Dangling on a Hook‎ > ‎Poetry‎ > ‎

Before Time Began










My Mom



My Mom…

(at least according to the aunts and uncles talking,
me, the child, playing with dolls or scrabbling under the table
lost in my Gretel forest...
ignored or invisible?)


….was uppity

Didn’t know her place



No defense.



Not for my Mom,

For such words were never put directly to her,

And not for the child,
For children have no defense









Just a Girl

She was just a girl
Small, slight, blond, bland
Laughing & walking in the line-ups at elementary school
Hand in hand with another girl, other hand covering her mouth whispering secrets
Her hand held under her armpit, sullen
If with a boy

Just a girl I didn't know, didn't care about
Until the boy with the same name as my Daddy
Disappeared

After

After I saw that girl different
I watched her, furtively
Out of the corner of my eyes instead of merely noticing her because she was in the scope of my vision
I noticed her off in the distance on the playground
And wondered
Wondered what the girls she played with asked
Wondered what she told them
After our town paper screamed of his disappearance
After all the people in the town had gone out looking for the boy
After her Daddy had been convicted for trying to extort money from the parents of the boy
After all the publicity in our small town
Screamed of the extortion
Screamed of the arrest
Screamed of the trial
After listening to my Mom & Dad and my Aunts & Uncles and their friends talk about the disappearance
After I thought maybe the boy with the same name as my Daddy hadn't really been kidnapped
But had run away
He was retarded
We called people like him that then
But he wasn't that retarded, just a little bit slow and the son of the big boss mine man
They lived in the big house
After I thought maybe the boy with the same name as my Daddy had run away to become someone else
After all those things had happened I watched the girl
Who was the daughter of the man who tried to extort money from the parents of the boy who disappeared
After all that I watched the girl more closely

In the end she left town too
Moved away I suppose so she could be just a girl
Once again














All I know is This


Nestor Northumberland Nelson was a gentle young man

with golden hair that watered down his back

His voice was low and always soft, his hands were gentle in every way

His eyes were liquid and seemed removed to some small quiet far off place



Nestor Northumberland Nelson was a young man in the 60's

His mind was slow, sweet, warm, soothing and kind

His thoughts were of a simple life, small pleasures and quiet peace



Nestor Northumberland Nelson was caught with one joint in 1969 
and then spent 9 months in the slammer

His successive reactions were bewilderment, fear, resignation and hate

His time in the slammer was largely uneventful except he was raped



Nestor Northumberland Nelson came out of the slammer 
and his voice was still low and soft but his eyes weren't liquid anymore

His mind and his thoughts were cool, sad, resigned and hard

His desire for a simple life and small pleasures remained 

but the quiet peace had been successfully removed














Etcetera













We were on vacation driving through the Okanagan Valley

Which according to my Time Atlas of the World (Compact Edition)

Is open shrub lands (I think)

It's hard to tell the exact colour
 (On the tiny map, my eyes older, the light dim)


It could be croplands (It is croplands)

Fruit trees, peaches, cherries & pears (Tomatoes too!)

(Etc)


My Mom & Dad were in the front seat of the car

My Grandpa Odinsen, my brother Garry & I were in the back



We were all a little weary

Hot

The Okanagan is hot (In the summer)

In the winter, middling winter (It gets the occasional cold snap below 20 degrees)

Not as cold as the Cariboo (Not as mild as the Coast)

(Fair bit of snow)


We had watched mountain passes

Through the car window

And semi-deserts

Had had a sandwich lunch & a campfire breakfast 

And had driven hard 

In a crowded hot car

For miles & miles
(Miles & miles)

Miles & miles

"Look!" my Mom said

"Turn in there. See that sign!"

And she pointed to a large sign

A hundred yards 

Behind

Professional lettering (Three bright colours)

A picture on it (Of a TeePee)

"Where!?" my Dad barked

Weary too

Hot, tired, stiff (Confined)

"To the right Frank. It's not a government camp

The sign said it's a KeeWee camp."



"What the hell is a KeeWee camp" GrandPa Odinsen

Rumbled up
 
From the right hand side (Window seat)

Me in the middle (The hottest)

My brother beside me on the left (His hand out the window)

"They're a privately owned camp site" my Mom explained

Often they have showers & sometimes a pool

"

A pool!" I piped up

Suddenly enlivened (By even the thought)

Of cool, blue, silky, wet, cool, weightless (Water)

"Oh can we, oh can we, oh can we!" I chattered

"

We'll see" my Mom replied calm
"
We'll see" GrandPa Odinsen replied ominously

"We'll see" my brother Garry mumbled so quietly only I could hear

My Dad swung his head to the back seat (I became quiet)

We turned off the paved road & travelled down a winding dirt one

Entered trees & a patch of groomed grass 

And passed a children's playground

My heart fluttered & I leaned over my brother 

Looking longingly at the slide

He pushed me back roughly (I squealed)

GrandPa's hand flicked up (ForeFinger raised)

Mom turned 'round (And scowled)

Dad growled (I shrunk in my seat)

"Over there Frank" my Mom pointed this time

At a concrete block building with a sign over the door that said

Office (I could read)

Dad went through a gate

Around a circular driveway

Past the building labelled office

And parked in a dusty parking lot

Underneath a green hill

And stopped the car

Turned the engine off

We all sat for a few seconds (Silent)

Getting used to the idea of not driving (Not moving through the air)

Hot (Dry hot hot)

Breathing (Hot air)

Dad turned round & looked at GrandPa

Checked out me

And my Brother too



"Well Gwen, what do you think?" he asked my Mother

I looked longingly at the pool (Noticed the showers beside the office)

Checked more thoroughly the slide in the park (And the merry-go-round)

Even my teenage brother had a soft smile on his lips (Watching the pretty girl at the pool)

"Looks fine to me Frank" my Mother said

With more enthusiasm in her voice

Than she should

GrandPa grunted (Dad made to get out of the car)

"I don't like me here" GrandPa mumbled

Dad swung open the car door (Letting in the heat)

"I don't like me here" GrandPa said louder

My Mom said "What?"

"I don't like me here!" my GrandPa said with no doubt in the tone of his voice

"I don't like me here!"

My brother groaned (My Dad turned to face GrandPa)

I moaned (My Mother looked straight ahead out the car's front window)

Straight ahead (Without a word)

"I don't like me here" GrandPa said one last time

His arms crossed over his chest



My Dad closed the door

And started up the car again

Drove past the office

Around the circular driveway

Past the pool & the patch of grass

Up the dirt road until we hit the highway

And then turned right (Or maybe left)











Includes:
I Want
Subpages (1): Ashes to Ashes
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