samedi 25 décembre 2010

a very bad christmas


when your whole family
thinks you're a fraud
and it's christmas eve
and you're driving home
in the pouring rain
after being yelled at
by your eldest son
for always being sick--
"not her fault," says your husband
"whose it then, god's?"--
after you've passed the day
in the endodentist's office
having a root canal on your
second front tooth after two
days of nerve pain from hell
and the residual pain from
your earlier visit with mom
and all you want to do
is come give your grandson
his christmas presents and
see and share his christmas joy
show each of them your love
but it's not good enough...

when you've driven for
four hours to see your mother
in spite of nausea and exhaustion
and all she does is taunt you
for being lazy and stupid
because you don't get, never have
that she's weak and half-blind
a recognition missing from your
relationship all these years
she's a bitch and she knows it
why not take her advice and
go away and leave her alone!
whatever you do won't be
enough, for example
the "new yorker box"
you made by hand is
clearly shelved, as she sits
on her porch with a cigarette
and her third vodka and tonic
and you're hurt but silent
as you shut the apartment door
start the car and drive 
the four hours home.

you ask your husband
to call your youngest son
because he won't take your calls
rejects your emails
tells you you were the
worst mother on earth and
writes on his blog that his
father, dead one year, is his
hero, the father whose abuse
drove you to your first
nervous breakdown, threatened
your life and beat the love right
out of you, and now at christmas
you who always use your
illness as a crutch, after you
spent hours on the phone
helping him through anxiety
attacks and bad breakups
and you know now that it will
never be enough, not after
you asked that same father to
shelter him and he told your
boy terrible lies about you
and now at 25, he won't talk
to you and all you do is worry
because the motto on his
myspace page is: i think i'm
dying, really...

and you sit next to your husband
bumping along at 55mph
sick as a dog on christmas eve
blinking in and out of consciousness
and you wonder how to go on
when the people you love the most
don't believe you're sick, only
believe you're crazy
and it's all about them
and how your unreliability affects
their plans, your mother is yelling
just don't come! if it means
she'll have to wait another day
even if you stay a day extra
or your son is yelling, just don't
come! if it means that you won't 
be able to spend the night on
his couch, even if you love him enough
to come after a root canal
to spend time with your grandson
oh how he loves you and grandpa
he called a week before just
to make sure you got there,
and you promised.

what have you done wrong to be
so utterly dissed by your family?
and if your family can't understand
what about the rest of the world
that doesn't have any attachment
to the wretched and disabled?
your husband grabs your hand and
squeezes it. you don't need words
as you ride the mountains
toward the coast, your sadness
and anger palpable as sandpaper.

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