Sharing a favorite

This is one of my favorites. I connected with this piece when I was going through a hard time, as parts of it reminded me of my own mother. Watch the video and read it because both are a little bit different.

Parts that remind me of my relationship with my own mom are italicized in the text below.

April 16, 2005

My mother told me,
“If you ever become a rock star
do not smash the guitar.
There are too many poor kids out there
who have nothin’
and they see that shit
when all they wanna do is play that thing.
Boy
you better let’m play.”

If she ever starts in on one of these lectures
your best bet is to pull up a chair, Chief,
‘cause Momma don’t deal in the abridged version.

She worries about me so much some days
it feels like I’m watching windshield wipers
on high speed
during a light sprinkle
and I gotta tell’er, “Ma,
yer makin’ me nervous.”

She was born to be laid back,
y’all, I swear,
but some of us were brought up in households
where Care Free
is a stick of gum,
and the only option for getting out
is to walk faster.
The woman
can run
in high heels
backwards
bursting my bubble,
while double-checking my homework,
rolling enough coins
to make sure that I have lunch money,
and preparing for a meeting at school
on her only day off
so she can tell Miss Goss the music teacher,
“If you ever touch my boy again, big lady,
I’ll bounce a hammer off yer skull.”

I remember her doing these things swiftly
and with a smile
in her discounted thrift store business suits
that she wore just bright and distinguished enough
to cover up 30 years of highway scars
truckin’ through her spine.
Some accidents
you don’t need to see, rubbernecker.
Keep movin’
‘cause she made it.
She’s alive
and she’s famous.

We can stretch Van Gogh paintings
from Kilgore, TX to Binghamton, NY
and you still won’t find the brilliant brush strokes
it takes to be a single mother
sacrificing the best part of her dreams
to raise a baby boy who – on most days –
she probably wants to strangle.

We disagree – a lot.
For instance, she still thinks it’s okay
to carry on a conversation
full throttle
at 7 a.m.
whereas I think…
Oh, wait, I’m sorry…
I don’t think at seven in the morning.

But we both agree that
Love
makes no mistakes.
So at night time,
when she’s winding down
and I’m still writing books about
how to get comfortable in this skin she gave me,
I see rock stars on stages
smashing guitars.
It’s then when I wanna find’m a comfortable chair,
get’m a snack,
and introduce them to Daylight:

This is my mother,
Tresa B. Olsen.
Runner of the tight shift.
Taker of the temperature.
Leaver of the light on.
Lover of the underdog.
Mover of the mountain.
Winner of the good life.
Keeper of the hope chest.
Guitar
Repair
Woman.

And I am her son,
Buddy Wakefield.
I play a tricked-out electric pen,
thanks to the makers of music and metaphor,
but I do my best to keep the words in check,
and I use a padded microphone
so I don’t hurt you,
because sometimes I smash things,
and I don’t ever wanna let’er down.

I Love You.

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Posted in Family, Inspiration, Poetry

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