Happy Birthday Old Man!
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom
November 22, 1967, San Jose, CA - November 22, 2007, New York City, NY:
In the photo above, my flatmate, Dr. Lorenzo, gives a thumbs-up! to our first evening out together as flatmates. He is one of the two Lorenzo's that make up our household, me being the other one of course. The lovely and fun-loving Jane, is our third flatmate.
It is easy to tell the difference between the good doctor and I, when one realizes that he looks a lot like the football (soccer) player David Beckham...or at least, that's what his mother recently told him...Mothers say the darndest things don't they?
Man, where would we be without the unconditional and blind love of our mothers? I can't imagine, especially since we truly owe our lives to them.
Coincidentally, it was on this day, some 40 years ago, that I was brought into this wonderful life by my mother. And being that today happens to also be Thanksgiving this year I want to convey a few words of gratitude to one of the women that I love most in the world....my mama.
I wrote the following piece some years ago, but I beleive it bears repeating in honor of this special and momentous occassion. Thanks for everything Mom. Even though we are a country apart, and duty and olbigation often keep me from calling you more often, feel reaasured that I love you dearly and think of you often.
Your Mijo on The Other Coast,
For My Mother
For my mother than and there, teaching truth subsequent years would sully, mar, overturn; her tenets and her rules and her love and her unrelenting piety; bearing her cares and woes and concerns before the Guiding Force that eventually, I would come to disavow.
For how my mother's fortitude always reigned supreme, the sacrificing of everything: trust, hope, dreams, joy, pleasure, greed—the toil taking another day away, with each meal alone being a sacrament of its own: the shopping, the chopping, the stewing, the stirring, the serving, the feeding, the cleaning, the conceding to barely noshing a meal of her own while standing smiling over the stove.
For the countless days of comfort; shameless embraces, kisses and administration of drugs and tea and spoons of honey with lemon-brandy, patient prayers at my bed, the wonderful Seuss stories she read, the surrender of self and never a complaint, its no wonder I know my mother is a saint.
For the devoted dark years she sat waiting, anticipating a call, eventually resigning to it all, preparing for the fall of her faith—the matrimony of the wife to HIS life as sanctioned by heaven, for the embarrassing task of taking him from Alberto's bar where he would inevitably be. For all the lonely nights women endure, while their men sin and cruelly enact their Manifest Destiny.
For all the years we went to school and she held our hands, let us cry, could not deny us the prolonged goodbye, showed us how to catch the bus, packed lunch everyday for all three of us, always made sure we had breakfast too, ensured that no matter how smart we proved and bullies pushed we would never be their fool, and she made sure the homework was done, helping us with everything from one plus one, to "Joe ran with Sam to school."
For the eerie evenings she would sit up with me as a somnolently three pointing to shadows at window sills, to scarier nights when at midnight I'd still not returned, as I had turned from precocious kid to boy-becoming-man who was learning to go out into the land to roam away from the nest, the mothership, the comfort zone of home.
For the skimping with which she had to acquire us clothes, second-hand customer with first-grader, toddler and infant in tow; the pittance of penance she was forced to pray for the doubts and the sentence of a marital mistake; the shy look she might take to the mirror with the ravaging that giving birth left in its wake; a hidden tear shed in fear of what nurturing, the mothering, the matrimonial suffering would ruthlessly pillage and the years of youth it would take.
For the guiding light, the well of joy, the gifts of practical wisdom and undaunted mirth; for the reassurance of our worth with hugs and words, and the constant warmth of mother earth; for the celestial meals that after twenty years I would finally learn to appreciate, and for her ardent belief, despite the grief of my deepest doubts, that St. Peter will be awaiting me at Heaven's Gate.
For the lack of griping when at 6 AM she was typing helping me turn in my essay on time, for the prime example of benevolence, altruistic energy's expense, and the selfless giving sublime; for the magic act of making more of less, and for hiding all her humanness that might be misconstrued as sin or crime.
And by this poor recounting, I am accounting for the pangs of childhood, the bliss of my coming-of-age, and all the strife quietly endured by my blessed mother, the sage. But this is much more than an acknowledgement of Mom alone, for now that I have grown to raise two angels of my own, I must let it be known that their mother, who gave them life, is my Mama cloned, and I could not be more fortunate to have her for my love, my wife and the matron of our home.
Uh, it may seem that the last stanza is a bit out of date, considering things have changed a bit over the last couple of years..., but I will say nonetheless and allthemore, that my sincere appreciation remains intact. Just because it didn't work out between us as partners, it doesn't mean that we still can't and don't try in earnest to act in unison as parents.
The poem above was originally inspired by For My People by Margaret Walker and is part of a collection of 222 poems I wrote some years ago entitled A Letter To A Muse: Part 1 and Part 2.