Periodically, I'll google myself, curious to see what's made it out into the internet stratosphere for public consumption, and I was doing that one day last month and discovered a spoken word poem of mine had won first prize in a contest I submitted it to back in March or something like that - SURPRISE! Only bragging rights, of course, but still pretty cool something of mine in a form I don't often put out in the world received recognition in any way. If you're curious, you can see the award here. And the poem, without further adieu:
©2013 by Carolynne Wilcox
(spoken word poetry)
My Dearest Babes,
It is with joy and sorrow I speak these words...
You always knew your mother carried within her
A mysterious secret
Something which caused her to be a little distant at times,
Something she longed for, but her love for all of you
Kept her from:
The thing of it is, it used to be part of me
And I part of it.
The sea. THE SEA.
Endless, inviting, enveloping
It was my home, my name, my family
It sang to me, and I sang back
Beautiful wordless melodies
Of sand, of surf
Of depth and mystery
And one day, I pulled him out – your father –
I heard him, from miles away, struggling to keep afloat
He was drowning, you see
And I couldn’t let death claim him in my home.
Once on land, he sang to me, charmed me, took me home
And slowly, languidly
That sunkissed afternoon
The haunting musk of sweat and seaweed lingering heavy in the air
I let him strip my skins and hide them away…
And I stayed. Stayed!
I made his home, bore his little ones, and you know,
We had a good life in our little green cottage by the bay.
I longed for it. Pined for it.
My home beneath the waves
Communion with sand, salt and skin
It would call to me and I strained to hear its wordless music
But my heart held you all dearly –
We had such a happy home by my beloved waters –
Duty and love pulled me back...
And anyway, I couldn’t find my skins,
And the years wore on.
One stormy day, awaiting his return,
Awaiting clothes to dry by the fire,
I gazed out the window and –
The seas turned black for a moment...
I knew he was drowned,
Taken in forever by the febrile ocean
And life was suddenly sucked of color,
Rendered dull and meaningless,
All the little ones gone away...
And I looked out at my
Once-home waters with fear and dread,
And the years wore on,
And I began to grow old and bent.
One day, cleaning dusty, forgotten cabinets of his
I found them. Almost mistook them for
Old celluloid negatives
threw them away!
I drew them out, soaked them in my laundry bucket,
They began to revive.
Spotted and thick, almost glistening by the firelight,
I wondered if
They’d even fit me anymore!
But they are part of me and re-adheared like new.
And now, my dear ones, I look out to the swirling waters before me
With a strange mixture of fear, yearning and some long-buried sense of freedom and love
I’d forgotten I ever knew!
It pains me to say goodbye to you, my sweet babies!
But you’ve grown so strong, and mother couldn’t be prouder.
I raised you to be yielding but fierce,
Like the tides from whence I came.
I must go!
But you’re half me as much as you’re half him,
And if you need me,
You need only go to the water’s edge and call.
Wait for me, and I will come.
I walk towards the salty waves
Prepared to sink or swim underneath them forever.
...I wrote it during the Spoken Word class I took years ago (2013) with Daemond Arrindell, and performed it for the end-of-class showcase performance. Recently, I've dusted it off both as a performance poem, and have also adapted it as a monologue.
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.