Monday, November 28, 2011

a Graham poem

Graham was born four weeks and one day ago, and everything is changed.

I guess I could continue to begin every blog post by saying how far from normal life is now, but it's probably truer that life is arriving at a new normal. I do hope that by the time sleeping only a few hours a night starts to feel normal I'll start having to readjust to sleeping six or seven. I'm normally (there's that word again!) a nine hour a night kind of girl. But if what's been the case for the past week is the new normal, then I'm newly-normally a four hour a night kind of girl, which I wholeheartedly prefer to our sleep pattern during Graham's first three weeks, when Aron and I were routinely permitted only two hours a night.

Why the sleep talk in a post that purports to present a Graham poem? Well, for starters, I was sleep deprived when I wrote it. Graham fell asleep at midnight last "night," woke two hours later to eat and was sweet enough to fall back asleep almost immediately after. From 2:20 until 2:28 I wrote a short prose poem for him. Like I keep saying, Graham is here and everything is changed:  I sleep significantly less, and I'm brave enough to share a poem. It's a very strange bravery, akin to the bravery I have to show off the video of Graham being born to anyone who wants to see it, which, so far, has only been one person (my sister, who was more willing than eager to watch and, to be honest, not all that willing). Normally (this word has almost completely run out of relevance), no one sees my vagina, not even Aron, because mood lighting to me is the near absence of lighting:  I'm shy and full of body shame, so getting turned on requires most lights be turned off. But new-normally, I have to resist the urge to ask my friends and family, "Wanna watch the video of Graham coming out of my vagina?"

The Graham poem figures in because I'm normally very shy about my writing. (Strange claim from a person with a blog, but it's true.) I'm especially guarded about creative writing attempts for two principal and deeply related reasons: 1. I really want to be good at it; and 2. I'm thoroughly and unalerterably certain that I'm not. The Graham poem is undeniably simplistic and full of flaws:  childish rhymes, non-rhymes pretending to be rhymes, redundancies and (I think) at least one misused word. So why publish and publicize writing that I'm convinced is objectively shit? Partly because its inspiration is flawless, which of course doesn't automatically impart flawlessness to the poem, but I do think Graham's being the poem's inspiration inevitably lends the poem a large degree of likability to me, his mother, a medium degree of likability to our family, and a small degree of likability to anyone who rightly thinks that babies are amazing. Well, here it goes.

He, of course, sleeps through his dreams with ease. They only wake me, these whimpering, bewildering infant dreams. How unfathomable they seem. Sometimes he smiles. The wakefulness is most worthwhile when he smiles. I want to share wakefulness with him but instead, while he dreams, I watch and I wait, and when it's his time to wake his eyes are a bright, beautiful, and bewildered delight. I so hope he finds morning as nice as the dreamy darkness of his nights, and when he wakes, again I wait, hoping to watch him smile at daytime's sight. 

Among the already-mentioned flaws the poem has, it has the additional and maybe more considerable flaw of being untrue, or at least misleading. Although I wrote the poem a few minutes after watching Graham dream, the truth is that his sleep cycles are rarely long enough to include dreams. But like I said, I'm hoping that will change soon.

And since this is a poetry post, I'll share one of my new favorite poems. It's by Jennifer Michael Hecht and it's called "Love Explained." At my and Aron's wedding both of our moms read a piece on love. I wanted my mom to read "Love Explained," but she and I both worried about it being unconventional and too easy to misunderstand (which is not to say that I actually understand the poem). She instead read "I loved you first: but afterwards your love" by Christina Rossetti, which is a good poem and all but kind of, well, almost vapid in a sense. Anyway, here's the poem I actually like:  Love Explained by Jennifer Michael Hecht : The Poetry Foundation


  1. Very touching, Amy! I'm so thrilled for you and your new family. :)

  2. Thank you so much, Jennifer! You have no idea how much of your blog I read in the days leading to Graham's birth. My pregnancy ran long and I thought labor would never start on its own (I was right!). I remembered your blog and read it looking for answers. I found some answers (about what it's like once labor starts [not that I ended up needing to know], about pain management during labor), but even more importantly I found lots of laughs! Aron heard me laughing and was forced to listen to me read aloud all the witty and wise things you wrote about pregnancy, labor and motherhood, and then we laughed together. Your blog really saved my sanity and gave me lots of smiles. It was a completely different experience reading it during pregnancy--I definitely enjoyed reading it back when you first started it, but reading it more recently has been even more amazing. I hope you can meet Aron and Graham someday. I'm sure they feel like they know you already. Aron knows you through your blog, and Graham knows you as the lady who shook up his home a few days before he was evicted out of it.