Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First and Second Selections, April 2012

A Paso de Anacardo

Amo los sábados de tarde silenciosa
Los de crepúsculo azul y luceros solitarios
Aquellos en que el silencio me permite observarlos
Los que me abren un espacio de quietud para el asombro.

Amo los sábados de infinitas horas
Donde mi habitual paso de río acaudalado
Se transforma en el paso de una hoja verde de anacardo
Y me vuelvo paloma
Y luna
Y fruto aún reposando en una rama
Y me vuelvo de pronto
La escurridiza mirada
Que me mira mirando.

--Lilyan de la Vega

Cashew Step

I love quiet Saturday afternoons

The blue twilight and lonely stars
 Allow me to observe silence

 Open space for quiet amazement.

I love Saturday’s endless hours
Where my usual rich river rhythm

Becomes a green cashew leaf rhythm

And I become a dove

And moon

And fruit still resting on a branch

And suddenly I become

The elusive look

That looks at me looking.

--tr. Lilyan de la Vega and Deanna Hopper

digging the garden    
I meet the worms that will turn
me into earth

--Patrick Mizelle

3rd Selection, April 2012

A Year Ago Today

Once I was 10, and knew my fickle heart would change.
Not wanting to grow up, wanting to always love my Daddy best.

Four girls in five years, almost litter-mates.
Mary was the anchor, protector, Daddy’s favorite,
her burden too heavy, bossy after Mama left.
I was in the sweet spot, one of the Big Girls,
yet sliding easily into each new freedom
(suspect, though, as distant Mama’s favorite).

Then there were the Little Girls:
Harriet the awkward one, knock-kneed, allergic,
Daddy’s favorite, needed ear surgery.
In the hospital, she got a wind-up music egg.

Lilly was the baby in a pixie haircut
(because Grandmother loved to cut kids’ hair,
even our boy cousins; their parents furious),
Lilly the cute one, never an awkward phase,
Daddy’s favorite, everybody’s favorite.

“Who do you love best?” we’d pester him.
“Whoever’s nearest to me at the moment,” he’d say,
a brilliant way to keep us always close.

Our young stepmother arrived, unprepared
for this houseful of raucous girls.

When Lilly turned 13, Dad went about with a tragic air,
“I have four teenaged girls living at home!”
“You’re lucky to have us, Daddy,” we said.

They thought we were blank slates then, to be molded
into devoted, upright Little Women.
“Four daughters, and only one conservative!” he said,
“Where did I go wrong??”

Grandmother let us know
that Daddy’s welfare was our main job.
Couldn’t keep doing that.
Sorry, Grandmother.

Daddy wanted all our devotion for himself,
but it got claustrophobic, and we did grow up.

Mary married an unsuitable man, had a suitable daughter,
found love with a woman, and the religion of magick.
Still bossy; particular now about being “Mary Michele.”

I ran away to Mama, joined the liberals,
did not kill myself, went to college instead.  
Found a new tribe, made my friends,
fell in love with a young man, after much drama,
surprising Daddy with a church wedding,
even if it was Unitarian.

Harriet always stubborn, kept herself free,
travelled the world, taught in Christian schools.

“Your sisters will leave, but you have to stay
and take care of your father.”
Lilli made Grandmother proud; she stayed,
married an unsuitable man, had two
quite suitable sons. Legal secretary, single mom,
the church began to call. 40 years old, went to the
other side of the country to learn the priesthood.
Finally remarried, a grandmother now.

Harriet came back from Texas
to care for Dad and our stepmom
after their surgeries – back surgeries in the City –
his dialysis – he wanted so to fish again

that it was a shock, middle of the night,
when Lillian texted, and I phoned,
something happening at home.
Another call. An ambulance.

“He’s gone,” she said.

Daddy’s gone? Where could he go?
We’re a unit, inseparable.
Aren’t we?

Forgiving myself how little I grieve
for the man I loved first, and almost best.
If he can’t fish, can’t I wish
he could go first, while still unafraid?  
--Ellen Skagerberg

4th & 5th Selctions, April2012

Mega Millions Mania
That’s a lot of M&M’s 4

After the rains
After the after parties
After the tears
After the rains
I walk somewhere over rainbows
To discover
I am still pretty much who I was
I walk to the 711 where the scent of money
leaves a trail of desperate men
bridging 911 walls
finally brothers in their loss
discussing earnestly what had occurred
or didn’t
I look deep in all their eyes
trying to ascertain the truth
(are they hiding paper wealth?)
but the truth is simply
that they too
are pretty much the same as before
the blessed event
Walking home I shoot
a reflection in a puddle
of run off waters in a canal
and trees and clear skies
and a self portrait
in the reflection of window that reads:
“Transformations” with an iChing symbol
My reflection is so ghostly
I almost disappear in the glass
and I’m thinking
that the women in this beauty salon
maybe have the right idea
That, or antiquated notions
Me, too, me too
On the way home
I sense someone stalking me
It is one of those desperate old men from the 711
going home to his wife
St. Patrick says:
“So it goes”
and so it does
One question though:
How come
with so many local strip malls
there is no one stripping?

--Richard Velez

In my dreams,
rushing elephants strapped with AKs
bum rush me away from
            gourmet grazing grounds
where I’m munching and crunching on
coconut cream cookies, cucumbers and you
Love is in jeopardy
Then, unexpectedly,
Wu-Tang comes
rapping, hip hopping,
singing and swinging
all mach 10 to the rescue and shit
while somewhere in Dreamland
in my dreams
somewhere over the rainbow
in my dreams
Rambo Sambo dances the mambo
In my dreams, you ask
why do we in the ghetto
wear chains of Cuban gold?
Some say it’s a status update
re: our current state of enslavement
but others remind us that in other times
gold chains symbolized ladders to Heaven

               --Richard Velez