Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thinking about Dirt and Poetry.

My brother, Upfromsumdirt, a.k.a Mudman, a.k.a Dirtyboy is a poet. Extremely prolific.  He is 6 years younger than I.  To sum up our background...I spent most of my childhood and adolescent years resenting him upstaging my 'baby of the family status'.  He made me a feminist.  I contributed his excessive preferential treatment my mother gave him due to him being a "male" child.  It wasn't until he flunked out of college that I begin to see the "golden boy" as having the possibility of being human and thus likeable.  He became a rebel. A quiet, reflective rebel.  He started writing poetry about 15 years ago and has developed a raw passion and sensitivies to self-study.  He still resists being defined by others even when the advice is in, he should really obtain advanced degrees in literature and get paid for what he feels compelled to do already.  I've tried to encourage his exposure on the local scene but he resists that also.  He did read for a small venue in Atlanta 2 weeks ago at the encouragement of a girlfriend (he was trying to earn points no doubt).  He, like myself, prefers to write over talk. In the last ten years we have put aside all sibling rivalries and have gotten to know one another genuinely and I have learned to respect the soul of the man.  Here is one of his poems that makes me smile when I read it, followed by one of my own. 

Where Babies Come From

We are all cocoons of flesh

and brittle bits of husk, housing

whatever it is that makes us us.

...spirit or soul or shadow or something...

Beneath our human coil

we are the soil of the universe!!

We are the breath of God

infested within congested lungs.

He spits us out and we are flung into creation.

That alone makes us beautiful...but we are more...

Extra-celestial and kin to solar wind,

our speech is red giant sun & blue moon with

black hole knowledge...

We speak constellation-slang with supernova breath

and ride solar flares barehanded.

We are never alone or stranded,

everywhere is our home.

We hold our love eternal,

each star is a journal

inscribing our secrets

upon their surfaces until God

decides to publish our essences.

Spirits riding down upon the tail end

of falling stars landing on womb

until BOOM! we are born anew...

and the ancestors say, "welcome to the world, little stardust".

One Mother's Blood, for Deborah

From the Underground

through Mama's birth canal

we rose to life's Jubilee.

You swam the water, tides

delivered you first into the future.

I followed by the map you inscribed

on the palms of my hands.

                       six years apart, separate journeys, one mother's blood

Your feet were planted

on earth before mine.

I learned to walk by

crawling in traces

left from your dances.

We grew toward the sun;

other parts of us grew

toward each other.

                      bloodstains marked us women, not sacrilege

We now dodge daggers

only to burn our heels

on the fire.

Damn near choke on the water

and suffocate on this air.

We kick, claw, jerk, and scream

through atmospheric pressure.

I can't hear your visceral sounds

Can you hear mine?

Sister, Sister, Sister

turn turn turning to me

reach, grip, hold, carry,

don't let go!!!!!!!!

My piece was published in an anthology of women poets from Louisville a long time ago.  The name of the book is Dark Woods I Cross.  Here is a family photo. Deborah is in the red. Dirty is the adult male and I am next to him.


  1. Loved the poems. I haven't written a poem in 2 years and I used to write them ALL of the time. Enough to fill 3 of those composition notebooks. I enjoyed the family photos! Your family reminds me a lot of mine.

  2. Wonderful poems. I'm glad you two could grow together in your lifetime. My sister and I became much closer once we weren't living (and competing) in the same house. There's nothing like a sibling for someone to talk to who knows all your warts and loves you anyway.

  3. Beautiful words by both of you. I love his line "we are never alone or stranded", among many other. That one in particular because so many people I know are so afraid of being alone, but we never really are. Your poem is very visceral and REAL, like feet planted firmly on the ground. Dirty's work is like the air. Thank you for sharing all of it. Beautiful. Also, great family picture. It's all about waiting for the baby to get ready!

  4. I love the imagery of the poems. Thanks for sharing. I have been writing a few poems, now that I have time to slow down and think about things. Also enjoyed the family pic.

  5. Oh, my! What beautiful and powerful words from both of you. What a beautiful family. Hope you are having a very lovely and creative time at the retreat this week-end.

  6. Karoda, With the powerful imagery and emotion in these poems, maybe you and your brother could collaborate on a volume? You could both have poetry pages alternating with your (quilt)art. Jen

  7. Karoda, what can I say? Both poems are exquisite!

  8. YOU resented ME????? pssh!
    nawnawnaw... i think you got that backwards!
    ((guess i done outgrowd it tho... i guess... ))

  9. YOU resented ME????? pssh!
    nawnawnaw... i think you got that backwards!
    ((guess i done outgrowd it tho... i guess... ))

  10. How lovely are the words of a brother and sister! This much good, solid talent in one family is truly a blessing. You know your brother is truly one of my favorite poets --- if not my very favorite (Nikki does give him a lil competition, though!). Great stuff, Karoda...I'm glad you posted this.

  11. Michelle said: "This much good, solid talent in one family is truly a blessing..."
    I agree completely. It's good to have other artists in the family. It's lonely when there aren't.