Poetry Saturday: Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 – 1988)

We real cool. We
left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Die Soon
.

Poetry Saturday: Carlos Bernardo Gonzalez Pecotche

from Bases for Your Conduct, a compilation of teachings the author passed on to his son, Carlos Federico Gonzalez, and published posthumously by the author’s widow. This is from the 3rd edition, published 2012.

Poetry Friday: Melanie Almeder

Self likes to quote this poem every now and then. She used to think Almeder was Irish (because she first encountered this poem at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig), but she isn’t. She’s American.

MOCK ORANGE, An Excerpt

Everything on the tongue goes stunned bird.
Long past the hissy-fit thralls of April,
rashes of phlox, purple-thistle snowing a little.
And then, like too much love,
there was altogether too much gardenia
in the huddled yards. The heat in a flick of wind
picked itself up and dragged off,
old dog, into the damp cane fields, bee drone,
sighing, sighing of highway, hawks’ cries.

Life in Colour Photo Challenge

Yippee, another photo challenge! This one’s by Travel Words, and it’s called Life in Colour.

Each month will have a new colour. This month’s is GREEN.

Prompt: Where can you find HIDDEN SHADES OF GREEN?

Here are a couple of self’s pictures of hidden shades of green:

  • Self’s avatar is a turtle, because she does everything so slooooowly. Naturally, she collects turtle objects. Here’s one with a little green on its back:
  • Here is one of her bookshelves, with one green book and one green magazine spine:
  • And, for the final picture, a walkway in the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, CA. Of course, gardens are all greenery. But the trellises, look! Don’t you love the deep green? This was from a visit in November:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Saturday: John O’ Donohue

Fluent

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

— from Conamara Blues, which Dear Departed Father Richard Haslam gave to me on my first visit to Ireland, 2014

Poetry Wednesday: Csilla Toldy

Because it is Saint Patrick’s Day, the poet is from NI: Csilla Toldy came over from Hungary, when there was still a Wall. We met in 2014, at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. The picture is of the lake.

Csilla was kind enough to allow me to post the whole poem. It’s from her collection Red Roots – Orange Sky (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2013)

Love in Paris

Arriving late at the wrong address
a stranger in the street,
Ali, offered her a bed. He lovingly
treated her wounded knee —
that she had fallen on
when searching the sky for the guiding star
at the green borders to Italy.

Her nerves frazzled
by the long march through the Alps
on pills of caffeine and amphetamine,
taken by the echoes of her throbbing heart
when face-searched
and feeling so lucky for not looking like any
one of the Red Brigade.

So grateful for a clean sheet
after a week in ditches with crows and crickets,
yet fearing horror dreams of her misconceptions
she fell into a black hole
to be woken up by sunlight
glinting on a tray of golden croissants
brought up by Ali.

Recently, Csilla has been focusing on films.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Re-Reading, Re-Discovering Angela Narciso Torres

Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books); and winner of the 2019 Yeats Poetry Prize. Her recent work appears in Poetry, Missouri Review, and PANK.

Angela and two other Four Way Books poets, Andrea Cohen and Rodney Terich, are reading tonight online at an event hosted by Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY. Reading starts at 7 p.m. EST (that’s 4 p.m. PST) You can find out more from the Canio’s Books Calendar of Events.

SUNDOWNING (An excerpt)

for my mother, Carmen

The sweetest meat clings to the bone,
my mother says, knifing her steak.
Carmen. Silver spade on my tongue.

Mahjong nights, her father and mother gone,
she cried herself to sleep. Blamed in the morning
for her mother’s losing hand. Unlucky tears!

The sweetest meat — she begins
at dinner, tearing off a chicken leg.
What will she recall by morning?

Named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
she pinned brown scapulars under our shirts,
wet stamps that cleaved to our skin.

— from To The Bone, by Angela Narciso Torres (Sundress Publications, 2019)

Poetry Friday: Kimiko Hahn

To Be a Daughter
And To Have a Daughter

(An Excerpt)

can forecast at-odds relationships
especially when the mother hazards to write
while keeping the baby safe
from herself as she and the baby wail,
one in the crib, the other on the floor, to wail
with the vacuum cleaner so the daughter
can’t hear mama-drowning, so the new relationship
isn’t all arithmetic and geometry, all right
angles barely connecting. What is left
at dusk, still tender and safe,

— from The New Yorker, 23 March 2020
  • Kimiko Hahn teaches at Queens College, City University of New York. Her latest poetry collection is Foreign Bodies.

High Body Count: Eddie’s Boy, p. 29

Self loves this book! From the opening scene — the hero’s having a meltdown in a Bentley because he had to kill, it enraged him, can’t people just behave so he doesn’t have to kill them? — she’s been having a fine time!

There are four corpses (already) in that Bentley, and that’s just in the first paragraph!

Plus self loved learning about the excellence of the double-barreled Purdey & Sons rifle (100,000 GBP each, thank you very much!)

Anyhoo, the first four would-be assassins attempted a break-in at the hero’s re-modeled 1650s Yorkshire mansion (technically, the property of his wife, she’s a member of the English nobility). Our hero drives the Bentley to the Manchester airport, where he leaves it (and the four bodies) in the parking lot and waits for a shuttle to the terminal. Unfortunately, a new set of goons try to kill him before he can get on the shuttle. Since it is only p. 29, we can assume the hero survives, which means these assassins must be off-ed, as well.

A few pages later, our hero faces an existential crisis: how can he get rid of the blood spatter on his clothes before entering the plane (to Sydney)?

Digressing a bit: Self has a book to pick up from the library this afternoon. Then, FaceTime with Dearest Mum in Manila. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (4 p.m. London time), she’s registered for a talk by the woman who writes obituaries for The Economist (such elegant examples of the form, she’s even taught them in creative nonfiction classes). There’s another zoom event tomorrow afternoon, fortunately it’s Central time, not such a big time difference as Manila or London: poets Denise Duhamel and Nin Andrews, hosted by Rain Taxi, and free!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Thursday: Luisa A. Igloria

from Luisa A. Igloria’s collection Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2020)

Mother: Three Pictures (An Excerpt)

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a
roomful of other couples. She has a beauty mole penciled on her
cheek, slightly to the right of her lip. Her eyebrows are two perfect
arches, her hair a dark beehive. I think there are dots on her dress.
Where is this photograph? I would very much like to have it.

The above, Dearest Mum, when she was a young Filipina pianist in New York City, 1950s.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a

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