Poem Portal #16: Confessional

This portal judges my past self for her first-job-hunt days.  I was not a fun person to be around at the point that I decided I needed to make my own money – not from my parents – and was not yet able to make it.  I questioned Subway employees during their lunch rush.  I committed faux-pas like telling my library interview that I was waiting on an answer fromface_foot_in_mouth McDonald’s and had heard I could get more hours there, but if I didn’t get that job I’d love to work at the library.  I got neither job, of course.  Even Arby’s turned me down the first time: the best I could come up with for why I wanted to work there was that I “liked their windows”.

Like a typical teenager, I looked to my parents for someone to blame.  Since my mother was the breadwinner, I guess she was the logical target in this case.  I wanted two expensive trips in one year – my choir (Bel Canto) was going to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall and my high school band was going to Disneyland.  For the first time I could remember, my mother didn’t think she’d be able to afford it all, and I was not receptive to this “new” concern about debt.  Because I was trying so hard to finger wagget a job, she did end up paying for both trips in the end.  Having now experienced financial stress over far less debt and zero dependents, I can wag a disapproving finger at my teenage attitude.  My regret was expressed a few years after the incident, through my online poetry course – an assignment called “confessional”.


My mother made money I needed for trips,

That year there were two: one choir, one band,

Because of our debt, she could not give me both.

What’s a high school kid like me to do?

I searched a job market that screamed for “experience,”

Leaving resumes everywhere describing I’d none.

My mom drove me home from failed interviews.

We parked on Quinn street and she tried to console.Know Better

My bitter young heart would not hear a word,

I said what I’d now pay it all to erase:

“I shouldn’t be stuck with the money we have,

I’m not the one who messed it up.”

No words harsh enough describe my act then,

One thoughtless thought I spoke aloud.

Ignorant, thankless, I delivered the hurt

To the mother who loved me so well all my life.

By jcmlott

Poem Portal #15: Complimentary

This poem is from my Coffee News days – a four-month period in my first year living away from home.  I lived in Abbotsford with my roommates and got to know the local publisher of the Coffee News: a free, weekly, one-page publication delivered to Coffee Newsrestaurants and businesses with waiting areas.  I only just realized by looking it up now that Coffee News is a global phenomenon (http://www.coffeenews.com/); however, it was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Each local branch of this paper has a publisher.  In 2008, the Abbotsford guy decided to include my poems in a few issues.  This was technically my first official publication, though I saw it more as a personal favour at the time.

I sent this poem to my friend with a big batch of poems that were the right length, but sadly I do not recall if it was one that actually came out in Coffee News.  I did not keep more than one or two issues.  My obsession with publishing my novels was such that I awaited souvenirs on this front and denied my future self the full record of my writing career.  As far as I can tell this little piece reflects my love of acrostic poems…my love of humorous dialogues with villains…my love of Shel Silverstein’s work (the abrupt ending reminds me of his “Boa Constrictor” poem in Where the Sidewalk Ends).

Compliments must be showered upon you,

Oh, yes they must:

Magnificent towering figure you have

Perfectly, wonderfullyteeth

Lethal-looking teeth

I think you should keep them very, very clean

Mostly because blood stains would ruin their sparkle

Even when you’re about to eat me you look fabulous

Never seen anyone who takes better care of their looks

Too bad no amount of whitener will get that smile back

Actually, you have a great personality too!

Refrain from tarnishing your goodness and mercy by

You know not—