Sunday, May 29, 2011

Diamond Hunting

I'm hunting diamonds up in the California mountains, as I visit my niece and her family. Diamonds lie on the ground everywhere on her property, or occasionally in rocks as I found them above and below.

Most of the diamonds I find are scattered brilliant points of light. In the photo below, there's a largish diamond on the far right, and smaller ones in the upper left and lower left.

If I didn't aim my butt at it, this view below is what I would see.

This is Pouncer, the guard cat.

This week, the Poetry Jam asks for poems on forgetting. I've written the piece below about a psychotic breakdown I watched my mother suffer as she was dying of Alzheimer's disease. During the breakdown, my mother fell and sliced her forearm, requiring stitches. All the verses are in Haiku form with 5-7-5 syllables. You'll find all the other Jammers here.

What Happened to Your Mother?

Fear dims memory
You have been here before this
Don’t you remember?

Put up the “closed” sign
Shut the windows. Pull the blinds
Step out. Lock the door

Assume a blank face
Take the elevator down
Walk into the street

Sleepwalker shuffling
Bare feet wade through broken glass
Crouch. Howl like a dog

Train tracks hum a tune
Freight train rockets through the night
Rattle clatter bang!

Duck your head and run
For the dark house down the road
Slam and lock the door

Darkness is total
The silence reverberates
Outside, a cat screams

Curl up in the bed
A blanket over your head.
Shiver. Block all thoughts

You’ve done this before
Your fear is a panting dog
Don’t you remember?

Shut out the memory
Grit your teeth. Clutch the blanket
Don’t answer the phone

Lie still in the dark
You don’t know who is screaming
It could be yourself.

Wounded animal
A dog howling Cats yowling
You’re safe here in bed

Glass slices the flesh
Needle stitches the wound closed
Mama wildcat screams

She’s out of her mind
Lights on but no one is home
Don’t you remember?

You’re out of your mind
Is it your fault she’s bleeding?
Don’t answer that door


Andrew said...

You start with diamonds and end with a diamond. Like the Tom Waits song, Always keep a diamond in your mind.

Shakespeare said...

Wow! The haiku form really seems to help you concentrate on each event and image at the moment it happens. Gripping, terrifying, very real.

Titus said...

Strong words, and there is an almost madness threaded through it that rides the jerks of the haiku stanzas. Particularly loved the way the subject of the verbs is not precise, and the way the yous float, not quite ascribed. Unsettling.

And diamonds?! Do you have a map reference.

Brian Miller said...

well that was certainly a wild and crazy ride....a little manic and certainly layered in confusion...well played chris...

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Awesome view. I have a friend who's a gem cutter, I'm sure she'd love those mountains.

The haiku makes beauty of tragedy. You have a gift!

izzy said...

I can really relate! thanks for writing
and sharing- it touches on many memories
and what I want to forget.

Magpie said...

Wow this is a scary piece..on so many levels.
Diamonds just laying around? Where is this special place?

The Bug said...

I could feel the madness - it seemed so logical piece by piece, but taken as a whole totally overwhelming. What must it have been like to be inside her head?

Helen said...

Chris, you created something spectacular. So many have felt every emotion, every thought, every little twinge of guilt, the terror, the senslessness of this disease you beautifully wrote about.

the walking man said...

I do like the 5-7-5 form for its succinctness. The images presented in so few syllables have to be hard on the edge when written in the Western style and I like these.

Yet I wonder how we would communicate these same feelings and thoughts if English were a more monosyllabic language like Japanese.

Some of these though just to round them out and give them more expression I would like to see in the Tanka form of 5-7-5-7-7 which allows for a more fleshed out image.

Yet at the same time Chris I would not hesitate to call these well done, emotional and very distinct.

Bagman and Butler said...

Wow...this puts me right into the middle of the madness and let me feel it. Thanks...I think.