April 24, 2014

Donna Spector

ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT

You’re speeding me down the Ventura freeway
in your battered Scout, patched since your angry
crash into the drunken pole that swerved into your road.
We’ve got no seat belts, no top, bald tires,
so I clutch any metal that seems as though it might
be firm, belie its rusted rattling. Under my
August burn I’m fainting white, but I’m trying
to give you what you want: an easy mother.

For the last two days you’ve been plugged
into your guitar, earphones on, door closed. I spoiled
our holiday with warnings about your accidental
life, said this time I wouldn’t rescue you, knowing
you’d hate me, knowing I’d make myself sick. We’re
speaking now, the airport is so near, New York closer
than my birthday tomorrow, close as bearded death
whose Porsche just cut us off in the fast lane.

When you were three, you asked if God lived
under the street. I said I didn’t know, although
a world opened under my feet walking with you
over strange angels, busy arranging our fate. Soon,
if we make it, I’ll be in the air, where people say God lives,
the line between you and me stretched thinner,
thinner but tight enough still to bind us,
choke us both with love. Your Scout, putty-colored
as L.A. mornings, protests loudly but hangs on.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets

__________

Donna Spector: “Twenty years ago a friend asked, ‘Why do you write?’ I answered without hesitation, ‘My writing is my life.’ I felt that I sounded melodramatic, but I knew it was true. I love language and telling stories, in plays, fiction and poetry. Writing helps me to understand myself and make sense of the world around me. When I don’t write for some time, I feel lost and empty. Each time I write, I try something new, as a challenge and an inspiration, like a journey to unknown places. And I have been a single parent since my son was four, and he’s now in college.” (web)

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January 30, 2014

Donna Spector

JOHN BERRYMAN USED TO SWAY

or lean into a corner when he read Yeats
and Cummings. He still suffered
from malaria, he said, but he could dissect our dreams
like a surgeon looking for the heart
of the matter, which was always sex. I was just
eighteen and easily offended. When he took me
to the Steppenwolf, our student bar,
I tried to argue lust into some other universe,
but I was pretty and silly in my fake
Oxford accent, and he said, Be quiet.
And, studying my poems as though they were
worth his attention, Remove all articles
and conjunctions
. I remember a line:
where the fires fall.

Blue fires, he said. You understand?
I didn’t, but I loved him, memorized haiku
in Japanese for him, Dante in Italian.
On New Year’s Eve I drank wine with him in his
tiny Berkeley apartment. He gave me
a handwritten Henry poem and asked me
for a dream. I can’t, I said, holding my inner
life away. All I need is one word,
he said. Just one word.

from Rattle #29, Summer 2009

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