I have two mommies, a poetry mum and a non-fiction mum. Or more to the point, I have several mommies. Because it really does take a village to raise a child, especially when she's as recalcitrant as I am. But the mother of my poetry, Laura H., the founder of UVU's Touchstones Journal of Art and Literature, is retiring at the end of Spring semester. I'm not sure how to explain the gift we're giving her. You see, she lost a child, her only son, about twelve years ago. He was vibrant, bright, tumultuous, and artistic. I identify with him in ways that don't make sense considering we never met. But he made an impression on anyone who did.
He jumped trains. Crazy kid. Jumped trains, tagged them, wrote beautiful poetry, was in love with justice and philosophy. And then, one tragic night, went caving with three friends and never came back. The story is almost too difficult to write, but they all ended up drowning in attempt to swim through an underground tunnel from one part of the cave to another. The mother of poetry laid her only child to rest at the tender age of 24.
He left a legacy in his wake. One that rumbles behind my duplex in the night and shows up like a ghost every so often on my morning walks along the tracks. A book has been made of his tags, and copies of a zine he started started are still floating from person to person. The mother of poetry tells the story of her son defending his girlfriend's honor with a bushel of peaches. She tells how he went in search of a guru for his devotion to Hinduism and returned disillusioned by dogmatism. She tells how he screamed for change.
My poetry mother is retiring at the end of Spring semester. With the help of the Touchstones crew and past alumni, we're giving her back a piece of her legacy and the inspiration of her only son. We need more like her and more like him.
RIOT SERIES 2017