30 July 2010

Imaginary Guest

for Thyra and M. M.

The night Marlee Matlin came to dinner
at our house, my daughter’s face became a
glowing orb. Matlin felt her pull and was
drawn into an exquisite expression of thought
flowing from fingers faster than I could read.

Third wheel, I served curried potato soup
and refreshed tall glasses of Arnold Palmers
to tinkling ice singing for my ears, a private
symphony echoing the clinking of silver
on ceramic plates. Dessert followed, hot cherry
pie topped with old fashioned vanilla ice cream.
Plated pie entered to noses exploring air.
Eyes exchanged rapture. Fingers kissed from
lips spread yum. Pie disappeared and my daughter
laughed as Matlin reached across the table to
dab a cherry red drip from her chin.

In this picture you can see how excited Marlee was to meet Thyra. ;-)

Shout out to Big Tent Poetry for the prompt.

“This week, start with a list of pop culture icons that interest you. Imagine one of them in a mundane setting: Marilyn Monroe doing the dishes, Elvis mowing the lawn, Lady Gaga carpooling the kids to soccer practice. Poem an icon into a situation they may never, in real life, appear.”

While Marlee Matlin is not exactly a pop culture icon in the hearing world, she is a pop icon in the Deaf world in the United States. Matlin is an academy award winning actress and a role model for many deaf and hard of hearing girls across America.  My daughter looks to Matlin as a role model.

To keep my conscience clean, the movie Matlin won an award for is Children of a Lesser God.  The treatment of Deaf people as needing to be fixed in that movie raises Thyra's hackles.  Deaf people do not need to talk to live full lives, nor do they need to be fixed.  They are not broken.


mark said...

Quite a marvelous piece of writing. We all need heroes, role models and people to inspire.

vivienne blake said...

A true heroine, and a terrific poem - lovely rhythm.

Rachel said...

This is lovely. I especially like the poignant image of the small dinner sounds; they isolate the one who can hear them the same way the quicker fingers do.

Mary said...

A nice piece of writing. Wouldn't it be nice if this could be so!

willow said...

I LOVE Marlee Matlin. What a wonderful piece of writing. I was a licensed sign language interpreter once upon a time, so this was especially touching for me.

flaubert said...

Brenda this a wonderful piece of writing and very touching!

Tilly Bud said...

I think this is a wonderful poem. It rings so true. Did you see MM in The West Wing? I love her.

This was really well done.


Elizabeth said...

I love everything about your poem right down to the cherry pie and "fingers kissed from lips spread yum." Marlee Matlin is one of my favorites and I will watch anything in which she appears. This is a tribute to her, as well as your daughter. Wonderful.


brenda w said...

Mark, Thank you. We do need role models, even us poets.
Viv-Thanks, your comment inspired me to reread it with an ear for rhythm.
Rachel, You got to the soul of my feelings. There is definitely a cultural divide that isolates on both sides.
Mary, Thyra is socially engaging, they'd be laughing it up like old friends in no time! :)
Willow, How cool that you used to interpret. I'm glad you liked the piece.
Pamela, I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for your kind words.


brenda w said...

Tilly, Yes! I loved her in West Wing. Thanks for your kind words, I'm glad you liked it.

Elizabeth, My favorite part was the drip of pie, too. I didn't know where the piece was going, or how it would end, until that line came. Thanks for stopping by.

twitches said...

Love the ending!

Tilly Bud said...

I meant to say that I love the header photo.

Rallentanda said...

Apart from all the altruistic
sentiments the menu sounded great. Can't wait for my invite. Not sure what the Arnold Palmers are but I 'll just stick with the champers if you don't mind!

Cynthia Short said...

What a lovely imagining!

Dick said...

A great piece of for-real narrative. A neat note, the 'private symphony' against the flying fingers.

nan said...

This is a very sweet poem, full of delicious foods and smiles. I think Marlee Matlin is a fine actress - one of the best of our generation without a doubt. She has given a gift to the hearing in the world by giving them an inkling into deaf culture and completeness. I think you should send this poem to her!!

Systematic Weasel said...

This was a wonderful piece! Great response to the prompt!


Linda said...

Amen. Loved the poem and where it goes.I especially liked the image of you as a third wheel.

My classes have always been eclectic and sometimes we had someone who signed if that was what a student needed.

I'm glad that your daughter has a role model she looks up to. Lovely and strong poem.

Francis Scudellari said...

The fact that MM was on a Seinfeld episode wins her eternal pop icon status in my book :). I loved the poem, but it had me drooling by the end.

Tumblewords: said...

A delicious recipe for a special night with a wonderful role model - love it!