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200th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 200th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2013 Dive Into Poetry Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please sign up to be a stop on the 2013 National Poetry Month Blog Tour and visit the stops on the 2012 National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Today’s poem is from Mary McCray’s Why Photographers Commit Suicide:

Starbaby

When I was a baby, my mother called me her Martian child.
Now at sixteen, she calls me her starbaby, in the evening hours
when she thinks I'm too tired to hear and the nurses,
breaking for a smoke, snicker in the garage.
But I don't believe in highway abductions
or starship inseminations.  So what can they tell me
about who my father is, from where my alienation comes.
I have such a desire to overcome this life.
But I'm not good at it.  Immune to nothing,
my body has taken the path of least resistance
and my lungs argue breathing.

My mother calls me her starbaby
as if trying to remind me of my kind
of half-breed quality.  But I don't believe
in sudden memory recovery, like some circuit
fully convalesced:

             My father in curious landscapes, fire-blizzard outside
             hands on the strings of low-gravity swing,
             scratching his sandy face, long fingers, an ovalesque
             mouth blowing smoke, blue ceiling, six
             shadows at the door, he's trying to tell me
             something, maybe wisdom, maybe recognition --
             tugging on a smooth sleeve

What can she tell me about who my father is,
about what maneuvers he has made on my behalf:
what little alms of life, like pieces of himself
he may have left behind? Maybe his good intentions
were lost, peeled-off in space, over the barricades
he would have had to cross to reach me.

I can imagine his eyes appearing and disappearing
beyond the shadows of my bed, the missing years --
all back over my shoulder, these bones of his
holding up my body.

How did we come to be me?

In dusk -- when I am alone, lost reclining
in the solemn relief of a back-porch rocker,
I'll clear my throat and the night sounds will quiet
as if listening to what I'm about to say.

Beyond the trellis, some unidentifiable presence
will speak out to my future, my possibilities.
But in the end, I'm never up to the journey,
and the nurses resume their gossiping
and I wonder who was there, caught up in the door
as I was breaking down.

When I stop breathing,
who will be there with the key?

What do you think?

  • I really liked this one, especially the lines “I have such a desire to overcome this life.
    But I’m not good at it.” You can just tell the narrator is carrying a burden of some kind.

    • I like the frankness of the poems in her collection.

  • Beth Hoffman

    This poem just might end up being one of my all-time favorites. My senses opened wide, as did my heart.

    • I think you’d enjoy the collection it came from. It really is unique and makes you think.