Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing Weekly, Part Four

Hey there, guys. This past weekend was somewhere on the bad side of the weekend spectrum. In short, my parents and I went to look at cats because I really want to adopt one. I got instantly attached to this fantastic cat named Joe Boy, and we decided to talk things over and maybe come back to the shelter mid-week to adopt him. My father mentioned that when he was a kid, he was allergic to cats. He assured us, while at the shelter, that he was doing fine being around the cats. My sister was the one who dragged it out of him that his eyes got a little scratchy at the shelter. There's a really good chance that we won't be able to give Joe Boy a home (man, it's really hard to type that out), and I may have spent Saturday night balled up on the floor, trying to work but mostly having to fight my emotions back, which as we all know I'm no good at. I've been spending my days frantically researching air filters and ways to reduce allergies in a home. I really don't want to give up on him, and am hoping we can make this work.

I didn't take pictures over the weekend, and I've been working all day today and don't feel much like taking tripod photos, so I figured this would be a good time for me to re-start the Writing Weekly feature I began over the summer. Instead of sharing a book of poetry I've read, I'm going to share one poem that's really resonating with me that week, then talk a little bit about why I think it's important. Well, here we go:

The Fetus’ Curious Monologue by Amy Gerstler

My tail was longer than my hindlegs
not so long ago. I remember the Flood
several Ice Ages being covered with fur
chalk beds trilobites giant ferns
a scaley monstrosity crawling out of the sea
croaking a great surprise awaits you

Will I too grow fins? feelers? an elephant’s trunk?
Cheerful to this hour, afloat in my private ocean,
I plan to make a grand entrance,

howling in molten dialect, Even the sea’s spooky depths
shall not alarm me for I am already sunk!
The life of darting shadows, the deceptive surface
of the world – I shall see right through
to the seaweedy bottom. I will not be fooled!

The body’s hinges itch.
Gill slits ventilated my neck
until yesterday.
A newfangled monster,
Now what will I breathe?

green lipped mussels
horseshoe crabs
coral and snails

all sing of unalloyed joy and reciprocrated lust –
proof of progress, proof that evolution
is not just erosion, proof chiseled from limestone quarries
of womanly virtue (ageless patience, the warp and woof
of heredity’s tireless loom),
proof we do not really die
when our brief terms expire

My pink lungs are mutated swim bladders of fish.
A solitary wasp of consciousness
buzzes in my head while below,
the usual two room shack,
a bi-chambered heart is being constructed.

Someday I will have a scarlet hat and a ring,
perfect pitch,
a longing to be admonished.
Torn from the shores of immortality
I’m due to wash into the world soon,
wearing the face of a retired opera singer
mid-aria, famished and squalling.
I’m a festival of cells.
My blood’s as rich as Christmas
punch. Was I a horse thief in another life?
A blasphemous priest? What were my crimes?
What have I done to deserve to be bottled up thus?

I shared Amy Gerstler's work on this blog before, mainly because she's my current favorite poet, but also because I think her work manages to be both accessable and interesting. And life-altering, but that might just be me. In this poem, a fetus talks about its current situation and the changes its experiencing, and how terrifying and disorienting those changes can be. The fourth stanza is what really set me off. I've been going through a lot of personal changes, as you know, and the thought of living your whole life with gils, then losing them and being forced to find a new way to breath really affected me. I may or may not have melodramatically sobbed at the thought. This is why I love her poetry. Not because it can sometimes cause me to melodramatically sob, but because it takes something foreign and makes it completely relatable, something I wish I could do as well as her in my own work.

Until tomorrow,


  1. i'm really sorry to hear about joey boy :( we have four cats, and my boyfriend is allergic (not too bad, though.) an air purifier helps him at night, and brushing them daily helps.

    i hope it works out and you can give him a home!

  2. Sorry about your cat troubles. I had a longing for a cat, but after moving into our new house (whose previous owner had just one cat) and cleaning all that fur up.. from everywhere including the stove, it really turned me off to the idea. I am content to love cats from afar now! Good luck. I really hope it works out for you!

  3. my dad is also slightly allergic to cats, and we have three. plus two dogs! he just avoided them by not picking them up or sitting by them, and they tend to ignore him too. now he's not bothered by allergies anymore. of course, he's probably had a lot more time to work up a tolerance since we've had cats for as long as i can remember. i really hope you can work something out!

    also, the poem was lovely. i don't read enough poetry.


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