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Today, an original poem which I wrote in 2009 in response to a challenge issued by Liz Garton Scanlon. The challenge was not simply to write any villanelle, but to use the words thanksgiving and friends in the first and third lines. I wrote mine during the ramp-up to Thanksgiving, and I couldn't help overhearing various and sundry people (some strangers, some friends) kvetch about how much they didn't want to go to their in-laws again, or how they hated a particular relative who always ____________(fill in the blank – examples include: drinks too much, starts a fight, shows up late, doesn't help cook and/or clean-up, tries to help cook and/or clean-up but gets in the way, and more).

This is what I came up with, and for some reason, it came out in the voice of a 13-year old boy. At least, that's how I hear it in my head.

A Family Thanksgiving
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

Thanksgiving is "the day that never ends":
At least that's what my parents always say.
I wish that I could spend the day with friends.

My mom, freaked-out cook that she is, expends
Her energy by panicking all day.
Thanksgiving is a day that never ends.

My stupid cousin's here. He always bends
My arm behind my back; he claims it's "play".
I wish that I could spend my day with friends.

My dad fights with his father, which offends
My grandmother, who hollers in dismay.
Thanksgiving is a day that never ends.

There's so much food, the table nearly bends.
My brother elbows me out of his way.
I wish that I could spend my day with friends.

Before dessert, the pumpkin pie upends,
My favorite part of this dumb holiday.
Thanksgiving is a day that never ends
I wish that I could spend my day with friends.


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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
jamarattigan
Nov. 15th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
Nicely done -- the voice rings true and we're all nodding our heads because they sound like our relatives too. Every family has a pesky cousin and people raising their voices on what should be a happy holiday. Too much confined, close contact :).
kellyrfineman
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
Familiarity breeds contempt, I suppose. Although I'll be spending the day with Morris at his cousins' house in North Jersey, and it will be splendid, because it ALWAYS is there!
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
I am sure I will! Morris and I are going to his cousins' house, and it's always wonderful there!
boreal_owl
Nov. 16th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC)
I remember this one. It's one of my favourites of yours.
kellyrfineman
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
Why THANK YOU!!
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
Darling Melodye, I'm sorry it's not a favorite holiday. Holidays can certainly bring out the worst in some people, though. Thanks for the kind words!
jeannineatkins
Nov. 16th, 2013 03:53 pm (UTC)
This poem made me smile, and that chorus. "I do wish..." is one I've heard in my head. I have gotten smart over the years and friends are invited to Thanksgiving. Makes family even better.
kellyrfineman
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
I agree that inviting friends is good. This year, as for the past two, it will be extended family of Morris's, up in northern NJ. And it will seem almost eerily functional, because everyone is wonderful and warm and enjoys one another's company. (Can you tell I love his extended family?)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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