Big Bang Mother


My mother’s defeating authority

Emasculated my formative years

Turned my personal discoveries “mundtot”

Suppressed my budding voice

She was a resolute expert at

Making little things appear as big and ugly

As she needed them to be


The shards of an accidentally broken cup

Instantly became propped up symbols

Of a massacred piece of my mother’s worth

She would claim she could have been a general

She had what it takes to keep

Armies in precise and obedient rank

Instead of winning wars and conquering lands

She made it her principal mission in life

To file a claim to every corner of my being

I was to mirror her acts and her thinking

A flawlessly executed imitation –

Her Performance Approximation



I was to always look decent

And display good manners

And as such enact the essence of a girl

She liked to term “bon chic, bon genre”

I was to serve as the flagship of her reputation

An impeccable extension of her

“Petite Fille Modèle” in perfect French

Her education relied on

Stubbornly uttered leitmotifs

Targeting the correction of any imperfect thread

In an otherwise strong ancestral ascendance

Her essential offerings included

A bouquet of limitations

The things I was allowed to do

Offset by multiple restrictions

All action, however small, containing

The frightening caveat of

“Achtung!” and Forbidden!


Those were solitary childhood days

That saw too many lonesome games

I fought a trench war of many years

With no siblings buttressing my angry calls


Sundays fast became the week’s most hated day


During this trying time,

I marched up with varying bravery

Against a stubbornly unapologetic maternal face

My life heavily regulated, programmed,

And my schoolwork word by word remembered

Did you write it nicely; did you speak it well?

She would insistently and repeatedly ask


Those were lonely and upsetting days

Where format formally and

Uncompromisingly took over logic and content

I was told to appear in all the right lights

For without proper appearance

I wouldn’t stand a chance as an adult


As a teenager my daily vocal bread

Consisted of heavy-handed attacks

On my clothing sense

I had to represent! I had to fall in line or else…


Stifled in all manner of social expression

I was told to relinquish gesturing

To appear refined even with no one there

My mother was clear: Pointing a finger

Points out your class on the social scale

“Il faut être correcte”


This punitive phrase

Followed me everywhere I went

                                            It would not leave me be –

She would tell my mind to cross its knees

Sufficiently elegant was as per mom

Not exquisite enough

Elegant was only beginning etiquette in her

Unbending drive to offer up excellence


And when it came to exploring

The facets of my personal world

I faced off amateur-like

Against her reductive

View of onyx black versus immaculate white

That held court against all

Things possibly plausible in between


Under her stern tutelage

I came to hate the watch and

The rigid punctuality it stood for

To this day, not wearing a timepiece

Does not mean I do not fast become

Slave to a pressing need to outsmart time


But Mother didn’t stop there - no

Not only were my actions to be

Measured, tested and judged

Through appropriate phrasing and pacing

What others said and did was

To be weighed in direct relation

To my seeming a well-bred, upright,

Remarkably polite, properly educated

And discreet young female

My raison d’être was constantly met

With a staunch societal measuring stick

That favored restraint and doggedly

Imposed barriers on self-definition


When I trace my current life back

To my escaped childhood days

I realize that a lot of muting and stifling

Went on for 18 long years

Whose impact is still being neutralized

And dismantled in gradual bits

“Everyone’s got to overcome their parents”

And so it’s only a mere matter of time

Before I peace out my mom