And now for our optional prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that “talks.” What does that mean? Well, take a look at this poem by Diane Seuss. While it isn’t a monologue, it’s largely based in spoken language, interspersed with the speaker/narrator’s own responses and thoughts. Try to write a poem grounded in language as it is spoken – not necessarily the grand, dramatic speech of a monologue or play, but the messy, fractured, slangy way people speak in real life. You might incorporate overheard speech or a turn of phrase you heard once that stood out to you – the idea here is to get away from formally “poetic” speech and into the way language tends to work out loud.
What happened over lunch today?
“Hey, you might want to watch where you’re going. You better be careful. You’re crossing dangerous territory. You’ll regret it,” my elder one warned her younger sis.
“I’m not going to listen to you! If you think I am, you’re so wrong. Just because you’re big you can’t bully me around. I’ll show you when I grow!”
‘I pray to the Lord that He shows some mercy and sense prevails on you’; I responded to the outburst.
“Ma, why didn’t you name me Dawn, then maybe my mind would have awakened,” the imp retorted with a cheeky grin.
‘Well, people call the head of a criminal ring, Don. I’m sure you wouldn’t want a name like that. Then again maybe Kiran would have been a nice name for you. It mean’s a sun’s ray.’
“As in Five go to Kirrin Island?” she chirped
‘No, not that…that’s Kirrin, It’s Kiran, my dear’
“Like Kiran Bedi*, you silly,” the elder one quipped
“Oh her. Nah…I don’t like that name!”
“Yeah…I agree. I saw this video made by her grand-daughter. It’s gone viral. The little girl’s accusing her grandma of harassing her dad,” enlightened the older one knowledgeably.
“Don’t say!” the younger one looked shocked. ‘How old is she?”
“Oh she is ten, I think” her sister replied
“And she knows to make a video!That’s super-smart don’t you think?”
‘That’s two years’ younger than you. Didn’t you know when you were ten?’ I couldn’t help butting in, happy with the diversion.
“Oh yeah! Our gen is smart. Way smarter than yours, right Ma?”
“Will you keep your legs to yourself and stop kicking me under the table?”
“Ouch! you shoved me”
‘Guys, enough. Stop biting each other’ and finish off your meal,’ I ordered.
Thirty seconds of silence and then-
“I so don’t get the likes of you. Why can’t you M.Y.O.B* and buzz off?” the elder one’s face is red.
“I am doing just that. You, are my business,” she chuckles between snorts and turning to me, says, “Ma, do you know what Didi was doing?”
No darling, I don’t. She’ll tell me if she has to. You really need to respect boundaries and mind your own business. Do you get it? I responded,firm.
Another thirty second of peace and then-
“Everybody’s being mean to me here. Nobody loves me,”
“The little drama queen’s on the verge of shedding crocodile tears.”
‘Be nice to your younger sister for God’s sake,’ I implored
‘And You, learn to show respect!’
“Only for you, ma,” the older one glared
“Yes ma, only for you,” the younger one repeated.
‘Thank you darling. That’s all I want. Imagine if the two of you’ll -sisters, cannot stand each other, then why is it a shock what we read in the paper?
Of fights and wars and murder;
They’re not even bound by blood!
“Oh ma, you can’t compare us to them and that. Please don’t. Ours was a quarrel, nothing major.”
“Mamma You don’t need to bother. We love each other.”
Lunch is over. Home is in peace.
A little ‘mummy drama’ never hurt a soul, if it served the greater good.
*M.Y.O.B – Mind your own business
*Kiran Bedi – Retired Indian Police officer, social activist, first Indian woman to join the Indian Police Service (IPS)
*Didi – is elder sister in Hindi
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