Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 25: Mother's Birthday, Classic Saint Marty, "Heart to Heart"

Today is my mother's 86th birthday.  We will be celebrating in a few minutes with barbecued hamburgers and bratwurst, with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for dessert. 

My mother doesn't have a great memory any more.  Some days, she knows who I am.  Some days, I'm that nice man who stops by for a visit.  Same goes for my kids.  It's difficult for me to think that my mother doesn't know who I am, that I've become one face in a parade of faces. 

Let me tell you a few things about her:

She is a reader.  I can't remember a time when I didn't see her sitting with a book in her hands.  She raised nine kids, cooked dinner for them every night, breakfast every morning.  This year, she will have been married to my father for 64 years.  When I was in high school, she marched into the principal's office on the first day and told him (over his objections), "You will enroll my son in Algebra and Geometry this year."  Afterward, when she got me in the car, she looked at me and said, "You will get A's in both of those classes all year."  I did.

That gives you an idea of who my mother is.  She's one of the strongest people I know.  And she likes ice cream cake.

Five years ago, I had a few questions on my mind . . .

June 25, 2012:  Have You Ever Noticed . . .

Have you ever noticed that I rarely ask questions in my posts?

Am I the only blogger who avoids questions?  Am I the only person who read a criticism in a print magazine (TimeNewsweekThe New Yorker?) of how bloggers tend to ask tons of questions in their blogs?  Why is that a bad thing?  Does it make the writing weak?  Trite?  Precious?  Is it some kind of pathetic ploy to get readers to respond to posts?  Are all bloggers that desperate for attention?  Are we all kids who got picked last for teams in gym class?  Did we all go through high school yearning to be the popular basketball player or class president or star of the school's production of Our Town?

Can we ever overcome adolescent need for acceptance and validation?  Am I still just a pathetic teenager inside, still too insecure to ask the girl in chemistry class to go to prom?  Isn't that the question all writers want answered:  "Will you go to the dance with me?"  Don't we write our poems or stories or blog posts or novels to get the thrill of having the pretty cheerleader or handsome cross country runner talk to us, laugh with us, make us feel cool?  (Is there any way to make that last sentence parallel in grammatical structure?  Does anyone care if it's in parallel grammatical structure?)

Am I just a blogger in search of recognition?  Will I just keep asking questions until somebody, anybody actually responds to my pathetic pleas for human connection?  Am I being too open?  Too honest?  Should I conceal this nervous, monkey-side of my personality?  Or should I continue to eat my bananas, scratch my balls, fling my shit into the cyberspace zoo for all to see?  Am I just Bobo, the well-hung chimpanzee blogger, wagging my hairy goods in the faces of all my readers?

Will Saint Marty ever be able to answer any of these questions?  Is anybody out there?

Is this cartoon funny or what?

And a poem in honor of my mother's birthday  . . .

Heart to Heart

by:  Martin Achatz

Luke says Mary kept every-
thing—angels roaring in
the night, shepherds crawling
through dung and hay, camels,
comets—all these things,
gospels and gospels, stored in
the four chambers of her heart.
I wonder if Einstein’s mother
had room enough in her
ventricles for quanta and
atoms, light’s slow passage
through the eye of the universe.
Or Darwin’s mother enough
space in her atria for
all the creatures of the Galapagos—
tortoises and iguanas, butter-
flies and cormorants.  Lincoln’s
mother died before she had
to squeeze Gettysburg and
emancipation under her ribs,
and I believe Shakespeare’s
mother departed this mortal
coil without Romeo or
the Globe nestled beneath
her breast.  My mother is
still packing things in
the attic of her chest.  Just
yesterday, she asked me if
I still write poems.  Yes, I told
Her.  I’m writing a poem
about you right now,
I said.  She nodded, looked away.
I imagined her opening a box
with my name on it, wrapping
this poem in newspaper, placing
it beside the lanyard I made
for her in third grade, closing
the box again, putting it
back on the shelf in her bosom.
When she gets to heaven,
my mother will meet Mary
on a street corner,
and they’ll unpack their
hearts.  This, mother will
say, is a poem my son wrote
for me for Mother’s Day.  Mary
will hold out her hand, show
my mother the first tooth
her son lost, a tiny grain
of enamel in her palm.  They
will find a diner to have
coffee together.  They will sit
in a booth, brag about how
their kids changed the world.

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