Monday, July 24, 2006

BIRTHDAY POEM

For my birthday I received a double-layer chocolate cake made by my kids and husband, my favorite dinner, stemless wine glasses, a wine carafe, a zester, and kitchen towels. With a gift certificate, I bought a couple of birthday outfits before we left for the family reunion. I also received this poem from Writer's Almanac - wasn't it nice that they remembered me on my birthday? ;)

Poem: "Creed" by Meg Kearney from An Unkindness of Ravens. © BOA Editions, Rochester, New York, 2001.

Creed

I believe the chicken before the egg
though I believe in the egg. I believe
eating is a form of touch carried
to the bitter end; I believe chocolate
is good for you; I believe I'm a lefty
in a right-handed world, which does not
make me gauche, or abnormal, or sinister.
I believe "normal" is just a cycle on
the washing machine; I believe the touch
of hands has the power to heal, though
nothing will ever fill this immeasurable
hole in the center of my chest. I believe
in kissing; I believe in mail; I believe
in salt over the shoulder, a watched
pot never boils, and if I sit by my
mailbox waiting for the letter I want
it will never arrive—not because of
superstition, but because that's not
how life works. I believe in work:
phone calls, typing, multiplying,
black coffee, write write write, dig
dig dig, sweep sweep. I believe in
a slow, tortuous sweep of tongue
down the lover's belly; I believe I've
been swept off my feet more than once
and it's a good idea not to name names.
Digging for names is part of my work,
but that's a different poem. I believe
there's a difference between men and
women and I thank God for it. I believe
in God, and if you hold the door
and carry my books, I'll be sure to ask
for your name. What is your name? Do
you believe in ghosts? I believe
the morning my father died I heard him
whistling "Danny Boy" in the bathroom,
and a week later saw him standing in
the living room with a suitcase in his
hand. We never got to say good-bye, he
said, and I said I don't believe in
good-byes. I believe that's why I have
this hole in my chest; sometimes it's
rabid; sometimes it's incoherent. I
believe I'll survive. I believe that
"early to bed and early to rise" is
a boring way to live. I believe good
poets borrow, great poets steal, and
if only we'd stop trying to be happy
we could have a pretty good time. I
believe time doesn't heal all wounds;
I believe in getting flowers for no
reason; I believe "Give a Hoot, Don't
Pollute," "Reading is Fundamental,"
Yankee Stadium belongs in the Bronx,
and the best bagels in New York are
boiled and baked on the corner of First
and 21st. I believe in Santa
Claus, Jimmy Stewart, ZuZu's petals,
Arbor Day, and that ugly baby I keep
dreaming about—she lives inside me
opening and closing her wide mouth.
I believe she will never taste her
mother's milk; she will never be
beautiful; she will always wonder what
it's like to be born; and if you hold
your hand right here—touch me right
here, as if this is all that matters,
this is all you ever wanted, I believe
something might move inside me,
and it would be more than I could stand.

6 Comments:

Anonymous danny said...

Happy birthday J.B. and I believe in your poignant and thought provoking poem.

Your family are so sweet and loving.

9:15 AM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thank you Danny - I definitely related to the poem - though I did not write it.

7:11 PM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger tammy said...

Happy Birthday!

8:08 AM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thanks Tammy

11:07 AM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Happy birthday!!!! Great poem summing up who you are!!

5:09 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Julia I apologize for not reading thoroughly. Still a great poem!!

5:10 PM, July 26, 2006  

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