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Always with the video games when you’re sad,as if the gunshots are manna, or music,which isn’t to say I think you’re planningto shoot up a grocery store—no, no,just convincing myself that a faked-up righteousnessmight be a rhythmic consolation forthe shit of your day, for its lonesomeness,for the slow decay of being alive.
Dawn Potter directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, held each summer at Robert Frost’s home in Franconia, New Hampshire. Her books include Chestnut Ridge (Deerbrook Editions, 2019).
Copyright 2021 Dawn Potter
Thanks so much for your kind words about the poem. While I think parents of all genders have complex hopes and expectations that affect their children’s lives, I do take your point about the difficulties that face young people, and how hard it is, as a parent, to watch them suffer, struggle, or give up. This poem is both fiction and nonfiction: the speaker is not exactly myself, and the son is not exactly my son, and the situation/relationship does not exactly replicate our lives. I was working to embody a larger pain, one that affects all kinds of people, and I’m glad to know that my attempt to do so resonated with you.
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I’m not sure if you will find any value in my comments or even welcome them at all.
Misgivings aside, I was especially struck by this poem. A mother often harbors secret thoughts, but her love and concern are fundamental. While a father’s influence primarily pertains to how to act, that of a mother determines how to be.
Children of today are confronted by an unpromising future fraught with perplexing, unpleasant and even deadly possibilities. What do they need to hear that will provide them with intellectual and spiritual sustenance? What secret fears are harbored by mothers around the world?
From what I have read I think you could deal with these topics quite masterfully and speak to this looming global crisis which has metastasized into both our physical and cultural world.
Well, there’s my two cents. Hopefully it is worth at least that much.
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