Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TUPELO HONEY

JoAnne is one tough broad,
Italian Irish descent
from the Northeast Bronx
Through sacrifice and dedication
JoAnne is now a nurse at
Presbyterian Medical Center

This is her story
bout a methadone baby
born addicted
on JoAnne’s ward
This boy had tupelo
honey colored skin,
and hazel brown,
almond eyes
Birth mama’s blond and curly haired
A blue eyed Nuyorican
Daddy is a dark skinned African

Mama named the baby Shonequon
The nurses called him “Sweet”
Sweet’s a boarder baby who
lived on the ward
for 2 and a half months
BCW tryin to decide
what to do with that tiny
methadone addicted baby

Now me amiga esta sin ninos
she has no children
e quiere uno mucho
she wants one very badly
so she fell in love with Sweet
talked about him constantly

JoAnne said,
Sweet is cryin all the time
He holds his body rigid
his cryin is so fitful
Kindled by the pain
cause Sweet’s addicted to meth
and this is how he sounds
eeehhhhhh
eeeehhhhhh
eeeehhhhhh
eeehhhhhh

Sweet’s tiny fists
are always clenched
his spindly arms crossing
his scrawny chest
This baby can’t relax!
He’s got a monkey on his back
Sweet’s addicted to meth

The Doctor confides
he wishes he could
keep Sweet tranquilized
cause he’s screamin so fretfully
eeehhhhhh
eeehhhhhh
eeehhhhhh

JoAnne loves to nurture Sweet
She embraces him reverently
comforts him with
the rhythm of her heart
she whispers soothing sounds
cajolingly,

her voice falls like soft waves
caresses tender hollows
of his frail anatomy
her soft warm breath
glides down his velvet neck
Sweet responds with purring sounds

JoAnne’s gentle devotions
linger on
like a mango blossom’s scent
fragrant on a breeze
Sweet watches her giddily
clinging with his
tightly gripped fists

Yesterday Sweet smiled for the
very first time
JoAnne bragged
as though he were her own
Sweet, my boarder baby
is delayed in his response
and yesterday was the
first time
God graced me with his smile

Her eyes rimmed with blurring droplets
Dewdrops silhouette
I love him, she said
I want him to be mine
Even though he’s HIV
and surely won’t survive
I want him to be mine

Child Welfare lets his Mama visit
she hardly came at all
Daddy was there
mostly every day
but he was always drunk

Today they let her come and
take my Sweet away
Honey, JoAnne said,
This baby’s in a lot of pain
he suffers from anxiety

You don’t have to hold him
24 and 7,
but you need to let him
see your face
smiling, talking
into his

Sweet’s Mama answered
I know mucho more than you do
let me tell you somethin’
You don’t know what I been through
All my kids are born on meth
and that’s the way it’s always been


The baby started fussin’ then
his spindly arms
clenched across
his scrawny chest
eeehhhhhh
eeehhhhh
eeehhhhhh

Sweet opened up his eyes
and focused on JoAnne
reaching out his scrawny arms

But Mama reached the baby first
and took him from his crib
Esta te quieto, nino
she said as she rocked him
dispiritedly
to her methadone beat
Esta te quieto, nino

It’s gonna be okay Mama said
Grandma said she’s gonna help,
She’s carin’ for my other five
My oldest girl’s gonna be there too
And like I told ya,
All my kids are born on meth
And that’s the way it’s always been,
but we know how to get by.

11 comments:

  1. God.

    That must've been harder for you to write than for me to read.

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  2. What asad and hopeless attitude Sweet's mum has! How will he ever become a normal person?

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  3. How sad! You've told the story very well. How can Sweet ever become a normal person?

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  4. in telling this human story, I see such energy in your lines... like a song almost. Very nice.

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  5. Born into a matter-of-fact-life of torture is so cruel!
    When my daughter had colic I thought that was horrible for her- It must be difficult to watch this every day-
    Jumped over from Jannie

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  6. i just joined ur network

    btw, this should be ur answer to ppl who think what u write is not poetry

    http://dotcommedtanuj.blogspot.com/2008/09/to-rhyme.html

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  7. That was a sweet sweet poem. I warmed up to it when reading abt it at your wikipedia page and when reading it here I wasn't disappointed. You are a great writer and it is an honour to be linked with you in anyway :) Rhett

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  8. That was a sweet sweet poem. I warmed up to it when reading abt it at your wikipedia page and when reading it here I wasn't disappointed. You are a great writer and it is an honour to be linked with you in anyway :) Rhett

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  9. Love the sound of your poetry, so much more original to hear the author's voice. Looking forward to more.

    Janet Caldwell aka Derailedpoet

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  10. I don't know if my comment went but I loved hearing your voice reading to me, telling me about "Sweet". I look forward to more.

    Janet Caldwell aka Derailedpoet

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  11. Bernard Alain7:08 PM

    joy, this is one of my favorites,I read it in your book SPOT OF BLEACH, and another area in poetry where you excel, the style and insights bring the contemporary poet to life here, the human element blended with realistic issues, plausible reactions, educating the reader and extorting the three-dimensional view from human texture as opposed to the conventional shapes, tastes ... etc. the title is engaging as well, I like this, excellent read.

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