Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez #intersectionality #iNeedFeminismBecause #borders Natalie Scentres-Zapico

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 9.25.21 AMPhoto by Dominic Bracco II

Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez

1. The larger portion of this text discusses El Paso, Texas, the boring sister to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

2. There are apartments that feel like they are by the sea, but out the window there is only freeway.

3. The geraniums always wilt either from heat or pollution.

4. El Canelo is the red-headed Mexican boxer that only speaks Spanish.

5. Sometimes the candles are religious, sometimes they are not.

6. The girl from Juarez is beautiful. The girl from Juarez is God.

7. The tortilla border has shanties on one side and trailers on the other.

8. Some call them Fronchis because their license plates read: Fron-Chi for Frontera Chihuahua. Some just call them fresas.

9. Some summers, roaches cross the street and travel home to home like people.

10. Campestre, Anapra, Chavena, Anahuac, Flores Magon, and Independencia are only some of the neighborhoods in Ciudad Juarez.

11. Some streets are lined in wires because it’s so easy to steal electricity.

12. Moxas graffiti walls: mee aamooo!! noo aa laas coopiioonaas!!

13. Some days saliva evaporates from the tongue.

14. The river has become the only blue vein left pulsing on the map.

15. The river is only blue on the map.

An interview with Natalie Scentres-Zapico is done on Blue Mesa Review here!

.

a flier in my hand—

 

a seventeen-year-old girl I knew

her picture splotched with toner.

Her physical description reads

 

like an epitaph looking for its grave.

I let the paper fly again. I know

she is dead.

                                                                                               From “In a Dust Storm”

 

Photo caption: “Youth hang out in the Diaz Ordaz colonia, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Ciudad Juarez. The group hangs out out a lookout above the neighborhood to see if outside gangs are coming to attack or rob them, after they had recieved death threats and a series of violent exchanges between neighborhoods left them nervous.”

Black Poet, White Poet #BlackLivesMatter LaWanda Walters

#iNeedFeminismBecause # intersectionality #maleprivilege

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A white woman poet using a black poet’s invention… No actual reflection done by the poet, so the problem with *using* is still there. But that can be changed! Both poems are beautiful in different ways.

This is the striking original:

The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.
            We real cool. We
            Left school. We

.

            Lurk late. We
            Strike straight. We

.

            Sing sin. We
            Thin gin. We

.

            Jazz June. We
            Die soon.
 .
.

White poet: “What right did I have, though, to use a form invented by an African American poet to write my “Goodness in Mississippi,” a poem about anorexia nervosa, which has been called “a white girl’s disease”? What right did I have to use the “we real cool” to “we die soon” template to speak of my friend Barbie’s death, years after I knew her, of complications from the disease? But something about the form—perhaps how it acknowledges its debts—gave me the courage to write about a particular “we,” two friends from “school,” one of whom did “die soon.” It allowed me to finish a poem I’d worked on for twenty years.”

Goodness in Mississippi

After Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool,”
with thanks to Terrance Hayes

My friend said I wasn’t fat but she was, and we
would go on that way, back and forth. She was my first real

friend, the kind who changes everything. Her mother was so cool,
didn’t shave down there for the country club pool where we

sat beside her. I saw a gleam of her secret, silver hair and was left
dreaming of lime floating in a clear drink. I started saying hi at school

and people smiled back. Smile first, my friend said, and we
were a team. The cheerleaders who would always lurk

by the field, showing off their muscled legs—of late
I’d hardly noticed them. We talked about art, we

attended science camp in Gulfport. That’s where her mother got struck
by a car the next year. She must have thrown the new baby straight

as a football to save her. Their family was on vacation, and we
found out at Sunday School, waiting for the choir to sing.

She was so good she comforted me. People saying, “It’s just a sin,”
her mom like Snow White under glass, red lipstick, platinum hair we

knew was genetic. You’ll still look young, I said. I think you’re thin.
We’d skip lunch, drink Sego (“good for your ego”). Last year I drank gin

and called her ex. “She passed,” he drawled, like it was the weather. We
tried powdered donuts with the Sego, sweated to the Beatles and jazz.

Her whole life was beginning. We moved away from there one June,
Mississippi tight-mouthed as a lid on fig preserves. And we—

we white girls—knew nothing. The fire-bombed store, the owner who died
for paying his friends’ poll taxes. Anorexia would be famous soon.

(The Georgia Review, Winter 2013)

  1. Walters states the poem she uses. That is acknowledgment of using.
  2. Walters writes in Mississippi Haze about the background of her poem, civil rights era, but does not show the poem she used. Poem is erased, hidden. The poem she used is easy to find, but you have to want to be aware of appropriation to look for it. Most people won’t look. “Showing” is the poetess’s responsibility towards a black poet.
  3. Walters does not reflect on her *use*, only states there is a question whether it is right.
  4. You can use someone’s idea, sure, the poem came out great, but if it comes from someone oppressed, erased, someone part of a group kept under white people’s boots/books, she has to give back.
  5. How do you give back?
  6. Make room for black poets in the places you get published.
  7. Ask your publishers to print new black poets, as a personal favour to you, a white person, ask them to publish great poems, because it is not a given when you are a great black poet.

