Friday, August 28, 2020

Martha Deed : Po Biz


it's 2006
what do i know
i'm 65
the worst is yet to come
better write
while i can
(old lady
new poet)
a challenge
to be sure


autobiography bug strikes
predictably of course
predictably a bore


what if
a giant puzzle poem
rigid as hell
rigid enough to make me think
and then what


not Peter Ganick
he's famous
i'm not
even i the new poet
know potes and potes
he knows good stuff
he doesn't know me


the in-house daughter
self appointed poet/critic
comes straight to the point
you never know the value
of your work, she says
the worse it is
the better you think it is
and what you think is trash
i say
could bring you fame
(tho of a modest sort)


65 words per year
the years in pairs
moving from year 33
back toward 1 and 65
paired and then
within each pair
repeated words
1 in the first 32 & 34
2 in the second 33 & 35
until 32 repeated words 1 & 65

constraints might make nostalgia
rot on memory's vine


Peter Ganick took it right away
for his small chapbook project
and when i discovered
broken constraints
he was unfazed
I only knew
I liked the poems, he said
so if revision is your wish
of course you may go ahead
(words to that effect in emails
swallowed by antiquity)


an editor who saw value in these lines
gently, candidly declined later work
fostered this poet's imagination and craft
and many others, too, whether he took your poems
or not you knew you had his serious attention
a treasure sorely missed


I wish the worst thing I ever did to you
was pointing out the wrong baby
to your grandparents at the hospital
the day you were born and correcting
my mistake only when someone asked,
"Why is she wrapped in a blue blanket?"
The next worst thing I did
was to tell you when I thought
you were old enough to laugh
but you weren't.


The "deux chevaux," le toute petite voiture,
tin snail on wheels, powered by the driver
wrestling two axles with no shocks
through hairpin curves
above river valleys painted by Impressionists,
while nanny and the baby slung in hammock seats
wired to the roof sang nursery songs.  You were old
enough to laugh while we were scared mistake
to rent the car "for cheap" in Nevers.


The obstetrician said,
"If you don't want her
I'll take her home with me."
She said this to all her first time Moms
She was first herself: first Woman Board-Certified
Surgeon, shunned by male colleagues
She only did "female operations"
to keep the peace.  When I dropped
my little brother on his head twelve years later,
she said I must forgive myself
for my mistake.


My Aunt Jane was the first person I knew
to reach 100.  She surprised herself that she outlived
all her male colleagues who had shunned her
the first time they read her mind.
Not one to keep peace by playing dumb, she
said she dropped this posed herself and told them
If you don't want this brain to think,
I'll take her home with me.

Martha Deed.  65 X 65. small chapbook project. 2006. Pp. 3, 34.

Martha Deed began studying and writing poetry in 2000 as she wound down her psychology practice into early retirement.  Peter Ganick published her second chapbook.  She has now published dozens of poems in journals ranging from Shampoo, CLWN WR and Xexoxial to Earth's Daughters and The Buffalo News, several more chapbooks and has had many of her poems selected for anthologies.  She has published seven books, including two poetry collections: Climate Change (FootHills Publishing, 2014) and Under the Rock (FootHills Publishing, 2019).

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