Binghamton Poetry Project Spring 2019

I actually managed to attend all five weeks of Binghamton Poetry Project this semester and decided to submit to our anthology, even though I could not make today’s final reading. I generally post the poems that I put in the anthology after the reading.

The first two poems were actually written in the summer session of 2018, but there is no anthology in the summer, so I decided to publish them this time. A note on “An American Family”:  I want to acknowledge that indigenous/First Nations people are the original Americans; this poem refers to the vast majority of people in the United States who are either descendants of immigrants or immigrants themselves.

Enjoy!
*****
At Thirteen Months

My granddaughter grabs
at the floor lamp again
knowing that it is forbidden
but not that it is dangerous

looking at the adults
in the living room
knowing we will say
no

will pick her up
take her away
set her down
in the middle

of the room
where her toys
are scattered only
to have her rush

back to the lamp
look to make sure
we are watching
repeat the scenario

I finally resort
to what I did
with her mother
take her away

but hold her
in my arms instead
of placing her on the floor
she squirms and cries

a bit but
thirty seconds
is a long time
for a 13-month-old

she toddles back
to toys not lamp
a tear glistening
on her cheek

*****

An American Family

We are an American family
but people stare.

At the park, they assume
my sister is her children’s nanny.

I worry about my brown-skinned
nephews being stopped by the police,
but not my blond one.

Most Americans have roots
in Europe, Asia, or Africa.
Why is it so hard to accept
our family’s roots in all three?

What could be more American?

*****

We always wanted to roast marshmallows

after the hot dogs and hamburgers
had been grilled
and the charcoal glowed
red, under its ashen coat

We cut green sticks
whittling them down
to a point
ready to pierce

the Jet-Puffeds
We didn’t want
them to catch
fire, to burn

black, just a nice
golden brown
soft and sweet
as we three

girls, protected
from charred
bitterness
and burnt tongues

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return

So now my daily participation with Just Jot It January just got more challenging by a factor of two, but I couldn’t be happier! Daughter E and granddaughter ABC arrived safely yesterday evening after four weeks in London. Given the long day and the five hours of jet lag, they are both adjusting to being back quite well.

ABC was away for her nineteenth month and grew another inch while she was gone. She added more words, including a couple words of Tagalog. She is also pronouncing some of her older words more clearly. She clearly remembered us and the house – and her toys. She has been in quite a good mood, especially given that not only is there jet lag but she is also just getting over a cold.

The house is undoubtedly livelier than it has been. With more demands on my time, I’ll have to re-double my efforts to continue to post every day.

Can I do it?

Stay tuned…
*****
Join us for Just Jot It January! Today’s pingback link is here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/14/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-14th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

a new ornament for the tree

We decorated our Christmas tree today. While many people put their trees up right after Thanksgiving here in the United States, we usually wait until closer to Christmas and keep it up until Epiphany. This year, knowing that daughter E and granddaughter ABC will be heading to the UK mid-month for the holidays, we decided to decorate early in order to observe St. Nicholas Day on December sixth for exchanging gifts and opening stockings.

At almost eighteen months, we weren’t sure how ABC would react to tree trimming. We went through our considerable cache of ornaments and chose all the indestructible and child-safe ones for the bottom half of the tree. ABC was delighted with all the rocking horses, bells, animals, musical instruments, angels, etc. and ran back and forth with them. She wanted them on the tree and then wanted them back off to play with them, but, eventually, we got the whole tree decorated. We are sure there will be lots of opportunities to re-hang ornaments after she decides to play with them again!

I love our Christmas ornament collection, which includes ones that came to us from our families, handmade ones, and many that we have collected while travelling. One special one that we added this year is a handmade downy woodpecker, which we bought to commemorate the one that our daughters tried to rescue.
downy

The woodpecker’s new bear friend is one that we have had for decades.

And two of ABC’s words are “bear” and “bird”, even if they do sound a lot alike when she says them.

I admit that, with so much going on this past year, I am having trouble feeling in the Christmas spirit, but ABC’s delighted squeals with each new ornament certainly helped.

SoCS: Ma and ABC

“Ma” is one of the first syllables that babies say, often when they are sad or upset, which is a bit of a bummer for moms to whom this sound is usually attached.

ABC is about to turn eighteen months, so we have been treated to the evolution of “ma”. Right now, it is the sound she makes when she is giving kisses, whether or not these involve physical contact.

It is so sweet at bedtime or other times of the day when she walks or runs over to give a kiss – Mmmmmmmaaaaa!

She and daughter E will leave mid-month to spend four weeks with dad/spouse L in London, where they will have holiday celebrations with her other grandparents, aunt, and extended family.

We will miss them and ABC kisses over the holidays.

Maybe she will kiss the computer screen when we visit digitally as we have seen her do many times when she sees her daddy on the screen…
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “ma”. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-1-18/ 

One-Liner Wednesday: First Birthday!

Ada first birthday
Happy First Birthday to my granddaughter, known here on my blog as ABC!
*****
Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/06/06/one-liner-wednesday-bird-dog/

on the move

Earlier this week, daughter E and granddaughter ABC left for an almost three month stay with son-in-law L and his parents in London.

The trip itself was not without drama. A four-hour layover in Detroit stretched to twelve. Fortunately, the waiting passengers bonded in support of those traveling with young children and ABC gained a number of honorary aunties and uncles.

After having ABC with us for nine months, other than her prior three week visit to London, it was difficult to say good-bye, especially for great-grandparents Nana and Paco. As if to give us all a gift before she left, ABC showed off her new mobility skills, doing a bit of crawling and some of her first unassisted steps when we were visiting with Nana and Paco.

For the past couple of months, ABC has wanted to be on her feet, often only holding on to one of our fingers. She was impatient with being down on the floor, so we thought she might never crawl, but she decided to both crawl and walk at the same time!

Walking at nine months is on the early side developmentally, especially given that ABC was born almost a month early, but ABC is strong and determined!

Fortunately, L had prepared with gates and other babyproofing measures.

L has been visiting with E and ABC nearly every day via video chat. Now, we will need to do that (though it won’t be daily), bolstered by photos and video clips that E posts. We will miss E and L’s birthdays and ABC’s first Easter and first birthday, all of which will be a preview of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic when E’s visa situation works out and she and dual-citizen ABC move to London permanently.

For now, we just need to get through the next eleven weeks.

First haircut

This week, ABC celebrated being eight months old with her first haircut. I should probably say trim, as it was just a bit of her bangs and some locks of hair near her ears that had grown long.

E and ABC accompanied me to my bang trim with Diane, my long-time stylist. We had been planning to ask for a trim for ABC when E is having her haircut next week, but Diane had a bit of time and said she would be honored to do it right then.

E held ABC on her lap and Diane draped her with a towel and gently and safely snipped the fine, dark locks, while talking to ABC, who was amenable to the whole operation.

Diane placed the locks into an envelope, sealed it, and signed it with name, date, and place. E now has it for safekeeping.

In a photo album on the bookshelf in my living room is a similar envelope from thirty years ago, when Diane first cut E’s blonde hair.