Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Riding The Poetry Bus with People Who Don't Like This?

I have not been on TFE's Poetry Bus for some time now and have missed some amazing prompts, but I have a boarding pass for a ride driven this week by NanU. Here's what NanU asks of Poetry Bus passengers:
The theme at hand is something you like that other people don’t like. Or you’re afraid they don’t like it. Or you think they think you’re strange for liking it.

Reconcile the past, bank on the future

There are programs to do this for me
and I could use the bank's website to
monitor the account. But on account of
a peculiar night long ago, when a sort
of imprinting transpired, I find pleasure
reconciling the month's records alone
at my desk late at night. Just the way
he showed me.

My week in northern California with
my aunt, my uncle, and their kids -
my cousins younger than I at nine -
had been a swimmingly sunny time
but on the final night my uncle woke me,
had me follow him to their large bedroom
where against the bay window he had
his desk, folding table, and files in his
makeshift first home office.
(They were so young themselves
then, just starting out, and had not yet
moved to the big house where they  
all grew up).

My aunt snored lightly in their bed
across the room. The light he set on
the folding table had a short beam from
bulb to bank statement and stack of
checks. He whispered that he wanted
to teach me how to work with these things,
to make sense of them, to have no fear
of them, so I would not grow up incapable
of caring for myself like his "sweetie" --
and he smiled into the dark toward
her blond hair.

MLydiaM ~ January 2011



NanU said...

What a wonderful memory! Thanks for joining us.

Kat Mortensen said...

This paints a charming picture! I wonder is it the solitude, or the reconciling that appeals most?


mythopolis said...

Never a reconcilin' man,
I keep my cash in a coffee can.
Count my money out by hand,
It slips away,
like grains of sand!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

can you come and teach that to Herself? she's terrible at accounting.

i re-took my maths about 6 years ago to try and overcome my fear of numbers - i nearly drove the teacher insane with my endless questions, and i've forgotten most of it again now: but i think i could face a page of sums without too much fear now

I like this memory/pome a lot - it kind of reminds me of when my granddad would pick me up in his car and i'd sit in the back, watching the shadows grow and fall on the back of his chair. They were always covered in plastic, because he got a free courtesy car as part of his retirement

Maybe i will write about that now you've got me thinking.

Thanks for much needed inspiration today :)

kj said...

oh lydia!!!!! this is wonderful. you know i am writing in snippets these days and my god this is a complete story in so few words. talk about show don't tell. the tenderness is crafted through every character.

i wish you could come here and write in my big yellow weekend retreat. i have no doubt you would love it, and how incredible it would be to hear you read.

Rachel Fox said...

Intriguing story...

120 Socks said...

I too like reconciling bank accounts, but I have no idea why!

English Rider said...

Patterns in life and patterns in numbers lend balance to our existence. It was generous of his spirit to think to teach you.

Indigo said...

There is security in the numbers, comfort in the knowing. Loved this stroll down memory lane with you. (Hugs)Indigo

Lydia said...

NanU~ I am glad you enjoyed it. Your prompt was really great!

Kat~ You ask a good question. I do not like doing the reconciliation with the busyness of the day around me, so it has a lot to do with solitude at night.

mythopolis~ I love the way you create poems in your comments. I was humming "(Lord, I Was Born a) Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers when I read your poem.

Pixies~ I am no mathematician. I think my uncle knew or sensed my fear of math and it was one reason he provided the training session. I have compartmentalized my personal bookkeeping from all the other math in the world. Maybe Herself could do the same! And you, with your oodles of questions for the teacher, have half the battle won just by being curious.

I love your memory of your granddad and really hope you write about it.

kj~ You are so kind. I'm glad you felt the story. I do thank NanU for the interesting prompt that shook it from the cobwebs of my mind.
I wish I could attend your writing conference too. What a treat. And I would find it incredible to hear myself read too, since that is something I've never done in public. Shy one sometimes, sometimes brazen...

Rachel Fox~ Thanks. I read your comments at another blog that you are not blogging regularly right now. I will pop over to your blog to see if you describe the project that has your attention.

120 Socks~ Yea! a kindred one. Maybe you are super at math and it is a piece of cake for you to reconcile accounts? Maybe you love puzzles and finding missing clues (I like that part of it)? Maybe you are a secret cousin...did you know Uncle Bill? :)

English Rider and Indigo~ (I am replying to your comments together because they spoke of numbers.)Beautifully put and so true, both of your comments. I wish he were alive to be able to have him read them, and to then finally say thank you myself; alas...
I am reminded of a fascinating program I listened to this week on PBS radio, about the guiding principles of math and the order of the universe. It was wonderful and I am going to look for it on the website!

the watercats said...

It's funny isn't it the things that influence our lives. It's the single biggest thing another human can do to another and that is spend time and pass on knowledge. Really enjoyed this little snapshot of a moment.

Roxana said...

so touching... i particularly love the third stanza, the last lines make my heart ache, somehow, for this lost moment, this tenderness, this frailty...

Lydia said...

the watercats~ Thank you for your appreciation of this. Means a lot.

Roxana~ Touching comments too.
They were married for so long. He left her first and my cousins (and the poodle my uncle gave her) took sweet care of her until she too was gone.

Dick said...

Quite an achievement - you've managed to weave skillfully something of powerful emotive content around a dull domestic routine!

Lydia said...

Dick~ Why, thank you! I really appreciated your comment.

bfk said...

It's so nice to see poetry about check writing. I just wrote out three and there was no beauty in it all.

I needed this.

Lydia said...

bfk~ Your first sentence pretty much kept me in stitches throughout Sunday. I needed that too.

As I write this reply (that you may or may not read) it has become your birthday. I am so glad you were born so I could know you in my lifetime. Happy Birthday!



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