As promised, Poetry Friday fans...an original poem about the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.
Driving home from the poetry festival, 1996 I would like to remember this night, compel my mind to hoard sounds, images. But Route 80 is featureless, dark and nothing more. I wish for some apparition, a fire in the sky, perhaps the carcass of an animal strewn across the road, its blood flashing in snapshots. This night, when words reached behind my eyes like sea water, into my throat like desert air, this night should be remembered. My mother, with me big in her belly, drove some other featureless highway, the rest of the world home in bed. A voice said, “Pull over.” And she did. Even though she was alone, she listened to that voice, and watched from the shoulder. A darkened car hurtled the wrong way, weaving the road towards her and me. Tonight I say, speak to me, Voice, so I will remember. But I am closer to home with every mile, knowing this drive will be forgotten, not even hearing the radio drone. Words burn in my mind. There is no room for road, or darkness, or music. A voice I recognize now, as my own, has whispered, Mother, blood, belly. Carcass, car, desert. These words anchor themselves just long enough for me to write them here. Published in Paterson Literary Review #29, 2000
This Jersey Girl will be heading home first thing Friday morning to spend two days at the festival. Can't go to this year's festival? Stop by next week for reactions, poetic postcards, photos, and interviews with poets and festival staff.