It’s been over two years since I’ve performed poetry. Until now. I attended the long-running Brisbane poetry open mic, Speedpoets, on Saturday. It was the last to be held at The Milk Factory before it moves to its new home at Lucky Duck in West End every last Saturday of the month from 2 – 5 pm.
I was welcomed with open arms by John Wainwright, the co-host, who encouraged me to put my name on the list to read. It didn’t take much to twist my arm. After a long poetry moratorium, I am refreshed and ready to write and perform. Albeit at a slower pace than I did four years ago. I wish I could be given a Bachelor’s Degree for making it through my first four years of parenting. I have just helped transition my daughter into a couple of days of Kindy a week, and now it’s time to reflect on how parenting has changed me and my relationship to poetry. The following piece is the first poem I read at Speedpoets.
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I am nervous. Like I’m meeting up with an old lover. I drop my daughter off for her first day of Kindy, and I’m not nervous for her. I’m nervous for me. I decide we should meet up for a coffee at this local place I love. I wonder if you’ll recognize me. It’s been four years. So much can happen in four years. I have changed. You have changed. I have more wrinkles now, sprinkles of grey. I’m no longer carefree. I see a car driving fast down the street, and I hold my daughter’s hand tighter. The city now scares me. I don’t like the noise. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? Considering how we met. You were all fire and freight train. I was all freight train and fire. Now, I am measured. I have discovered Rumi and Mary Oliver. And I can’t go back. I wonder if you’ll recognize me. I have changed. You have changed. You are not the point. You are everything. You are in the golden canes that wrap their arms around my house, the lover that works too much, the hibiscus that lives and dies, the dogs that die and live. I am not the same. I have even given up running. I have a bad back. But now, I know how to breathe. I know how to give so much of myself that it hurts. I love my child so much that nothing else matters, but I miss myself sometimes. I miss you. So I wonder, if I have changed too much. Or if I have changed just enough.