It’s the Merry Month of Motherhood …

… or maybe not.

… maybe not the “merry month” or maybe not ‘motherhood’?  Your call.

On Mother’s Day, we often exalt mothers for what they do without to make a better way for children: a new dress, enough sleep or career dreams. But maybe this year, we could exalt them for what they do: charge ahead, get in the way and be brave.
— Michel Martin, Morning Edition Host

You can read Michel’s short essay here if you’d like, but I’m warning you, it’s not a pretty story. Maybe read it later.

As seems to be increasingly true, normalizing lunacy is again the order of the day. Do I need to say more? I don’t think so. But I wonder, where is there to flee for consolation, for comfort, for company in the darkening room of this old heart that continues, despite the odds, to beat in real time?

First, I go as always to the truth of poetry; that ‘boiling down’ of what is too big to embrace, too ugly to look at full in the face, too horrific to get my mind around. In today’s “Slowdown” the fabulous 15-year-old poet prodigy, Adelaide Sendlenski invites us to crawl from the embers, head awhirl and mouth agape; bedraggled and dazed from the searing heat of flame. Her poem is titled “Olympians vs Modernity” and she audaciously connects the power we aim to claim through our consumer culture to the power of the Greek Goddesses (and gods). Hestia of the hearth, plugs in her headphones, we see Artemis clad in hunting gear from lululemon, Zeus gorges on Ben & Jerry’s watching Netflix, while Demeter, the mother of the seasons, sits among the withered husks of genetically modified corn. Check it out. See what you think.

Not mentioned in the poem is Hecuba, Queen of Troy and mother of Hector in Homer’s classic poem “The Iliad”. Many of Hecuba’s sons are lost to the ravages of war waged by cruel and greedy kings, and her sorrow results in a vengeful act. Talk about audacity! When ‘enough is enough is enough is enough’, this can happen.

Which reminds me that this weekend (Saturday, May 13th 7pm) you are invited to experience “An Iliad” the adaptation of Homer’s classic as performed by actor Paul Susi and cellist Anna Fritz. This is a powerful performance from which, I promise, you will not come away unmoved.

But why are we talking about Greek Mythology when we are surrounded by the everyday losses being experienced by mothers all across our own country … mothers whose children did not come home from school or from the mall because someone with a “perfectly legal” assault weapon shattered not only their precious bodies but their hopes and dreams along with the hearts of their mothers and fathers, siblings and grandparents.

Last week I suggested you listen to Terri Grayum’s song, “Daughters & Sons”.  Today I encourage you to listen to it again.  And if you happen to be local to Portland and are around on Saturday morning, maybe you will make your way downtown to the South Park Blocks and join the Portland Raging Grannies in their “March of Mourning”.  I understand there are similar mother’s marches across the country, so maybe there’s one near you and maybe you are free on Saturday and just maybe it is your time to stand up and stand with.

Following the Allen, Texas mall massacre, the Washington Post shared Karen Attiah’s thoughts about witnessing “a different sort of death”, one we might need to be giving more attention. She asks “How do you capture the social death of someone who will be forever traumatized by seeing children bleed out on a sidewalk? How do you capture the social injury to a child who is now too afraid to go to a mall to hang out with friends?”  Think about it. Is this what we want for our country? Is this what we want for our children and theirs?  Our Portland Raging Grannies have bumper stickers that say “Protest With Your Vote.”  Send me your address and I’ll mail you one.

Read Karen Attiah’s words here: After the Texas mall massacre, I witnessed a different sort of death

All right. Time to shift gears. Time to focus on the goodness that is still all around us if we turn our eyes to the light. Here’s an opportunity to spend some quality vitual ‘poem time’ with two of my favorite poets, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer & James Crews.  $15 well-spent from my wallet. Maybe see you there?

Does the name Doris Haddock sound familiar?  You may remember her as the American activist “Granny D”, who at age 93 walked (yes, walked) from California to Washington D.C. to deliver her simple message.  “We have a duty to look after each other. If we lose control of our government, then we lose our ability to disperse justice and human kindness. Our first priority today, then, is to defeat utterly those forces of greed and corruption that have come between us and our self-governance.” Don’t you just love the words “disperse justice and human kindness” all in the same sentence?

And speaking of heroic women …  I had never heard the name Anita Ghitaya until my friend Jean Trygstad sent me a flyer about The Ants & The Grasshopper Screening Party next Saturday. Jean’s message said “Anita Ghitaya has a gift: she can help bring abundant food from dead soil, she can make men fight for gender equality, and she can end child hunger in her village” (a gift indeed!) Jean’s message went on to say “Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real. Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, she meets climate skeptics and despairing farmers. Her journey takes her across all the divisions shaping the US, from the rural-urban divide to schisms of race, class, and gender, to the thinking that allows Americans to believe we live on a different planet from everyone else. It will take all her skill and experience to persuade us that we’re all in this together.”

If you’re not in the Portland area, you might want to contact Jean about how to get this documentary for your group. Let’s spread this one around. Thank you, Jean. It’s on my calendar! 

And Now, what about the moms & ‘mom-type’ heroes in our own lives?  It’s a pretty good bet that not all of us had the kind of mom we thought we were supposed to have. (Just ask my kids). Maybe she was less perfect & more human than we thought she should be, something that can be hard to appreciate until we’ve gotten some years behind us …  maybe she was even one of those “banged up and salty” angels we spoke about last week.

In my memoir Arms Filled With Bittersweet, I write a bit about my own mother and my neighbor’s in the vignette titled “Celebrity”.  As you may know, that book is launching next week on Amazon, and my webmaster/coach (soon-to-be-published) novelist Steph (Maya) Bairey, had been encouraging me to read some poems from it ‘on air’. We decided the right poem to start would be “Stella.” It seems to be one of my readers’ favorites and I thought it might be a good ‘role model’ poem for those with mothers who, like mine, (try as she did) would never be June Cleaver or Harriet Nelson.

This Sunday, May 14th is America’s official “Mother’s Day.”  If you’re celebrating it with your mom or being celebrated yourself as the Mom du Jour, I hope you enjoy every minute. I will be sharing special time in the early afternoon with my daughter, Chris, and her husband, Scott. Bless their hearts … their gift, in addition to the luxurious hanging basket that has become our tradition, will be a couple hours of ‘home repair and prepping my balcony for summer.’  What a treat, gratefully received. And then, the perfect ending to a perfect day … “Second Sunday: Speaking of Poetry and …” online with friends at 4pm (pdt). We’d love for you to join us.

Until next time, stay well and remember to look to the Light.

My Amazon eBook launch is coming. Pre-orders have begun and you can leave a review right here! The more pre-orders and reviews before May 21, the higher Amazon will esteem my book. Thanks for clicking!

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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