Saturday, March 26, 2016

Neptune's Dinner

Eileen searches pasta packages for bird's nests;
the banister for bowling balls. 

When she makes spaghetti for her absent son,
there is a great flapping and avian concern--rightly so--
about the eggs in the colander.

On the way to the guest room, strange ghosts who arrived by train
are sent to the sides of the staircase by a perfect hook.
Eileen apologizes, though they are incorporeal
and therefore unhurt.

She feels responsible, does our Eileen,
for perished sparrows and
heavy accidents.

Eileen descends to 20,000 fathoms
for some solitude and quiet,
but at her feet she finds little lobsters with rubber bands around their claws.
They are intended for Neptune's dinner,
and cannot deliver the mail.

Where is Eileen's son?
Is he happy on a beach somewhere, with a girl Eileen hasn't even met?
She joins a bowling league, but they don't bowl--
they rescue birds from tornados, and in doing so find purpose
and a comforting sense that when they are ghosts
wind won't matter anymore.

Neptune dissolves at last, perhaps allowing Eileen to believe again in something--
maybe lobsters signing the Gettysburg Address for the hearing impaired
under a blue sky
where being alone is common
and doesn't make her feel ashamed, and like dying.
_____

For "the crack in everything", part of Play It Again Toads.

19 comments:

rhymeswithbug.com said...

Oh, such a melancholy feel - love it

Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil said...

Dark and twisty, this. The mom is obviously trying to pull together "the normal" at the expense of her own self. Her son seems to be her world, and the mention of "a girl she hasn't even met" really stung. Well done, Shay. I used your take on the prompt, the crack, in my poem, too. Amy

Debi Swim said...

That's a lot of crack right there - like a fractured fairytale

Outlawyer said...

Particularly beautiful close here, thanks, and wonderful imagery of the imagined or felt real. k.

K9friend said...

That's a heart tugging tale. I loved the flow of it.

Pat
Critter Alley

hedgewitch said...

This is so dreamlike--trancelike, actually, and like a dream, it pulls images up from deep within and throws them at us in a hectic stream like bits of things that surface in a boiling pot, then disappear. The lobsters here seem much more warm-blooded and fuzzy than the usual crustacean, and everything excites our sympathy for this woman caught in the random and alienating nature of life and the toll it takes. I especially like "they rescue birds from tornadoes, and in doing so find purpose/and a comforting sense that when they are ghosts/wind won;t matter any more..' Beautiful as the tie-in reference to the earlier ghosts and birds, and beautiful as a stand-alone image.Just excellent, Shay.

Cloudia said...

"She feels responsible, does our Eileen,
for perished sparrows and
heavy accidents.

Eileen descends to 20,000 fathoms
for some solitude and quiet,
but at her feet she finds little lobsters with rubber bands around their claws.
They are intended for Neptune's dinner,
and cannot deliver the mail.



Neptune dissolves at last, perhaps allowing Eileen to believe again in something--
maybe lobsters signing the Gettysburg Address for the hearing impaired
under a blue sky
where being alone is common
and doesn't make her feel ashamed, and like dying."


tasty!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I like debi's calling this a fractured fairytale. Perfect! That last line hits the heart.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I like the way you brought everything together in these lines:

She joins a bowling league, but they don't bowl--
they rescue birds from tornados, and in doing so find purpose
and a comforting sense that when they are ghosts
wind won't matter anymore.

Sioux said...

Melancholy--THAT'S the word I was looking for to describe this poem.

Mama Zen said...

This makes me so sad.

Lynn said...

Melancholy and beautiful.

Carol Campbell said...

Fissures in life. Sad but touched my heart deeply!

Bekkie Sanchez said...

No matter how perfect, there is always a crack. This reminds me of a dream with many crazy images.

Susie Clevenger said...

I have felt the darkness of alone when others gather for a holiday. It is uncomfortable dining alone on one's thoughts. This reaches me profoundly.

Jennifer Wagner said...

Oof. This was like you took me on a roller coaster with your words. I stepped on the ride unsure of where you were going to take me and then *bam* I'm there at the end saying "Oh, wow."

moon child said...

I love the Beetlejuice nod in the third stanza.

This reminds me of that movie about the mother who only imagines she has a child, but she doesn't really. So to everyone around her, pretending, she's just crazy. But inside her own head, it all makes perfect sense. She genuinely believes she has this child, who doesn't really exist at all.

All that looking in the beginning ... that's just what it's like to be a mother, to have your head on sideways most of the time, looking for who-remembers-what in all the wrong places. Cooking for people who aren't really even there to eat.

Worse than knowing you're crazy is wondering if you might be crazy. At least if you're all-in, then you're committed to it, and maybe you can embrace it. But if you're somewhere in the middle, confused about what's really happening, then you're probably in pretty bad shape.

"for perished sparrows and
heavy accidents" ... This is beautiful. But I think the sparrows are fine. They are not babies. And I don't think she's responsible. Appearances can be deceiving. I'm sure there's a world of understory that no one's aware of.

How fascinating that she's sort of running this "hotel" for the lost ... birds, their babies, ghosts ... any who feel unwanted or homeless, maybe.

"staircase by a perfect hook" ... Here, I see "stare-case" ... which makes me think of a suitcase full of stares. Either way, if she's hooking people, maybe even "hook(er)ing?", she's drawing them in ... Now I feel like she might be a madam at a whorehouse. And all this confusion, loss, and sadness gives us a clue as to why she (and the other girls) are in this position.

"Eileen descends to 20,000 fathoms
for some solitude and quiet" ... I like what you did with the double meaning in "fathom." And I think I might see "soul-itude" as well. Perhaps "sol-itude," which is much-needed time in the sun ... yet, somehow, she's still underwater.

Eileen = I lean = eye lean
bowling = be owl-ing, which has to do with trying to grasp at some sort of wisdom and discernment, when she isn't really sure what the ground beneath her is made of
tornadoes = torn adieus
purpose = purr pose

"and a comforting sense that when they are ghosts
wind won't matter anymore" ... I love this.

"Neptune dissolves (die-solves) at last" ... as if he is an Alka-seltzer tablet. :)

"Gettysburg Address" = get iceberg address, which goes back to your comment about the mail earlier ... maybe this has to do with being able to contact her son, who may or may not really exist
"under a blue sky" = under a blues Ki
"... where being alone is (a) come-on"

Wonderful work. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

moon child said...

Very clever, the way you let "does our Eileen" hang, asking a question rather than making a statement. She doesn't. And she does. But the intensity involved is just too strong to avoid the inevitable tug-and-pull through the storyline, regardless of the gutting that comes in the middle and even worse, at the end.

Margaret said...

I buy pasta that looks like bird nests... Such simple everyday images are turned into worry and looming disaster... so sad... that last line!