Extended Family

Linda reading:

My daughter wonders who you are,
sitting in the small rocking chair
in my study, reading me Rilke and Goethe
you have translated especially for me.

What’s available on my shelves
is not exactly right, you say.
Now you and I have the evening
to rock and swivel among the words
you have chosen for me in English.
The poetry leans back and forth,
it dips round and round, unloosened
well beyond the confines of birthright.

My many sons and daughters
push the edges out of what I know
so, so far that I’m giddy with voices
and all their laughing tongues.

The Ticking Son

Linda reading:

Every time the phone rings
I say to myself, ‘that will be his mother’
and I rehearse what I’m going to say to her:

‘Listen here, you with the funny Spanish name
who isn’t really Spanish
married to the Jewish man
who isn’t really Jewish— just a little.

You think you can phone me up
and in one Bob’s-your-uncle phone call
find out what makes your son tick?

Listen, Mrs. Chiquita-banana-mother—
that little hijo of yours is some
run-for-your-money man
who’s had me on the run for years.

But I was hoping you’d ring.
There’s stuff I want to talk about too,
like his sweet tooth and his sweet tongue,

his cocky way and his wayward cock,
his come-hither look and his slither come,
his fingers, those ten Tinkerbells
of wonderland, lighting all my lights.

What did you think your were doing—
you and that counterfeit husband of yours,
minting a new brand, irresistible man?

Do you think I ever thought of resisting?
Never! It was your darling boy
who buggered off into the sunset— schmunset .
You want to know what makes your son tick?

I’ll tell you Cha Cha Mama! Hot Spanish spices,
Chilli pepper slices— tango, salsa, samba
and bloody Leonard Cohen, slow enough to die from.’