Wednesday, December 17, 2008

wedding dress, wedding dress

This evening, I received an early Christmas present from my brother, Bobby. Eleven years ago, he wrote a poem for Troy and I. The first time I heard it was when he read it out loud at our wedding. After the chaos of the reception, the honeymoon, the moving in to Troy's apartment, the getting used to being married, I wanted to display it but alas neither Bobby or I could find a copy of it anywhere. This week, while digging through his basement, Bobby discovered an old journal containing, hooray!, the entire poem, which he kindly typed and framed for me. It is a masterpiece, an extraordinary description of the truths I would later discover by way of living and loving and tripping and falling - truths he managed to foretell while still so young, so inexperienced. I am sharing it with you below - this treasured, treasured memento from my past:

July 5, 1997

The young in you
The fever summer flushing out blushes
Salt oil for your joints; joint grass hair-
Inky, tangled, prolific

Like the doodle-mark spirals drawn by the
child in you
But dark and stiff like brush bristles-
In protruding stalks of winsome thoughts
That grow happily and easily
From a head heavy with time
So much time

A future being fed to you in ladles of


This dream in you

The young in you

Is not yours.

The God in you

Not the silver-flecked figure

Packaged neatly in gilt-edged hymnals

A sardine in his opaline soup

A quivering iridescence

Caught like cod this God in you

Solid and secure in a snarled neuron net

(more holes than thread)

But the mystery - silver, too, only quick and


An early morning sunbeam dazzle

That's felt, even seen in your half-


Then neither seen nor felt nor heard from

Once the SNAP

The numbing shock of consciousness

So it's engaged

Like thrusting your head into mountain


(Do you own the stream?)

Like tapping a tree for sweet syrup

(Can you possess the wild and rooted?)

Like sucking vinegar from a wide-mouthed

cup of salvation

Clumsy, earthly activities all

To punctuate days and lure back the dawn
in you
The God in you

Who is not yours.

The you in you

The he in you

The she in you

Who acquires who

In the hammering out of years
Like the pounding out of armor

To protect what's afraid in you?

Cracked coffee cups, growing laundry heaps

Converging like tectonic plates

That turn molehills into mountains

Credit checks and checkered pasts

Dead flakes off burnt steaks

What's really at stake?

Even Sunday morning papers and the
greasy pleasures they afford
Leafy autumn walks, drowsy midnight talks

drunk with verbosity

A shared plum

The illusion of being known

As when a twin finishes the other's


The other in you

Even the you in you
Is not yours.

So what's left in you

When all that's real to you

Will fade like a summer tan

And the young in you

The God in you

The other in you

Prove as ethereal as spoonable weather-

Caught rainbows, canned snowflakes

Beat, whipped, and spread thick on brown
What then is left in you?

Breath, for one thing, breathing

Life, my two friends, living

Faith yawning, eclipsing doubt's


Comings and goings, trips and treasure

Transcendence found like silver dollars on


For foolish spending
Love, loving

Moments that roll around your tongue

Drip from your mouth

And stain your clothes with scarlet passion

Relent, release, retreat, my twilight companions

For it's into twilight that we're born

- Bobby Maddex


paige maddex said...

Amazing - I know he's my husband, but it really is good.

Jenn said...

Bobby's words are stunning...I cried through the whole reading. I'm so glad that he found that treasure...and I know you are, too!
Bobby is a genius with these words and meanings...
I'm so glad you shared it!

Sandy said...

Wow, this is breathtaking! I'm going to print it and frame it, no lie! I love how he plays with the words and they roll around together so fluidly. I don't know how to critique poetry so I sound like a dufus, but it was stunning. What did your mother do that enabled two such fantastic writers to thrive? :) Does he have others to share?

Kelleylynn said...

A masterpiece! What a blessing to be graced by this brotherly love!
Perfect Christmas present...