This poetry film featured at Cinequest Film Festival 2019 with Poets N Film event.
“Layaway” is based on an incident I had in my youth. I grew up with a single mom. Let me quickly explain that a single mom is different than a divorced mom. A single mom is a parent who raises her child or children without support from the father of her child or children. This was my mom. She occasionally got checks but they were written in my name and my brother’s name, so you could imagine how that took away from any agency she could have possibly had left in her.
Without going into details, my mother had a very harsh childhood and adult life. One thing she always was prized for was her looks. She was a good looking woman and as you know in our lifetime, women are constantly valued on superficial means, the good looking woman goes a long way until she no longer has her looks. My mother never skated on her looks. She was a skilled artist, incredible storyteller and memorized the periodic table with preciseness. However, much of her true talent and gifts were swallowed by home-life chaos and the fact that it was easier to focus on her outward presence then the deeper substance she contained.
This poem is about the time I was going on thirteen, entering junior high. My mom started having outbursts of rage, she was entering her mid-life crisis. We were poor and never really shopped for “school” clothes up until this year. She took me to Kmart. She had said, in female solidarity, that we would get matching clothes. So she got everything that I picked out in my size and then a duplicate in her size. As you can imagine I was so excited. She put these clothes on layaway, promising that I’ll have new clothes for first day of middle school. The day was close, she sat me down and told me that she had to return them all so that she could have the money to pay bills.
My mother was a beautifully broken woman. She had so often put herself on layaway.