Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Poem: Touchdown Buddha

Assignment: Imagine a room in your family of origin's home. Choose one or two fixtures in that room that metaphorically speak to the energy or the feelings you had as a child or adult in that home. Pay attention to images and language. Be as concise as you can.


Fat wooden Buddha
pudgy arms reaching up for the sky
giddy with joy next to our small black and white t.v.
in the 1970s

We flicked paper triangles at you
aiming just above your round, bald head
and between your stubby arms
you looked like you'd say, "Touchdown!"

We wrapped you in dish towels
and rocked you to sleep in the rocking chair
night-night, touchdown Buddha
sleep tight, touchdown Buddha

We rubbed your bare belly and made ludicrous wishes
a million dollars
to be invisible
to have all the candy bars in the world!

We'd sneak you into Nativity scenes
where you towered like an absurd Godzilla
we'd knock down Joseph and the wise men while Mary screamed

We stuck a Cheerio in your grin and hid behind the couch
stifling giggles and spurts of urine, anticipating Dad's reaction
(we had to help him notice)
we hoped he wouldn't be mad
but he grinned and picked the cereal out of your mouth

Over the years, through rough-housing and temper-flares
you endured numerous gouges and bore many scars
you lost both your hands but still shine with inexplicable joy
exclaiming to the world, "Touchdown!"


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 25th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
this is good. very good. I can just picture all you kids doing that to poor buddha, both hands straight up in the air. (crying "why me Lord? why me!?) : )

I thought of something right away but haven't the energy to put words behind it.
Aug. 25th, 2006 01:43 pm (UTC)
I hope you jotted down what you thought of and will write about it later.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 25th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
Fabulous! I really want to hear that song now!

Aug. 25th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
Mommy? There's a bee.....
Nevermind, just hurry up and eat your toast, drink your cocoa.
But Mommy, there's a bee.....
Forget the bee! Eat, or you'll be late for school!

Crossed-eyed and desperate, I try to drink the cocoa while avoiding the fly that keeps floating towards my tooth-gated mouth.

This is the breakfast room, for Everyday Family Meals, where five gather around the wood-plank table in the wood-paneled room with one window and three doors. Much is said, but who knows how much is ever actually heard.

It is an easier room for me to enter than to leave...no leaving until I finish everything on my plate. Sometimes the battle of wills lasts for hours. I seldom lose, I have lots of tricks and strategies in my repertoire, but it's a lonely victory.

Why do we even keep this cuckoo clock? It always sticks, it never finishes its song or cuckoos the right number of times. Who cares if Uncle John brought it back from Germany? It doesn't work right. I know it'll unstick if I just slam the cellar door, but I'm SICK of slamming the cellar door. I want to sit on the other side of the table, somebody else can have the door-slamming job.
Aug. 26th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
I never understood why children are forced to eat something they don't like. I'm fortunate that my parents were pretty lax in this regard (aside from a meatloaf incident, which I won't go into);P

I love the image of a cuckoo clock from Germany that sticks and doesn't cuckoo the correct number of times.
Aug. 25th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
No really, this Buddha piece is sheer-genius writing. I love every single thing about it, even its visuality. (don't even think of telling me that's not a real word. It is, isn't it?)

I could read this every day of my life and get as much pleasure out of the kazillionth reading as the first.
Aug. 26th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh my. That's quite a compliment! Thank you.

It's 100% real world.
Aug. 25th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
people love your stuff! I love your stuff. please continue to share your goods as they unfold out of the classroom!
pssst. remember that book I told you by stephen king? 'On Writing' ??? Well, its an assignment to read it in a book circle that you will have down this semester. Its an EXCELLENT one that I want you to read! and now you'll have too! muah ha ha!!!!
Aug. 26th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
She's letting us choose from a handful of books about writing. The choices are:

One Continuous Mistake - Gail Sheer
Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg
Letters to a Young Poet Rainer Marie Rilke
Poemcrazy - Susan Wooldridge
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
On Writing - Stephen King

I can't decide!!!!! Actually, I think I'm going to do the Natalie Goldberg book and the Letters to a Young Poet.

