Here I go again taking classes. This one is Part III of the series on modern women poets taught by Lorraine Mejia-Green through the Story Circle Network. We read poems by a variety of women and use their works and related assignments for inspiration. This week features Julia Alvarez and even though I have already read all her novels, etc. and a book of prose poetry, the selected poems are new to me. It seems I always take a different route from a lot of the others enrolled in the class. The following show cases draft two of my first assignment:
I keep coming to this part
where I’m happy
95 per cent of the time.
It’s my story
“Variety is the Spice of Life.”
Yes, but true.
Lovers-I lost count
Activist in “love” with
Che and other South American
Feminist for forty years
Up to maybe four careers.
Big city apartments
Old houses by the bay
Bricks with arched windows
A tree lined street.
Can I settle?
For what, with whom, where?
Variety is the Spice of Life.
Week two of the prose poetry class:
“It is a blessing to live out your destino.” Julia Alvarez
Long ago, in the hot summer, I could hear the corn grow at night with the windows open in northwest Missouri. Rolling hills of corn and soybeans still clad the dark brown earth left by glaciers thousands of years ago. So much time has gone without my returning to this land: colleges in different states, marriages, jobs in cities.
My father lived ninety years on this farm his Swiss grandfather homesteaded. He yearned for distant lands, to explore, to learn. He loved the West, endless space, rugged mountains, canyonlands, wildness. When it snowed too much for school, he loaded us in the car, turned wheelies, and headed for Kansas City. His yearning to be a doctor died when very young–the only child left at home, caring for a diabetic mother, recovering from a failed youthful marriage before he met Mom.
He gave me his love of questioning, traveling, reading, trying the untried, a pride in the land and work, and a sense of wonder. This night, after shoveling out from a dangerous blizzard, I sit in front of a fire, write on a Western canyon rim, look at his parade saddle and the photo of the farm for which he felt so much pride, and cry: my destino.
Sitting in the Children’s Museum,
trying to make time fly faster,
waiting on my daughter and grandson.
Still shocked and excessively annoyed:
This is New Mexico and
Laguna Pueblo is just down the road
more or less
and I can’t find a single Silko
book except Ceremony which
I already own and have
What’s the matter with people?
They don’t know a thing about
their own heritage except maybe
turquoise and Kachina dolls
probably made in China.
Then there’s me:
not a drop of Indian blood I know of,
Indian fry bread
The xeroscape garden between me and
the dinosaurs beckons.
If I leave this seat and
my grandson’s and daughter’s
stuff gets stolen…
I photograph myself in the distortion mirrors,
I read Yo, a book about family truth
if there is such a thing,
and think about how much
my sister hates me.