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Perk Poem: "All in the Family" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Perk Poem: "All in the Family"

This is the participation perk poem for Winterfaire 2011.  All of these activities will unlock a verse each time someone does one of them:

* link to the Winterfaire page to boost the signal
* comment posting a Booth of your wares/services in the Winterfaire
* buy something from a vendor listed in the Winterfaire 
* host a similar holiday market in your own blog or other venue
LiveJournal will notify me of comments to this post and links to it elsewhere on LJ; for everything else, you need to TELL ME in order to get credit for it.

This poem belongs to the Monster House series and features the first Thanksgiving at Monster House. You can find other poems in the series on my Serial Poetry page.  Participants so far: wrenstarling, zianuray, moonwolf1988, je_reviens, fireun, swirvel42, ellenmillion


All in the Family


Our first Thanksgiving
taught us a lot about family.
The kitchen at my parents' house
was midway through remodeling,
so we invited my family over
to our house for dinner.

In the interest of sparing
everyone's sanity, I asked
the troll to stay in the basement
with the radiator dragon in the furnace,
the monster in the closet to join
his cousin under the bed,
the bogeyman to leave the pipes alone,
the lurking shadow to stick with the shadows,
and the little old lady ghost to be invisible,
as long as my relatives were visiting.

The turkey turned out fantastic,
accompanied by side dishes and desserts
from both sides of the family.
My parents loved our new house
and they got along fine with my girl.

I was the one
who stared at the motionless rocker,
who fumbled in the closet unable to find things,
who kept wondering if the silent pipes were okay.

As much as I enjoyed
seeing my parents and my brothers and sisters,
I couldn't help feeling incomplete
and my eyes stumbled over
the empty spaces in the room
and I felt cold even sitting beside the radiator.
We watched football,
and I missed the troll's commentary.
We watched a movie, too, and played Monopoly.
We talked about each other's lives
and I realized with a sudden pang
how much of mine I left out.

Later, after the guests had left,
I put my face in my hands and mumbled,
"I never want to do that again."

"It's all right," said my girl.
"Next year, their kitchen will be finished
and we can visit your family at their place."

"What about your family?" I asked.
She smiled.
"We can invite them over here.
They've been wanting to meet
the rest of our household."

"Hey, who wants turkey salad?"
yelled the monster in the closet.
"Can make egg salad, too,
if you'd rather."

"He's not seriously planning to make
egg salad from leftover deviled eggs, is he?"
asked my girl.

"It's surprisingly good," I said,
wandering into the kitchen.
The bogeyman was deftly deboning the turkey,
putting the bones in the stock pot
and the meat in a bowl,
while the monsters chopped celery
and measured mayonnaise.
The little old lady ghost had broken up
the remains of pumpkin pie and was now
layering them with whipped cream for pumpkin trifle.
The troll was nowhere in sight.

I yanked open the basement door
and called down the stairs,
"What are you waiting for?
Everyone else is in the kitchen!"
He trundled up the steps,
blinking in the light,
and was pressed into service
slicing the last of the homemade bread.

Soon the table was set
and the late-night feast all served.
"I am thankful for my family," I said,
meeting their eyes around the table,
"Each and every one of you."

Tags: , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

18 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
zianuray From: zianuray Date: November 29th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I have friends who "de-pagan" the house when family is coming over -- take down the Goddess figure, hide the Tarot decks, even the Sword (which could pass as a wall decoration). They have a bad time of it with all the stuff put away, and they have a hard time readjusting when it goes back into place, and feel guilty in both situations. How much worse when it's your FRIENDS who are being asked to hide?
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 29th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't de-pagan my apartment for anyone. However... I am into age play as a little, and I do sometimes de-little my apartment for inspections, putting away toys and drawings my little self has drawn, pictures she likes, and putting away American Girl magazines and books. So I understand.
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: November 29th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
So I didn't know what age play was or what little meant and I went to your LJ and read your info post on yourself. It was really interesting! I hope that is ok to say. It is amazing, all the variety that humanity can come in. I feel like I live in an anemic sort of world where weveryone tries to be and appear to be the same, in comparison.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 29th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, probably should have linked to the Wikipedia article.
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: November 30th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Not on my account - if I need Wikipedia to find out stuff I don't deserve to be called a librarian.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 30th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

I think it makes a difference whether or not you know someone who does X, if you're at all open-minded about it. Ageplay is one of the things that just seemed creepy to me until I started reading posts by people who DO it -- and who discussed that it's often about nurturing, taking care of or being taken care of. That's especially true for some folks who didn't GET to have a happy childhood and experience those things earlier, and want to fill the gap. So that makes sense.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 30th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Or people like me, who were so locked away in their own minds during their childhood that their memories of their childhood are sketchy at best.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Yeah, I know a number of people with that issue also.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 30th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>I have friends who "de-pagan" the house when family is coming over <<

Yeah, I know how that goes.

>>How much worse when it's your FRIENDS who are being asked to hide?<<

Quite a lot worse -- and that is not a fictional example. I've known it to happen with Pagans, and also with queer and polyamorous people. It's not good for a relationship to stuff it under a rug. It is, however, often preferable to a fistfight breaking out, which has also been known to happen.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: February 15th, 2012 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

However much we hate the "polite little lies" we tell, we hate the thought of what might happen if we don't tell them even worse.
Definitely a no-win situation.
:(

fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 29th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I love it so far! I await more!

You know... I think part of why I like this series so much, besides the fact I love monsters, is that Lyria's own fortress could be considered a monster house. Among her children are a bunch of former corpses, weird spirit beings made from insects, a giant rat with cockroach wings (with a wife and 100 or more children in the basement), a part-cat human-ish girl, a dog with monkey arms, nightmarish carnivorous horses, imps, and soon I plan to introduce a new character who is part machine and part homunculus (not the miniature kind, but a full grown one). And her daughter Meriel (the part-cat) calls a Fae "Aunty."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 30th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad you like this.

>> I think part of why I like this series so much, besides the fact I love monsters, is that Lyria's own fortress could be considered a monster house.<<

I love diverse settings like that, and characters who are comfortable with a very mixed group.
swirvel42 From: swirvel42 Date: November 29th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
This is just too cute.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 29th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like it.
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: November 29th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh! Oh! I love it! I love it!!!!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 30th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
kitrona From: kitrona Date: November 30th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely beautiful. I used to do things like that (de-paganing, ect) and decided that if people want to spend time with me, they have to at least not be uncomfortable with ALL the parts of me, even if they don't understand or necessarily agree. To me, that's what family IS, which is why I don't speak to my biological family much, and why I have an agnostic (husband), a Kemetic-ish pagan (me), a Lokian (fiancee), a Christian (adopted mom), a somewhat pagan (adopted dad), and an undecided-but-probably-will-end-up-pagan (4 year old son) living comfortably in the house together. Or, at least, the disagreements aren't about religion. :P
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 1st, 2011 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this poem. It's good that you've created a family where you don't have to hide who you really are, too.
18 comments or Leave a comment