Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NaPoWriMo 8: Leather

Oops - blame Easter, or friends, or good times. Or perhaps there's no need to have an excuse for enjoying life rather than faithfully recording it onto paper. Besides, it wasn't that I hadn't written this poem, it's just that it was still in that wonderful amorphous state floating around in my head rather than sitting somewhere in written form. Whatever the angle, I don't feel I've been unfaithful to the NaPoWriMo concept - yet. When things get tough the tough perservere, so we will post a couple of catch-up poems.

The post today once again sent me wandering in wonderful directions (including a brief mental excursion back to my days of Hard House parties in sweaty gay nightclubs). However in the end I went with written memory. Not leather exactly, but suede.

My grandmother died when I was 13. I'm told I was a lot like her, but I was only just reaching an age where I might have been able to know her as a real person, so I'm relying on other's opinion. When I was 23 her husband, my grandfather, also passed away. Thereafter followed a horrid process of divying up the family posessions. Items of my grandmother's that I might otherwise have loved to have taken for myself disappeared into the hands of others.

Once everything was gone my mother and I stumbled upon Nana's jacket, somehow overlooked in the melee. I've worn it faithfully ever since, then though it's quite obvious from the photo above that it's falling apart and well beyond any hope of restoration.

Owning Memory
In my grandmother’s room
there was an oak dressing table.
possessed by the fragrance
of White Lilies eau de toilette.

In the centre drawer there was a
small round jewellery box that
played a lullaby when opened.
Next to the jewellery box there was
a round jar containing fat English
glass beads no longer strung.
A gold hat pin in the shape
of a rose sat on top.

In her lingerie drawer my grandmother
kept a leather bound diary of her
first trip to Sydney in the 1980s,
where she and my grandfather
watched a blue movie in their
hotel room.

When my grandmother died my
sister was given the jewellery box,
and my mother claimed the hat pin.
My aunt took the diary and
gave the beads to my cousin who
had them restrung and wore them
to my grandfather’s funeral
a full ten years later.

When the room was finally
empty of my grandmother’s
small amusements
I opened the door to the
wardrobe in the corner.

There between the polyester
house dresses and knitted
cardigans hung a brown
suede jacket bought on that
same trip to Sydney now
fashionable and still smelling
of White Lilies.

1 comment:

chocolate covered musings said...

i never knew that's where it came from. what a great piece of your grandmother that you carry with you.