Poem: Tangled Web or Flaring Red Carpet

For Sangeeta Dixit

I am the mother of sorrows; I am the ender of grief;

The Paradox, Paul Dunbar
Flaring red carpet of regrets,
hates, horrors, spites, rage,
hurts, distrust, compulsions,
expectations, pain, bravery
and love

on which I sleep every night
and walk every day for my sons.

As soon as the dawn breaks
with a sickening sound
of the neighbors’ damn
water motor pump, I grit

my teeth to demonstrate protest
alone on my bed—the carpet
since he split
after kissing goodbye
to his sons, 

my sons,
the younger is studying
and the older is sleeping.

Now as I walk to his bed
my feet hurt,
when did I get so old
so deteriorated and slow?

I take his name,
so he would wake up
and study–
make his mark in the big world
before he gets old
and slow like me. Here

I go, singing my song.
As I walk on this flaring carpet,
I’m their mom and I know
what’s best and I’m not wrong.

He bellows back at me,
“Good morning to you too, Mom!”
Triggered, with a taste as sour
as vinegar in my mouth, I go
in head first,
never thinking about what I say
hurts us both.
I don’t know why we’re always
fighting, especially when his father
doesn’t trust us both.
That just drives us even farther,
I beat my son. As I poison
myself with hatred,
placing all the blame on him—
trying to get my son to conform
and stop dreaming his life away.

Moments later, he sees me crying
in the washroom. As I’m beating
our dirty wet laundry with the paddle—

I’m stubborn, I hate myself,
I see him standing at the door
I see his eyes, my eyes,
I don’t hate myself, maybe stubborn
but I still find myself beautiful
because I am his mom.
He comes to me and hugs me tight.
I do my best to raise them both—

I make delicious dishes to please,
I keep their rooms clean,
and I assure them they’re safe
under my protection,
as I devise escape routes
out of my own house
when the sleep won’t come at nights.
I care enough to follow
them to the edge of the world
and be there, even if I can’t help
them in their cause
or even when I know
that their cause’s wrong,
even then, I’m willing to die
and kill for them.

Now as I cry on his shoulder,
sweet smell of the aftershave
same as his fathers’.
He’s so much like him.
I tightly hold him in my wet
and tired arms

and for a moment I don’t feel
that overwhelming sorrow
of the carpet beneath my feet,
it and the floor under us
has melted
with an overload
of love.

© M. Jay Dixit, September heart-to-hearts, 2021 All Rights Reserved

Dear reader,
I had my last share of beating when I was nine or ten–I don’t even remember why.
Because of the nature of my father’s job, he’s away most of the time, nowadays he comes home and stays in for 2 weekends every month. My mom and my little bro and I stay in our little home. Needless to say, I love them all very much and they all love me. The poem is fictional but like all good fiction, it is also inspired by the truth and the woman at the center of this poem is very dear to my heart.
Take care, ❤

Posted over at dverse: Poetics, Beyond Meaning or The Resolution of Opposites Prompt: To select one of the given lines from Paul Dunbar’s Paradox and build a poem around it.

29 thoughts on “Poem: Tangled Web or Flaring Red Carpet

Add yours

  1. Jay, I have a son a few years older than you. Motherhood comes with some very fierce emotions. Some of the things we do and say to our children may not be well-received, but our children know that they originate out of love and concern. I think you capture the sense of that in this very intense and beautiful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a vulnerable and powerful poem; thanks so much for sharing. I was thinking about the paradox of motherhood when I responded to this prompt as well– the ways in which parents do hurtful things, often out of their own pain, while also providing so much love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a powerful evocation of a mother’s love for his son and vice versa. I could never beat my children but sometimes I can lose my temper with them, but that doesn’t diminish my love for them one bit. There is great power and honesty in your words!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh that’s so nice to hear Jay and that makes my heart happy. That’s an awesome journed to be on and I’m sooooo glad you are enjoying. You are such a precious example of love in action and innocence. ❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow Jay,
    The red inflamed carpet ride of being beat would leave rage inside of anyone and it pains me knowing that happened to you and happens to others all over the world. The scares linger on and your have such an open heart and loving soul that is the heart of your mother’s being. It is alwasys someone else’s rage and disdain of themselves that drives these actions. Great power of emotions conveyed and tribrute to your mom!

    Liked by 1 person

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