Saturday, September 27, 2014

Zombie Child

Halloween 2014. For Kiddo, this holiday can't come soon enough. Just yesterday one the Honorary Aunties walked him home from school, just because. "Hazel, he talked about Halloween all the way to your house." she remarked.

Well, of course he did. This is Kiddo. Last spring he insisted I read him the abridged version of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein". Every once in a while, he reminds me "Remember when Doctor Frankenstein was throwing the body parts out the window because he didn't want to make a woman monster?" This from the kid who makes me fast forward nearly every Star Wars scene with Darth Vader in it.(We only watch the original three, only the best for us.) Yet, the macabre, in some ways, doesn't seem to bother him.

"What do you like about all this creepy stuff?" I ask him now. He's cutting up a shirt for this year's zombie costume.  "I just like being creepy" he replies, as if that explains everything. He just likes being creepy they way I like being funny (when I can, that is). It's just a part of who we are and what makes us feel good.

Back to the costume. I looked online for manufactured costumes and realized that, if we bought a zombie costume, I'd be the pariah mom of the neighborhood. They were beyond creepy, they were scary. Creepy can be kinda fun. Like, Shawn of the Dead, for example, my favorite zombie movie of all time. Creepy can be funny, but scary isn't. And when most of the moms in the neighbhood don't like the ultra-scary decorations and complain that the over-the-top gruesome gores costumes are too frightening for their little ones, Kiddo has some rules to play by, whether he knows it or not.

I Google "diy zombie costume child" and as I scroll through the images, some cuter, less scary creations pop up. No bones sticking out, great suggestions for the whitish, wrinkled skin. We'll get some make-up crayons-- I like to let Kiddo do his own creating as much as possible, with a bit of guidance. Right now he's using a red marker on the shirt he's snipped holes in. He's lobbying hard for me to allow him to have pants with a 'giant cut on the butthole'. Um, no. Not happening. It's the seven year old mischievous mind, hard at work.. I comment aloud that maybe he should have been Captain Underpants and he wants me to see if I can find one online. Apparently a teacher with a sense of humor crafted his own. My hat is off to you, Teacher Mason.

As for me, this year, I'm borrowing Kiddo's dinosaur hat/mask and monster claws and going as a Mommasaurus. I'll look for some costume jewelry to wear, maybe find a frilly apron at the Goodwill, who knows? The nice thing with dinosaurs, you can be whatever sort of "saurus" you want to be. My sister recently sent me a picture of a Thesaurus, a dino with a book for a mouth. My favorite sort of  'saurus these days.

We're starting to gear up for Halloween, trying to keep it fun and safe for the little neighbor kids. Joe had suggested buying a costume, but I'm glad that we are still creating our own outfits at home. There's something sweet about it. No alarming bleeding faces or skull masks. Creepy the way a seven year old should be.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Fall Poem for You

Stopping at a Poetry Box on an Overcast Afternoon
(for Patricia)

Derek Walcott
Behind plexiglass
Mourns the end of summer and I am there
Air cool on my face
September bringing me to a place of gratitude
As I stand by the poem, reading richness

A woman stops, joins me
She reads a bit aloud and we marvel at a line or two
I have seen her before in the neighborhood
Taking pictures of seasons flowers
Rapt in Harlequin's Glorybower and the other
 lovely things that grow

We speak of children and of verse
 of our lives, in an immediate tense
We conjugate in the here and now
Our love for words, for teaching
For the life around us.

We walk slowly together
To the corner where we say goodbye
I take my leave and stroll on home
She is now a familiar stranger and we,
We both the better for that moment.

Hazel M. Wheeler

and the inspiring poem:

A Lesson for This Sunday

Derek Walcott, 1930
The growing idleness of summer grass
With its frail kites of furious butterflies
Requests the lemonade of simple praise
In scansion gentler than my hammock swings
And rituals no more upsetting than a
Black maid shaking linen as she sings
The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—
Since I lie idling from the thought in things—

Or so they should, until I hear the cries
Of two small children hunting yellow wings,
Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.
Brother and sister, with a common pin,
Frowning like serious lepidopterists.
The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.
Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays
She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.
The lesson is the same. The maid removes
Both prodigies from their interest in science.
The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream
As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.
She is herself a thing of summery light,
Frail as a flower in this blue August air,
Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.

The mind swings inward on itself in fear
Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.
Heredity of cruelty everywhere,
And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
The long look back to see where choice is born,
As summer grass sways to the scythe’s design.