Here’s a non-list-of-resolutions way to celebrate the baby new year and your own inner dreams: Join me in the Zoom room, January 7-13 for our first-ever Write Together session! Seven days of morning and evening prompts, each unique, each created to unlock unknown worlds within. It can be so comforting to write together, for ourselves, without expectation or feedback. Join in for any or all of the hour-long sessions. Click here for all the details.
What’s the one thing you’d most like on your tombstone? a woman in a prison writing class once asked me. The thing you most hope others would remember about you?
Such a good question, with only one answer: that I was kind. Which is a goal I fail at every day, at least in my own invisible, snappy, eye-rolling mind.
A deep, secret fear of mine is that something –maybe a disease of some kind–turns me mean. Brings some kind of latent cruelty to the surface, so that I end up hurting every single person I most love.
Please oh please let me be, in the end, no matter what the end is, like the poet George Kalogeris’s mother.
Baby Monitor, by George Kalogeris
She’s sound asleep. Or her Alzheimer’s is. I can hear
each breath she takes through the monitor I keep
on my desk, hooked up as it is to the one upstairs,
beside her bed. The kind of listening
device that’s used for keeping track of infants,
the tremulous speaker could fit in the palm of your hand.
A little green light pulses every time
it picks up any trace of my mother’s voice.
Babble of baby talk and muffled whimpers.
Those garbled bits expelled from her speech machine,
its plastic speaker propped all night on its stand,
calling out softly some rhythmical ruminant something
so automatic it might be dreaming out loud,
in my mother’s oblivious voice –O Sibylline
machine that makes the incomprehensible clear:
“…and please help her…and please guide him…and stop
it from spreading to the kidneys, please, dear Lord…
and make that enough to meet their mortgage payments…”
I’m privy to a prayer that no one else
can hear. At least tonight. Some primal psalm
where all are nameless, but none of them forgotten.
And please and please and please goes the little green pulsing light.
Click here for more information about George Kalogeris’s stunning collection, Winthropos, which includes the above beautiful poem.