Thursday, February 15, 2007


Ricky ~anna hood~

Over her head he sleeps
curled away in the straight-jacket
of his mind

his body thrashing
dreams.

Does he dream that someone
loves him? No one does (do they?)
except Daisy
the black and white collie
whose whole body shivers
with love for him.

She tries really she does,
what mother
wouldn't/couldn’t love her child?
(God help her)

The children, even the kind
ones call him moron
spaz lunatic. She tells people
something misfires in his brain
crashes smashes mashes trashes
in his brain my GOD
she's beginning to sound like him.

She tries to love him. Really.
Where did she go wrong?
She did everything right
the vitamins
the exercises, no alcohol
not even a drop on her birthday
sat for hours at the old Heinzman
in the porch playing Gershwin for him
(Someone To Watch Over Me)
read to him
(Beatrix Potter and such)

when he was just a slippery
fish even then thrashing
kicking lurching around inside her.

At night when he sleeps she reads
the National Enquirer mostly
and wonders about aliens.

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16 Comments:

Blogger Saaleha said...

How sad, and painful. I would not have though this refers to autism as the label suggests, but some sort of mental retardation. I actually thought of my nephew. He has epilepsy and a syndrome that prevents him from maturing mentally. AT sixteen, he has the mind of a five year old.

12:28 PM  
Blogger anna said...

Saaleha, I don't really know if it is autism. I should probably change the label. It's a sad situation, a single mother,
and guilty and scared.
thanks for reading

2:04 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

My God.

Dear Anna. This struck so close to home. With my son, when he was so ill. I'd done everything right. ..then catastrophy. I know you lived through it with me.

I feel you actually understand.

My God, Anna. You described it perfectly.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Dearest Anna,

This is beautiful & haunting.
It probed me on to think of all the good people who stay unpopular or unloved simply because they're seen as misfits in one way or another.

Each of your poems has made animportant social statement on love in its rarer myriad form.

Small consolation but I love it that you mentioned Beatrix Potter.:-)

4:48 PM  
Blogger Atyllah said...

Oh, a sad, beautiful and poignant poem. We think we know so much but we know so little, how can we ever begin to imagine what it's like to be Ricky.
Have you ever read any of Oliver Sacks books (The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat; The Martian Anthropologist etc). Sacks is a neurologist who tells a wealth of empathic and insightful stories about his patients.

3:28 AM  
Blogger anna said...

Dearest ((Roberta)) I know how painful that time of your life was.

Every reader has their own take on what they read.
I used to think when somebody got it completely wrong - from my place as writer - that they'd missed the point, that somehow I'd failed, but then came to realize we all see things from our own perspective. No greater compliment for a writer than to send their reader on a memory journey.

thank you for always reading my stuff and always, always leaving a positive and thoughtful response.

huge HUG!!

3:46 AM  
Blogger anna said...

Good morning Susan, Yes it is terribly sad how the odd or different can be treated. I can only hope all of us can look past the packaging to the present inside.

I adore Beatrix Potter. Can't wait to see the film although Renee Zellweiger is not one of my faves.

3:50 AM  
Blogger anna said...

mornin Chick Chick! I started this poem awhile back after reading Mark Haddon's book 'Incident of the Nighttime Dog' (I think that's the title.) it's a combination of that and this gal I used to know, the mother of Ricky.

Yes impossible to understand what goes on in their mind. It must be terrifying.

I have never read Oliver Sachs but will look him up.

as always thank you for reading and of course takin the time to comment!

4:02 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

Poignant.
Birth a sad and bitter lottery and a guilt.

5:54 AM  
Blogger anna said...

a crap shoot for sure Bernita
and lots of room for guilt!
Thanks for the read and comment
Always appreciate it

9:16 AM  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

I've met Mark Haddon, Anna.
Very cute! :-)

5:37 PM  
Blogger anna said...

Susan you are the coolest girl with the coolest experiences.
neato!

6:06 PM  
Blogger Atyllah said...

If your poem was based on the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (not read it but know about it) then try to look out for Sacks' Anthropologist from Mars - the subject of that story which gives the book it's title, is an autistic woman who overcomes her disabilities to create a niche for herself in science - she is quite remarkable - and shows us, as do the other stories, how one cannot underestimate people with neurological disabilities.

In fact, I'd encourage everyone to take a look at Oliver Sacks' work - you'll view neurologically disadvantaged people with new eyes.

10:55 AM  
Blogger anna said...

atyllah , i really must look out for Oliver Sacks' books. I have a stack here about 20 high and a list a mile long but will bump him to the head. sounds interesting

3:09 PM  
Blogger jason evans said...

Such an undeniably human and normal thought, although few would admit it. I love when art goes where people are afraid to go. Wonderfully done.

1:14 PM  
Blogger anna said...

Again Jason, my heartfelt thanks!

1:06 PM  

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