The Personhood Project Episode 4: Jane Wong
Updated: May 3
In this episode, the wonderful poet and essayist Jane Wong joins host Aaron Tyler Hand in a discussion about honoring family, remembering home, and finding creativity in the day-to-day actions of our lives. This is our first episode to go over an hour, so we help you all enjoy!
Poetry helps me process love. As much as it's about hard times, poetry should also be about the joyful times, the times in which we want to sing.
After the Tone
Morning breeze in the air
mother awakes and slips on her robe and house shoes.
After a refreshing shower, the kitchen is filled
with fresh cooked bacon and eggs.
The phone rings moments after the meals are finished
Gossip fills the phone speaker, emotions shift, & facial expressions
After the conversation is done, phone calls are made.
Conversations of gossip addressed
Grandma appears from her room, the table is still filled
from the meals before
More gossip fills the kitchen
Open ears emerge from the corners
Eyes gleaming with shock and confusion
Conversations end with eerie silence
Everyone goes to their rooms, phone dials heard
Whispers and mild arguments are spoken
Grunts and growls are heard
Phone dials are heard on speaker phone
With each phone all is heard is
Please leave a message after the tone
As I see my son play outside & riding his bicycle, enjoying his life
I think of the trouble he’s been causing at school
So many things he could be doing & trouble is what he chooses
I raise him making sure he goes to church, yet he’s always in trouble At home mom, I struggle to raise them all proper
Let God bless him on his path
My insights would be to become the person I was Supposed to be. Family & God guiding me. Structure
In everything. Prosperity, healthy, hardworking & all.
Summer Nights and Shorts
Darkness was seen with a glimpse of light.
The warm hands were felt grabbing me
As air filled my lungs & light gleamed thru my eyes.
A sign of relief filled the room, smiles at all angles.
Nurses and doctors all around making sure I was properly tooken care of.
My father nowhere in sight, just my mother and grandma
Eager to cradle me in their arms.
My mother thanking God for my birth. Grandma
Speaking on how fluorescent of a child I was.
They didn’t think I would be so white, so big, and so husky.
The summer time weather dwelling outside, shorts were worn,
White Anthony Guerrero was waiting to come out to the world
My first day out of the womb
A spank on the butt, came crying and kicking
Nurses all around me, beautiful faces I see
Doctors spoke a word, your son will be a king
He will conquer hearts & live a great life
He will be a charmer & lover as well
Mother speaks, my beautiful son, I want
The best for you. Open your eyes & live.
Loyalty of Dogs
A canine sits, patiently sits, outside his owner's door waiting to be walked. Dogs have always interested me due to their loyalty & awareness of the owner. They will always stick by their side no matter what. Protective & playful. I’ve always been interested in dogs. Since I was little and one day my family adopted a black labrador retriever, named Akira. Black & beautiful. She was a very playful & energetic dog. Always waiting outside my door to come and play with me. Everytime I would walk her, she wouldn’t let anyone near me. Especially men. Trust issues. When I went to jail, she slept outside my door, waiting for me to come home. While I was in jail, she died of a rare disease. I will never forget a dog that never forgot about me.
I PUT ON MY FUR COAT is what is called a persona poem. A persona poem is when the poet writes from the point-of-view of someone else. In this case, Wong is writing from the point-of-view from her mother. In doing so, she is able to speculate what it would have been like for a single mother raising two kids. Write a persona poem from the point-of-view of your mother when she was raising you. What would she have been thinking and doing at that time? What insights can it give you on the person you grew up to be?
Jane Wong uses FIRST HOUR to recreate what it was like in her first hour of life. She uses this time to reflect back on the family history that made her who she is, giving equal time to the positives and negatives that came with her family history. Playing off of this idea, write a poem about your first hour of life. Who would be around you? What would they be saying to you? What stories or myths were being created around your birth?