In 1991, my newly discovered writing talent scared the hell out of me. I kept it a secret from everyone I knew. I was a contract administrator. I handled important government documents. I had a DOD secret clearance for God’s sake. I sold F-16 seats for a living! I worked for the military-industrial complex. I did NOT (are you listening God) write poetry. As much as I loved Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings, James Kavanaugh, who did I think I was? A poet? A writer? Me? Surely you jest and I have magically appeared in an alternate universe.
What if they found out that late at night at home on my Mac, I was writing love poems of loss and longing, hunger and sex. In free verse that didn’t rhyme, no less. Oh my God, the humiliation, the embarrassment, the giggles. High school all over again. I might even get fired. Contract administrators, 46 year old mothers do not suddenly awake one day espousing free verse about feelings, wanting to do nothing else except write. Whom was I kidding? If I didn’t stop this falderal immediately, the poetry police would show up and lock down my Mac. I definitely needed therapy or at least to leave Los Angeles. And quickly. Where was a Bekins truck when you need one?
Uncle Aron said Los Angeles was a terrible place to live. There had to be a PA (Poets Anonymous) meeting somewhere in Los Angeles? There were meetings for every addiction known to mankind with acronyms to match. Where were the yellow pages when you needed them?
Josh was in his junior year of college with every belief he would write the next great screenplay. He wouldn’t leave home. Why should he? I paid for his lifestyle and let him borrow the RX-7 when he had a date or totaled the car he was driving that month. All his friends had a place to hang out during earthquakes. And should a tsunami follow, the fridge was always full of food so all his buddies could camp at our house. We lived five miles east of the Pacific Ocean, food was free, I did all the cooking, paid all the bills, and knocked on the door before entering his room. If God hadn’t intervened I’d still be working eighteen hour days, living with him and whatever girlfriend wanted to come over and play during daylight hours when Mom was at work. As usual I digress, sorry. So many stories, so little time.
I would sit down after work, pull out my tiny spiral chamois notebook (that Mead went everywhere with me), along with my Uniball blue 10 pt fine pens I purchased by the box. I’d be typing oblivious to time or hour, when I would feel him behind me reading over my right shoulder. He would want me to read the poem aloud. The came his first question, “How long did that take you?” For him it was always pragmatic, about mathematics not feelings. His mathematical brain working the next angle. One day instead of the math comment out comes, “Mom, you do realize that Emily Dickinson died a virgin and a pauper?”
To which I retorted, “Well I have her beat on one count. I’ve had sex once in my life.” He left the room. His dream of inheriting a trust fund wasn’t coming to fruition quickly enough.
After writing from March to August 1991, I needed a large three-ring binder with alphabetic tabs. One Sunday in August, Josh knowing my fear of speaking in front of crowds, drags me to Portofino’s – a college hang out near California State University, Long Beach. Sunday nights they had the latest rock group perform with poetry readings during intermission. Terrified does not properly convey my state of fear. My son, the soon to be Academy Award winning playwright, who was majoring in “writing screenplays” at Steven Spielberg’s stomping ground, wanted me (his mother) to come read my poems to his friends. Now I get his sneaky brain at work, I will be dead by Monday morning. And he will inherit the house, the jazz CDs, and the RX7. Not to worry. Now he can have women over any time he wants, not just while I’m at work.
Off we go, me hugging the three-ring binder so tight there are nail marks in the vinyl, sitting in back listening to the band though only hearing my heartbeat. There are roughly 99 people in attendance, 77 college females, a few males, band members, and staff. I’m shaking. Intermission arrives I’m the last poet to read and the only one over 20. I read poem one, not bad a little clapping, didn’t throw up. I read poem two, a little more noise from the girls (guess angst is appreciated amongst female intellectuals), I SNAP. Guess the applause went to my head. I turn the alphabet dividers to “O.” I read Orgasms and Other Feelings.* The room explodes and 77 college girls are on there feet cheering at the top of their lungs. Noise that could be heard at the Marriott on Ocean Boulevard a couple of miles away.
*Note to college boys/men – never ever give your Mother a hard time about anything. Not if she can write or speak. A time will come when she remembers.
Orgasms & Other Feelings
We learned early on
Not to talk about “them…”
…and other feelings.
So women grew up wondering
What one was
If they didn’t have multiple ones
As read about in Cosmo
We didn’t know much
Though we were sure
Men must be the culprits
And held them responsible.
We traded in our mates
Looking for the “them”
Divorce became the right of passage
Whose to blame? Who knows?
If the truth be told
No one can teach you to be unafraid
You need to learn it…
All rights reserved. ©2009 by Sara Fryd