CANTO 2 August 24, 2011
Everybody has a story
It’s my job as a writer to tell mine
So that you remember yours
My father told me that if I wanted
To do better than him
I was spitting in his face.
My sister chose to be a nurse
Which he considered woman’s work
And no insult to his driving a bus.
My mother was forced to go to work
When we reached Cleveland.
She was furious at my father’s failure
And vowed that she would never
Do another day’s housework
And told me it was up to me.
Since I was crazy and my sister
Had a normal life.
For some peculiar reason
I chose to major in business.
I don’t know why.
We started out commuting to college
My father would go no further in debt
For a couple of girls.
Business majors had to take English
Like every other poor slob.
My English teacher listened to me read an essay
And ordered me out of business, saying
“You’re a writer.”
So, I did because I was.
Since fourteen when I found
That I loved to read and view plays.
Just before Junior Year,
My mother said the magic words
“You’re so crazy you might as well accept the fact
That the only thing you’ll ever do is stay home
And take care of me.” And I knew I had to run.
My parents had made me start paying for my clothes at 16
So all the summer jobs and part time work
Got me enough money to pay the room and board at
Ohio University at the furthest southern end of the state.
Southarhn Ohhai, y’all
I became a Playwrighting major
As I had written plays since I was fourteen
And Lorraine Hansberry died, leaving
It up to me to carry the load.
Later shrinks would call me a clever girl for hearing
What she was really saying and planning.
That I had been raised to take care
Of a depressed and angry women.
Just like every man I would ever love.