Pain~I do not think it means what you think it means.

https://i0.wp.com/school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/scalpel.gifI was idly flipping through the latest issue of Parents when I came upon this:

For decades, doctors believed that babies didn’t feel pain, based on flawed studies showing that sleeping infants didn’t respond to light pinpricks. In fact, until the 1980s, many newborns who had heart surgery received no pain medication — they were only given paralytic drugs that forced them to lie completely still, though fully aware, as their chests were opened.

To which I say, WHAT??! Why is it that we need studies to tell us what should be perfectly, staggeringly obvious? As late as the 1980s!! We’re not talking the dark ages here. An appalling reminder that you can’t take anything for granted — it would never have even occurred to me that my baby wouldn’t receive anesthesia for surgery. He would now, but just 20 years ago…!

I was expecting innocuous articles on sharing and finger foods, and instead I’ll be forever haunted by the image of a baby strapped to an operating table, paralyzed, eyes open in horror, as his chest is cracked open.

But I can’t end a post with that, it’s just too awful, so here’s a poem from Lisa Russ Spaar’s collection, Satin Cash, that captures something of how I’m feeling right now:

You, with Gold Leaf

I grow impatient with spirit as alibi
despite each night, ecclesiastical,

more and more sky, the costal trees
in fierce defrayal,

fretting with kohl branches
the edges of the parking lot.

I stand by my car,
night a translucent, colostrum blue

of goodbye, & cocklebur Venus
reveals to me the truth

of your body as light source,
burning by mercy inside me still.

Short newsy post ending with a Spontaneous Vision of Cuteness.

  • The CPS reading last night with Nikky Finney, Tara Betts, and the ladies of the Holyoke Care Center was phenomenal!  The energy & passion in that room was just amazing, and, as Tara & Nikky both noted, it was like a continuum, the poetry torch passed down from Nikky to Tara to the talented teen mothers, and then back up again.  A night to remember.
  • I did manage to finish my poem, but contrary to everything I said, it required a LOT of revision.  It’s now 19 lines, versus the 18 lines I left off with, with only a few lines resembling the earlier version.  Moral:  sometimes I am full of crap.
  • Did you know that the reason a baby’s breath is so very sweet is a baby has no teeth?  Bacteria causes odor, teeth harbor bacteria, hence, no teeth, no bad breath.

As promised: a Spontaneous Vision of Cuteness.
As promised: a Spontaneous Vision of Cuteness: Vincent & Aidan.

Good Times.

My little Mr. Magoo.
My little Mr. Magoo.

Emma commented below something to the effect that she doesn’t know how I do it all.  And my reply is, I don’t.  The lion’s share of my time right now is spent taking care of Aidan and Vincent.  I’ve taken notes for poems, actually read some books of poems, but I haven’t even picked up the novel I began reading while I was in the hospital.  I try to keep the apartment neat, for my own sanity, but actual cleaning, well, housekeeping was never my strong suit.  I don’t answer the phone — that’s what voicemail is for.  It’s frigidly cold, so we hardly go out but for necessities.  Simply put, if there’s something you tend to do on a daily basis, I probably don’t.

And all that is just fine, exactly as it should be, because these early baby days are fleeting, and Vincent is growing by leaps and bounds, and all too soon these boys who give me barely a second’s rest won’t want me around, will roll their eyes at me and mutter, “Whatever.”  I may be bleary-eyed and irritable, but that doesn’t keep me from smothering those little heads with kisses while I can.

In preparation for the poetry-writing-drought that was inevitable after Aidan’s birth, I sent out many submissions, or what I consider many, a few months ago.  If I’m not writing, I at least want a bunch of my poems out there!  Last week was particularly trying on the home front, but I’m happy to say that  poetry-wise I’ve had a string of good luck.  So I’m not complaining.  But more on that later.

From Not for Mothers Only:.

From Not for Mothers Only:  Contemporary Poems on Child-Getting & Child-Rearing, edited by Catherine Wagner & Rebecca Wolff:

Cesarean

Now the irises rage light, spiked tongues
at the hospital window

Inside the body’s solarium light shrinks
to cold flat stone

How I would like to just unravel

Through glass, cut leaves curl like fingers
in my throat

I once wished to take myself apart

There is no space between us: body caught in my body

There is the voice telling me there are many ways to give birth

The lesson chalked on the sidewalk like a missing
body these lines the surgeon sketches —

to save her, cut here and here and here

— Nicole Cooley