The Sunday Poem: Merimee Moffitt . . . Humboldt County Fog

Daddy fled to seek his fortune
farther north, farther into wet green and grey
Depression not a word yet, except for The Great
and mine wasn’t
a girl’s drug: the barrel chair, an apple
and a book. My cozy time
Daddy’s bookshelves our only toys. Nothing else
followed us up the coast, Grandmas came eventually
babies clung to mom, diapers to pin, bottles,
clothes to spin and dry
Depression offset with books, the apples, the chair
the cookie drawer, cigarette drawer. We could
smoke in public at 14, mama said, keep the weight down
select our brand.
Depression never mentioned—too selfish, childish
chores to be done charwomen, we scrubbed
doomed for having hips and thighs
doomed by my size Daddy proclaimed
your weight ok
but don’t gain an ounce, no more for you, he said,
Done is what you are, at eleven. 128 declared your final state
so anorexia friended me, naturally, the only way to be thin
don’t eat at all, pretend, swirl cereal in one teaspoon
set it in the sink, let mama think you ate
everything’s ok and you’re not fat
food as a drug from the get go, food as a drug
the apple, the chair, the cookies, the book
heaven in a Humboldt County fog as Daddy learned
to buy and sell, to head north for the trees; in the fifties
it was natural, women stayed home ironing, cleaning
and Daddys sought the fortunes
the trees of Oregon fed our disease of more, better, best
houses in the West shipped by train and boat, trucked to the mills
oh the logs on those trucks in the hills, Daddy’s drug was getting rich
mine would be saying no, determined to love the curvy
delicious me. Driving from the Coast, Vietnam driving us, a car of
desperado vets with drugs, driving into desert
Oh New Mexico, your dusty floors and dirt roofs drifting down,
adobe walls
and hollyhocks, and sun, sunshine, blessed sun

Merimee Moffitt

Merimee "arrived in El Rito, NM, in a shiny green Chrysler in 1970 with a carload of vets and their pot dealer. She brought her dog, her frying pan, cutting board, a few trinkets, books, and clothes. She fell in love with everything northern New Mexico, staying to raise her family and teach for 25 years in all levels of education; she also writes poems and stories."  

This bio is from the newly released Mo'Joe,The Anthology from Beatlick Press which is perfect for browsing through the 120 contributors and 243 pages, both short and longer poems . . . congratulations John Roche (editor)  and Jules Nyquist and Beatlick Press.

Send submissions (preferably with a short bio and photo) to Thanks! Larry Goodell

Views: 119

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on June 22, 2014 at 9:03am

Thank you for posting this, Larry.  and for finding a bio and pic.  I am thilled to belabor the plight of women "back then." Well, some of us.  Craziness un-named as we raped the forests for profit.  In the fifties, the forests seemed endlessly abundant, un-limited.  When my dad figured it out, he sold his business and moved back to his beloved Southern California to pick up where he'd left of with his scholarly pursuits.  Nonetheless, he and his business partners surely did supply much of the timber that built Orange County.  Not a scoundrel, he had seven mouths to feed!  jus sayin

Comment by Dee Cohen on June 22, 2014 at 10:30am

Love the doubling back in this poem- to depression, to the salvation of books, to parents, to the way we were and who we became. Reminds me of Yeats spiral staircase: 'as we grow older we cover the ground covered we have covered before, only higher up".

Comment by Izquierdo on June 23, 2014 at 10:15pm

Dusty floors,  tin roofs and adobe walls for me. I never tire of them and I'm glad folks from afar enjoy them, too.  Well done and fun to read, Merimee. 


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