and human civilization
by tidal wave or solar flare,
my young son whispers
kids are too young to die
as my heart simultaneously
wilts and blooms.
I reply, yes, far too young
and brush his hair back
from a pretty forehead
clean of bullet holes,
stifle a moan by swallowing.
One heartbeat later,
my child bemoans those humans--
the ones he thinks
will finally realize
the planet is overheating
just about the time
his own children are grown--
and describes his child
wiping her own sweaty brow
as future apologists cry
What have we done?

bed-hopping (not that kind)
When you wake up squished
on the too-short loveseat,
entangled in warm limbs
and breathing in the breath
of your bright little girl,
you manage to peer through
sleep-filled eyes to witness
your long-limbed son
splayed and snoring
on top of this drowsy daddy.
You recall the night before,
one in your bed at one,
the other in with you at two,
At four? Mama, I’m so sorry,
I wet your bed, Mama.
As you throw the sheets
in the washing machine
and the kid in the shower,
you know for sure
you’ve hit the jackpot.

basic human needs
Sleeping, dreaming, drowsing,
by one, then two,
little bodies in my bed
with their little voices,
cold limbs, and big needs.
They snuggle in,
then drift back to sleep.
Mama is awake at three ay em,
starting to count sheep,
when a cozy little girl voice
says in her sleep, I love you, Mama.
Mama replies, I love you, Baby.
Then the drifting, sleeping voice says,
My butt isn’t getting any blankets.