Not Born Cyd

None of us are
who we become until
we arrive, Tula,
the sum of our grasp
exceeding only the parts
of our reach. I myself
was born a child and
have transmogrified
into an adult, losing
something along the way.

Granted our legs
are true, whether we
dance or hobble is up
to us, the cocoon
we wrap ourselves
in indifferent
to the changes going
on within, the lofty sky
oblivious to what
emerges from darkness.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Not Born Cyd”?

This is another poem sparked by something I read in the newspaper, in this case the face that Cyd Charisse, the beautiful, long-legged Broadway and Hollwood dancer (popular in the ’50s and ’60s) had been born with a somewhat ungainly name: Tula Finklea.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Not Born Cyd”?

Again, a “direct reference” poem, with the speaker talking to Cyd (Tula). As in the poem about Charles Bronson and the one for my sister, the poem addresses the issue of evolving identity: “None of us are / who we become until / we arrive.” That’s a recurring theme in my poetry.

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