I am participating in National Poetry Writing Month, where the goal is to write one poem a day for 30 days. During the month of April, I will be using the writing prompts at ReadWritePoem.org and posting the results.
Day twenty-one prompt (rites of passage)
Today, NaPoWriMo-ers turn 21. Twenty-one poems (or 21 attempts or 21 acknowledgments that we should write a poem) in 21 days. It has me thinking about how here in the United States the drinking age is 21 and how its quite a big deal, a rite of passage to go out and drink heavily (and legally). So I was thinking that today, we could write about rites of passage and how we mark them, from the sacred to the profane. Births. Deaths. Weddings. The First Communion. The onset of menses. The loss of virginity. Circumcisions. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Inductions and initiations. How much of the ritual in your life is cultural? religious? commercial?
In Sickness and In Health
In the waiting room, we sit on orange
chairs with berber carpet. Here for
your ear pain. Can I interest you
in a freeze-dried
mammoth? I ask, handing you
a National Georgraphic. This
is marriage. How different
from our silver/turquoise wedding,
our eyes, in green-bowered
photos, aglow. Reception: red- and
amber-lit space lounge, celebrants
time-traveled from our past,
playing with planets, grooving
to retro dance. Our meta-
wedding, fusing art, culture,
science, as slides on a screen. Together
tasting sweet fondant. And here
today, I strain to hear
the doctor through the door. How
I need your ever-present
arms, securing me. The receptionist
tells an older man, Your wife
left a message. Don't go
grocery shopping. She did it
for you.Yes, like that.
I did some free writing on this poem while waiting for my husband, The Gryphon, at the ear, nose and throat doctor today. He'd been suffering from ear pain (which turned out to be treatable). I wrote the actual poem while we were waiting for our salmon to cook for dinner. For me, focusing on the wedding alone seemed like an overly sentimental way to approach the subject. While that was a very important moment to us, what's more important is our day-to-day connection.
Rites of passages lead to new pathways.