Monday, November 28, 2011

That’s a Tough One: The Muse Strikes Again

Where do poems come from? 

I’m not sure, 
But now that I think of it, 
Your question reminds me 

Of the time when I first asked 
Mom where babies come from 
And she said they just popped out 

Of women’s kneecaps. 


  1. A wee chum of mine from across the alley was always asking his mother that same question, until one day she grew impatient and said, "Out of the laundry wringer!"

    There was a single common laundry tub in the basement of the tenement building.

    We lads were in the habit of sneaking down there when no washing was being done, to do whatever it is small boys do when not getting up to other forms of trouble.

    We tried working the wringer, with increasing temerity, until finally my friend boldly thrust in his arm, while the wringer roller-mechanism was still operating.

    No baby, but... broken arm.

    Still, no amount of sensible deterrence will put one off this endless pursuit.

  2. I stuck my arm in one of those wringers. Luckily my Grandma's machine was old and unmotorized. My cousin, who was cranking it, stopped before any bones got broke, though I wailed like a shark-bit swimmer. Grandma slathered my arm in Vicks VapoRub—her answer for all such injuries—and no doubt gave me butter brickle ice cream. No surprise I was a tubby, spoiled little boy....

  3. Joe,

    Vicks VapoRub, the cure-all of all cure-alls.

    Head cold? Drop a blob of V VR in a pan of boiling water, make a tent over it with a towel, stick your head in.

    The memory of the menthol smell still lingers, a poor-man's Proustian memento.

  4. Leave it to poetically inclined children with inquiring minds to drive their parents straight up a wall or straightaway to a good doctor. As for our good friend VVR, I can only second what Tom says, having stuck my head inside that menthol tent a number of time myself. We always keep a jar handy just in case a case of sniffles makes us think of heading for the local health center--Old Vic is a much better choice.

    Thanks to all of you.


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