“To Do” : from BLOOD ORANGE: POEMS, by Angela Narciso Torres

from Blood Orange: Poems, by Angela Narciso Torres (Willow Books: Detroit, Michigan, 2013)

To Do

Call repairman about refrigerator gasket,
find model number first. Buy chicken-flavored
toothpaste for Lilli. Consult vet about lump
in her eyelid. Ask Jade if she can pick up Timmy from band.
Yoga class. Write Ian at camp. Search the basement
for Bishop’s Collected Prose, re-read the piece about
her mother’s getting fitted for a purple dress in Nova Scotia.
Buy folder with metal prongs for Matt’s book report. Schedule
the boys’ dental check-ups, mammogram for me.
Write Irene about the boy with the faux-hawk and good
shoes on the train from Chicago, reading a Bible
from a zippered case. Tell about the elderly couple
and their two-year grandson, how the grandfather clutched
the boy when the train lurched, then picked him up
as though lifting a brittle Chinese urn from the mantle.
When the boy wriggled into his grandmother’s lap, how she,
so unconcerned and vast, kept her eyes on her paperback,
held open with one hand, her other arm around the boy
who draped his body over her chest, his cheek on her padded
shoulder so he could look out the window. The grandfather
watched the boy with utter concentration, no — amazement —
at the small face, smooth as cream and lit from within,
watched him with the kind of awe for the young that only intensifies
as one grows older.

It is truly amazing for self to read Angela and realize how she juggles all the competing roles in her life — mother, wife, poet, poetry editor, friend — so expertly and with such aplomb.

From women everywhere, Angela, major kudos.

Poet, Looking Fabulous: Angela Narciso Torres on the Streets of Chicago, October 2014

Poet, Looking Fabulous: Angela Narciso Torres on the Streets of Chicago, October 2014

Stay tuned.

SILAS MARNER Sentences of the Day

There is something so entrancing about the narrative voice George Eliot uses in Silas Marner.  First of all, it tells a lot (And self has been hearing forever that it’s better for a writer to show rather than tell. Well, this just goes to show that rules are meant to be broken, especially in creative writing!).

Exhibit A:

p. 30 (the Everyman’s Library edition): Godfrey and his brother Dunsey are quarreling.

That big muscular frame of his held plenty of animal courage, but helped him to no decision when the dangers to be braved were such as could neither be knocked down nor throttled. His natural irresolution and moral cowardice were exaggerated by a position in which dreaded consequences seemed to press equally on all sides, and his irritation had no sooner provoked him to defy Dunsey and anticipate all further betrayals, than the miseries he must bring on himself by such a step seemed more enendurable to him than the present evil.

Self wonders: If the manuscript of Silas Marner were submitted to a publisher today, would it even merit a second glance? Or would it be rejected?

Self thinks rejected. In which case, wouldn’t it be a far more productive use of her time to concentrate on a contemporary whose work IS regularly accepted for  publication?

Oh, boo.

Nevertheless, only 170 more pages to go!  Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Another Favorite Poet: C. P. Cavafy

A long time ago, self taught part-time at a small Catholic college not far from her home.  When a much-beloved teacher — Ardavan Davaran — passed away, his colleagues in the English Department did something amazing: they opened up the professor’s personal book collection to students and teachers and friends and relatives who wished to have something of his. There was no limit to the number of books one could take.

In perusing the bookshelves of her late colleague, self discovered a number of books on feminism (Who knew?) and a number on the poet C. P. Cavafy.

Self remembers picking up a couple of books by and about C. P. Cavafy, who she had never read before. But now she’s become an ardent fan.

Here’s one of C. P. Cavafy’s poems:

Amilianos Monai, Alexandrian, A.D. 628 – 655

Out of talk, appearance and manners
I will make an excellent suit of armor;
and in this way I will face malicious people
without feeling the slightest fear or weakness.

They will try to injure me. But of those
who come near me none will know
where to find my wounds, my vulnerable places,
under the deceptions that will cover me.

So boasted Amilianos Monai
One wonders if he ever made that suit of armor.
In any case, he did not wear it long.
At the age of twenty-seven, he died in Sicily.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Another by Mary Ruefle from Her SELECTED POEMS

It is Wednesday. And Wednesday morning poems are the best. More from self’s newest poet discovery, Mary Ruefle:


You’ve wasted another evening
sitting with imaginary friends,
discussing the simplest possible
arrangement of an iris.
The sky, too, like a delicate dress
streaked with bleach, has been thrown away.
Once you wanted to be someone else
or another thing altogether: an iris in April,
or only its pistil, just that, a prayer so small
it was only rumored. What can it matter?
You know now your own life doesn’t belong to you,
the way a child defects into his childhood
to discover it isn’t his after all.
Still, on this and other evenings,
only another replica of thoughts
has been lost:
your life has its own: intact, far distant,
and unknowingly you have devoted your lives
to each other.

at Izura, toward dawn,
someone walks down toward the sea
astonished you have taken so long.

From the author’s bio on the back cover of Mary Ruefle: Selected Poems

Mary Ruefle has published ten books of poetry, including Cold Pluto and Tristimania. In addition, she’s published The Most of It, a book of prose, and Go Home and Go to Bed!, a comic book.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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