Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Screaming Hour

Tonight I was sleuthing through some old computer files looking for something, and I found this. It is dated February 2007, and though the computer credits me with being its author, I have no memory of writing it. I was having some, um, mental health treatments around about that time, which created a wide swath in my frontal lobe's memory banks, so that probably explains why its discovery today comes as such a complete surprise. If anybody is interested in the original saccharine and insipid literary gem to which this refers, you can find it here.

And now, here offered without further comment:

With No Apologies Whatsoever to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the Old Fart

By Tracy Thompson


Between the dark and the daylight
As the night is beginning to lower
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations
That is known as the Screaming Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
A thunderous sibling stampeding,
A slam that would shatter a doorframe,
My six-year-old howling, “I’M BLEEDING!”

From my study I see in the lamplight
Two divas descending the stair.
“I DID NOT!” comes my 10-year-old’s roaring;
“YOU DID, TOO!” yells Miss Curly Hair.

A whisper, and then a silence
And I know from the whimper-marked hush
One’s raiding the Band-Aid supply
While her big sister hisses, “You wuss!”

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the door!
They’ve seen me! They descend full of grievance,
Tales of woe, wrongs endured, marks of gore.
Little Sophie hits “delete” on my keyboard
While she rats out her big sister’s sin;
If I tell them to leave, they ignore me;
Emma screams, “I HATE BEING TEN!”

Oh, what I’d give for an icepick
I’d stick it right into my brain
Maybe a home-made lobotomy
Would keep me from going insane

From this 5 p.m. scourge of fighting,
Low blood sugar, wails, homework hell.
Then again, the racket these kids make
Would penetrate a well-padded cell.

Do you think, o mother who reads this,
That because my kids cause me these woes
That you’re a superior parent?
That your children will never be foes?

Maybe so. All that I’m sure of
Is that if H.W. Longfellow were here,
I’d say, “You think kids are so darling?
Take mine, then. I need a beer.”

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