Before I Go

Yesterday's poetry challenge was from Malika Booker, and a very touching one too.

1) I would like you to listen to Dolly Parton sing Harper Vally PTA.

2) Then i would like you to write about a time when one of your parents championed you.

3) It does not have to be real, can be imaginary or based on a story that you heard.

4) Write in third person so we do not know it is your parent or you until the end of the piece.

5) if it is imaginary you might also use the clothes and hairstyles as part of your description.

6) See how natural you can keep the voice.

I have also included a link to the lyrics in case anyone wants to take elements of structure from the layout on the page.

I am never sure of the real difference between prose and a prose poem although saying that with this 30/30 challenge I am finding myself drawn to the prose format. I wanted to write something for my mother which was not factually true but had an emotional authenticity to it and for it not to sound mawkish. I hope the poem below meets this expectation.

Before I Go

Becca tells me 'Dad's gone off again'. This is not new. Her dad is always 'going off' for a day or two leaving her mum dabbing her tears at the kitchen table and Becca in charge of tidying up Tommy's toys and sometimes even being the one to read him his bedtime story when her mum is really bad.

'Really?' I ask. 'Yes' she says 'Really, really'. It's then I know that our lives are divided into two; not that good and pretty bad, in to really and really really. I live with my mum. It's just her and me. I know by the way she's saying it that Becca's dad is not coming back this time. I sit next to her on the wall and wait for her to say something else.

'In a way I'm happy' she says looking at the ground 'He shouted too much. Sometimes he's the only one not crying. Mum still loves him though.' We sit there for ages, waiting for a bus which should have got here fifteen minutes ago. When it finally comes it's too full to get on so we start to walk home instead.

I know mum won't be in when I get there but she'll be there later and that, as it's Tuesday and she has her class, she'll come back with takeaway. May be some kebabs from the corner or fish and chips if the queue's not too long. I'll do the washing up, the last bit of homework before i go to bed and mum will say 'I love you sweetie' before I go upstairs.