And where's your stuff, girly? You don't post enough! I want your raw, jagged prose! Throw me a bone!
Sep. 13th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
doro, On Writing by King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott are the two better books for NOW. read Rilke on yr own time , lazy summer day, or toasty winter night in front of the furnace (fire, whatevr). i would choose On Writing. I teach from it every year and then i give the kids some lamott. no put down on rilke my god, he's a genius, but ya need NOW. i didn't get that much from writing down the bones. (sorry natalie, it was like 2% milk and i like whole with the cream on top. god, don't let that poor woman read that.)
Sep. 14th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
Okay, I'll read On Writing. I have the book. I'm finishing up Writing Down the Bones and I find it catalystic. I love Natalie Goldberg but not so much her fiction. I tried reading Bananna Rose this summer but I found it lacking when I was thristing for prose about the desert landscape. I like her better when she just writes about writing. Same with Anne Lamott. I read Bird By Bird a few years ago but a re-read is in order. I don't care much for her fiction but Travelling Mercies and Operating Instructions are incredible. I love that woman to death!
Aug. 25th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
Over the couch has always hung
a painting of yellow roses
framed in brown.
our home in my childhood
always seemed to draw out the colors and feel
of that painting wether it was in the matching roses
in the couch, the color of the curtians
or the dark woods of the floor and furniture.

even the little me enjoyed the beauty
of how the room seemed to splay out of the painting.

i stared at it from the floor
feeling the hard coolness of it's slats
looking down the follow or run cars in the grooves
of the matching, sirling rug.

i looked at it a lot when it was over mom
as she lay on the couch,
with her eyes closed saying she
was "just resting her eyes."

sometimes there was horribly sad music playing
that made me sad with this overwelming fear
of death and abandonment,
and my mom was puzzled when i would suddenly burst
into tears saying "i don't want you to die."

the painting loomed overhead with its dark beauty
the light of the roses
shining sadly from the darkness in the room
where the painting was made
that matched the darkness of our living room
where it was hung.

funny how it all matched.
Aug. 26th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
Dark wood, yellow roses and colors drawn out of curtains, floors and furniture. Death and abandonment. The fertile soil of your life experiences. I long to read more...
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
I think you nailed it.

Nuff said (though apparently not if I had to say, 'Nuff said').
Aug. 27th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC)
da buddha
I still have that Buddha, sans Cheerio. I have memories also.
In dad’s home office stands a black, four drawer file cabinet: Above his ancient desk is a book shelf containing, among other things, the Illinois State Statutes. Next to the shelf is a framed document stating that he is a Justice of the Peace, Nameoki Township in the County of Madison, state of Illinois. The file cabinet is unlocked, dad’s at work. One of the folders contains two black and white eight by ten glossy photos of a nude woman, evidence on some case, or a private collection? These were the first photos that I had ever seen of a naked woman. They were not lewd and she was not all that attractive in her attempt at a classical pose. Her pubic hair was black and full, she did not smile. I don’t think Rubens or Paul Cezanne would have used her as a model.

In dad’s home office several State Police officers in high, shinny black boots and crisp, pressed uniforms speak in hushed voices, several men in suits are also there. Dad sends me back to my room, which is next to the office; I listen at the door as they make final plans to raid the Mafia night club, “Club Preview” up on highway forty. Dad has his pistol in its holster on his belt. I did not know that he owned a pistol until that night. He didn’t keep in the file cabinet, this I knew. It was late at night and I couldn’t go to sleep after they left.

In dad’s home office the local constable has brought in Wahoo who is quiet drunk. Wahoo is the only full blooded Indian in Nameoka Township. I hear Wahoo tell my dad, in a drunken slur, “Curtis I respect you, you are a just man but I’ll need to shoot ya but I swear I’ll shoot you clean through the head, so’s you’ll die quick”. My dad replies; “Well thank you Wahoo, I surely appreciate that. Right now I’d like you to spend the night in the jail up in Collinsville”. “Alright”, says Wahoo.
I go back to sleep.

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )