Thursday, November 1, 2012

Backseat Blues



Poetry Friday is hosted this week by my terrific blogging friend Donna, at Mainely Write.  Thanks, Donna.

I’ve been writing goodbye poems over the past months for a personal project about different ways of looking at children (mine, others, and grandchildren, too) growing up.  I’ve chosen to do a series of poems at different stages in children’s lives, essentially saying goodbye each time. I plan to put them all into a book someday for my family.   I have begun using photos to help remember and have now started some work on my children as they grew up too.  I love telling stories through poetry, and I love poems of goodbye, so I thought this would be a good way to combine both passions.  
Here is my most recent one, a mixture of times from remembered conversations during the usual chauffeuring of my children.  If you are a parent, you will know that the best conversations happen from the backseat.  Lately my three year old granddaughter told me I was a good driver.  When we sit still in a car, we notice things, we think things, and we talk.





             Backseat Blues

Whatcha wanta talk about, Mommy?
Why do I have to get allergy shots?
How do babies get made?
               I’m hungry.

Why did Ricky move away?
When will we get home from soccer?
Nobody wants to play with me.
               I’m hungry.

What should I wear for class pictures?
My teacher doesn’t like me.
When can I get my Halloween costume?
               I’m hungry.

I don’t want to wear braces.
Why do you think my mother and father gave me up for adoption?
When can we go shopping for boots?
               I’m hungry.

Do you think I will get the part?
Mike wants me to spend the night ‘cause his parents are gone and we can drink beer.  What should I say?
How do you know when you’re in love?
               I’m hungry.

Do you think this college is the right one?
I’m having trouble in statistics.
When are you coming to visit next?
               I’m hungry.

How much money should I spend?
Did you know I love her?
Do you know I love him?
What do you think about the job?
               I’m hungry.

39 comments:

  1. I love this poem, Linda. As a mom to two boys - 10 and 7 - we're still in the midst of this but I know how quickly it will fly by. I love that you captured this time.

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    1. It really happens, doesn't it Katherine? So many sweet talks from the back seat. Thank you!

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  2. They're always hungry, aren't they?? Great poem, Linda.

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  3. Ack, you've already made me feel nostalgic for times I haven't experienced yet. I LOVE this, Linda, the growth of the children through questions, the always staying the same in spite of that growth. So poignant and sweet. I already love your book and it's not even done yet. :)

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    1. Thank you Renee. You will have this with your children, too, I'm sure. Sweet times.

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  4. They're always hungry for something, aren't they.

    Right now I have one that's transitioning from "When can I get my Halloween costume" to "When can we go shopping for boots". It's a fascinating but rocky transition.

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    1. Although I didn't say this earlier, I found it often happened with students when we traveled. There's something about the settling in for a ride that gives us time to talk. Thanks Katya.

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  5. So lovely! Such a great reminder of the fact that parenting goes on forever.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth. It does, doesn't it? Now I'm talking to my children about raising their children!

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  6. I love how the really juicy bits of information are dropped in the middle of the questions, which bounce from light to heavy. That's just the way it is IRL, isn't it? Praised be for such blessings!

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    1. Yes, Andi, you never know what's coming from the back seat! Thanks.

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  7. When I saw 'Backseat Blues," I was thinking of a whole OTHER set of events that can take place there...but I guess that just proves I'm a guy. ;) Thanks for sharing this, Linda - it really does remind me of being a young kid, driving with my parents in their old Chevy Nova (and later, a Ford Grenada).

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    1. PS We have GOT to do coffee and a cookie someday!

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    2. So now I think this could grow into a whole 'other' conversation, Matt & Donna. It could be a book, of different lives from the back seat! Thanks, Matt & Donna.

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    3. Okay, I'm "Replying" here, too!
      This is the second time today that my "Reply" went to the wrong spot! Sorry, Matt, but the coffee and cookie invite was for Linda...my husband doesn't like me to have coffee and cookies with other men!

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  8. Oh, yeah, if only we had recordings of backseat conversations. Sometimes I wonder if it's because we can't look eye to eye that the conversations can start. Or maybe it's the private feeling of the closed in space with no distractions (barring cellphones). But whatever it is...they ARE always hungry. Loved this post as you wandered and wondered through the years, Linda!

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    1. Makes me sad that cell phones probably have taken the conversations away, Donna, but you are so right-perhaps one can trade in a cellphone for a sandwich?

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    2. Okay, this is the second time today that my "Reply" went to the wrong spot! Sorry, Matt, but the coffee and cookie invite was for Linda...my husband doesn't like me to have coffee and cookies with other men!

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  9. Wonderful poem, Linda. I like the casual innocent questions alongside those big heavy ones. A nice progression, and of course I love the tag line. Parents and kids continue to feed each other in more ways than one :).

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    1. Thank you Jama, it is clear that children have no sense of the innocent ones versus the heavy ones. They haul them out one by one, thank goodness asking just from parents when it's most important.

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  10. Linda, this poem made me tear up. That refrain is super, and the juxtaposition of the big and small questions--just wonderful! Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you, Laura. I think there is a time with children to just 'be' & sometimes that is in the car, waiting & then listening.

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  11. Oh, Linda. This poem is so nostalgic. I could hear very similar questions in my past. The questions never end, do they? They just get harder to answer. I think you have started a wonderful project for your family. They are very lucky.

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    1. Thank you Joyce. It has been lovely to write as the months go along, looking back, but also watching the youngest move forward & noting the changes as we say goodbye to them.

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  12. I love how the voice from the back seat grows up!

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    1. Thanks, Mary Lee. It was fun working to have that happen.

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  13. I LOVE this poem, Linda! Such a lovely progression. And what a great plan to put these precious memories into a book!

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    1. Thank you, Iza. It is a pleasure to see what I can find to put into the poems.

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  14. Ah yes, sometimes I decline carpool options just so I can have these conversations. I especially love how they so quickly shift from the big to the mundane.

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    1. It seems easier when the children believe you are also focused on driving and perhaps not so much on what they're saying. Thank you, Liz.

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  15. Wonderful poem Linda. You've captured that parent-child relationship so well with the repeating "I'm hungry." Were all these backseat comments memories? Did you ever almost drive off the road?

    Violet N.

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    1. Thank you, Violet. Yes, they are all true, just perhaps not the exact words. No, not off the road, but certainly there had to have been long pauses.

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  16. Oh my, now you've got me thinking of other backseat poems that could be written... perhaps because of that "how do you know when you're in love" line. :) And how true, the repetitive "I'm hungry." Thank you, Linda, for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Irene. Because of the comments, I too have imagined other conversations/poems about the backseat. Interesting how it works when one has a topic to expand.

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  17. Wow, you have so clearly captured a passage of time here. I am in the midst of the earliest lines of this poem, shots, costumes, and the always present hunger....soooo true! I love hearing about your project. I always look forward to what is next.

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    1. Thanks Betsy. It's such fun to hear all of you in 'your' stages, too!

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  18. This is a beautiful poem, Linda! I have been so remiss with my blog reading...what a delight to come across this. I loved chauffering my boys about; sometimes it seemed that this was the only time to have a real conversation with them. You have captured the experience! Love how the voice from the backseat gets older as the poem develops. And still hungry!

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    1. Thanks Maureen. I'm so pleased that this touched you. I know it happens, and even a little with the grandchildren! Lovely memories.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!