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, a handler of 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.
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. OMG the humiliation, the embarrassment, the giggles. High school all over again. I might even get fired. Contract administrators, 46 year old mothers don’t suddenly awake one day espousing free verse about feelings wanting to do nothing else. Who was I kidding? If I didn’t stop this now, the poetry police would show up and lock down my Mac. I definitely needed therapy or at least to leave Los Angeles.
Uncle Aron said Los Angeles was a terrible place to live. Was there 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 third year of college with every intent on becoming a playwright and breaking into Hollywood. 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. All his friends had a place to hang out during earthquakes in the event a tsunami followed. Food was free. I did all the cooking and knocked on the door before entering his room.
I would sit down after work, pull out my tiny spiral notebook (that 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 day, then I would feel him behind me reading. I would want to read the poem aloud, first question always, “How long did that take you?” His mathematical brain at work. Though one day instead of the math comment he says, “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.” He left the room.
After writing from Mar to Aug 1991, he drags me to Portofino’s a college hang out near Cal State Long Beach. On Sunday nights they had the latest rock band performance with poetry readings during intermission. Terrified does not properly convey my fear. My son, the soon to be Academy Award winning playwright, who was studying “writing” at Steven Spielberg’s stomping ground wanted me (his mother) to come read my love poems to his friends. I will be dead by Monday; he will inherit the house and the RX7. Not to worry.
Off we go, I bring the 3-ring binder with poems in alphabetical order, sit down to listen to the band. There are roughly 99 people in attendance, 87 college females, the rest 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, 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 87 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. *
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
*Note to college men ~ do not give your mothers a hard time; not if they can write and speak.