Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Moving Memories


I've never missed home.
Once gone, I was glad
to not remember that little apartment.
Second floor of a house, with creaky floors
that always announced my arrival on Saturday nights
way after curfew so I'd get in trouble,
stay in bed next day as late as I could,
to avoid scoldings about how a nice girl should,
do this and that, be good.

My tiny room could barely fit a child's bed,
second hand little desk was always a mess
'cause the nuns gave so much homework, sometimes
I couldn't even finish talking on the phone
before I was forced to eat a full meal against my will,
when all I wanted was to have fun, but instead went
back to my books before it was time
to put curlers in my hair. Not to curl
but to straighten it, tame it
while giving it more life.

Then on graduation day, I wanted to be
with all my friends, but had to stay
in crowded little apartment where too many relatives
gathered to see what a girl looks like
bound for college, wondering what the heck college is.
No one had a clue, but all wished me well anyway.

Drove by some years ago, not sure why.
Looked up at little apartment I never missed,
saw its windows looking out, stoic, still,
unlike my tears, uncontrolled.

(Submitted to Dverse Poets.)

Ugh.  When my poems fail, they really bomb.  Sorry.  I've received a few comments with compassion about my growing up.  My fault.  I wrote this so tongue in cheek, I'm afraid I made my point much too obscure.  My intention was to show how I was cared for, in spite of poverty, an uneducated family, they disciplined, taught me, paid for Catholic School and though they were vague about the benefits of education, they got me there.  As a teen, I resisted and rebelled and yes the apartment was small, I didn't miss it, but in it I 'grew' thanks to my family.

Now I know how a comedian feels when (s)he has to explain the jokes.  But it's all learning for me.)


  1. whew...i would say, be glad you escaped...cause that does not sound like a fun place at all...so it was like a boarding school? nuns in that situation scare me...esp when made to do things against your will...and the separation is felt...

  2. Myrna, this is a very painful and revealing write; I applaud you for this. Not everyone has good memories of, "home"; honestly, sometimes home is where we hurt the most... And that can stick with us for life

  3. Those memories/realisations sneak up on us don't they?

  4. Those memories stay doesn't it ~ Somehow seeing the old places strike my heart too and I would have tears in my eyes ~ Perhaps if we could unravel time, I suspect we'll redo to what we really like to do in the first place ~ Thanks for the personal share Myrna ~

  5. honest poetry is always the best, which this was. How people read it is like a door to the great unknown.

  6. I read this as a poem of gratitude to your family who gave you their best more importantly gave you a sound value system which you only appreciate when you stumble across people who have never been blessed with the same. Loved this poem Myrna.

  7. I like the growing up story of some slight teenage angst.. Of course what might seem like harshness was indeed deep care and wishes for you to find something better..

  8. i'm glad your parents gave you the opportunity to go to a good school - and i know from my own experience that we don't tend to honor it so much in that moment cause there are thousand other things on our mind - afterwards we're thankful they made us to go through it...

  9. These are the wonderful things that we remember not just as experiences but as an education. It made things in future a lot easier to face up to when what we experienced were really challenging. Great write Myrna!


  10. ...even so...home is where the heart is.

  11. Thanks for the explanatory note. Your poem reminded me of myself raised in a kind of poverty with 5 people in 2 rooms--for only 7 years though. There was no privacy, but the love and intention was kindness itself. Perhaps it is the note of not missing it that makes people believe you felt abused. The irony gets lost. But not the connection--because your last lines give us the tears, the vulnerability you didn't give to the child. But as I remember, those places were too small to share emotions. I heard "Wipe those storm clouds off your forehead" more than once in that setting. Now I believe I learned Quaker silence there, but that is a late revelation after several decades of swallowing or in-smoking feeling.

  12. No explication was necessary, MOVING MEMORIES stands on its own, clearly seeming to be a "personal" memory, as so many of our poetics are channeled from. Teen years, for boys & girls are such angst-ridden times, you captured a piece of yours wonderfully.

  13. Mixed blessings for sure, but sad no happy childhood memories

  14. Mixed blessings for sure...sad though no happy memories. .good to write about it..

  15. I missed this write when I was away, glad I found it now. I totally get it, Myrna, how when we are young we long to escape. It's only later, we recognize the safety that surrounded us, there. I have tears, too, when I look back on those years - for their innocence. For all I did not know, but would one day learn. A great write.