LaWanda Walters has work to do. And a white male poet needs to use his cred to support her in doing that.

It is more tiring to face racism every day, than to work your privilege in fighting racism.

LaWanda Walters discusses the psychology of civil-rights era Mississippi—drawing parallels between the injustices of segregation and a childhood friend’s illness from anorexia nervosa—and her use of a form of poetry called “the golden shovel” in her Winter 2013 poem “Goodness in Mississippi.”

http://garev.uga.edu/wordpress/index.php/2014/04/mississippi-daze/

Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1963 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.

 

Dear Black Barbie #BlackLivesMatter by Candace G. Wiley

#iNeedFeminismBecause #INTERSECTIONALITY #endpoverty #idlenomore #onelove #lgbt

This poem is a hard one to read and to acknowledge: power of white patriarchy and internalized racism, sexism, homophobia. White people need to make space in their privileged life and work and free time for people of colour. Every day. And if you think that is tiring… it is. Less tiring however than to be indigenous, black or of colour. At the moment being a muslim, especially being a woman with a headscarf is tiring, scary, sad. The least we can do is to stand up for those women and step in, step up and defend them if anyone, including unfortunately cops who were meant to protect us (?), attacks them or harasses them. Record, but don’t just record. Protect and support your neighbours.

And we have to ask for more. One black barbie isn’t enough just because she didn’t used to be there (isn’t true anyway, there have always been black dolls), our kids need more and different ones!

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DEAR BLACK BARBIE

Candace G. Wiley

I made you fuck my white Barbie
even though I knew you didn’t want to.
There were no whips or chains,
this was a different kind of plantation fantasy.
I didn’t have a Ken doll, so I made you the man.
Not knowing what fucking looked like
I just rubbed you against each other and made you kiss.

I kept you barefoot like you came
three worlds later or fifty years earlier,
but I had Nicki Minaj dreams for us:
bleached brown skin, long stringy yellow hair,
God-blue eyes, lips pink as a Cadillac. Only then
could you wear the best dress and the one pair of pumps.

My dear black Barbie, maybe you needed a grandma
to tell you things are better than they used to be.
There was a time when you didn’t exist at all.

 

http://prairieschooner.unl.edu/excerpt/dear-black-barbie

“Candace G. Wiley is a poet and fiction writer.

She has served as the creative writing director for a reproduction of the musical revue Jacques Brel: Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which was a benefit performance for Haiti, and

she has written dialogues and poetry for the prototype of Ghosts of South Carolina College, an iPhone app.

She recently returned to the United States from San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia, where she conducted research as a Fulbright Fellow for her poetry manuscript.”

https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/prairie_schooner/v088/88.1.wiley.html

 

 Buy from an Indie bookstore here 

“Is Spot in Heaven?” David Kirby

1410792_10201773201145672_1092475997_oBest American Poetry 2015 (Sherman Alexie ed) is very disappointing- 5 good poems. 4 women, 1 man. This one is fabulous.
The others: It Was The Animals by Natalie Diaz; Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez by Natalie Scentres-Zapico; Goodness in Mississippi by LaWanda Walters; Dear Black Barbie by Candace G. Wiley.

“Is Spot in Heaven?” David Kirby

In St. Petersburg, Sasha points and says, “they’re restorating
this zoo building because someone is giving the zoo an elephant
and the building is not enough big, so they are restorating it,”

So I say, “Wheres, um, the elephant?” and Sasha says,
“The elephant is waiting somewhere! How should I know!”
When I was six, my dog was Spot, a brindled terrier

with the heart of a lion, though mortal, in the end, like all
of us, and when he died, I said to Father Crifasi, “/is Spot in heaven?” and he laughed and asked me if I were really

that stupid, insinuating that he, holy father of the church,
had the inside track on heaven entry, knew where
the back stairs were, had mastered the secret handshake.

Later we saw a guy with a bear, and I said, “Look a bear!”
and Sasha said, “Ah, the poor bear! Yes, you can have your
picture with this one, if you like,” but by then I didn’t want to.

Who is in heaven? God, of course, Jesus and his mother,
and the more popular saints: Peter, Michael, the various
Johns, Jospehs, and Catherines. But what about the others?

If Barsanuphius, Frideswide, and Jutta of Kulmsee,
why not Spot or the elephant or the bear when it dies?
Even a pig or a mouse has a sense of itself, said Leonard

Wolff, who applied this idea to politics, saying no single
creature is important on a global scale, though a politics that recognizes individual selves is the only one that offers

a hope for a future. Pets are silly, but the only world
worth living in is one that doesn’t think so. As to the world
beyond this one, as Sam Cooke says, I’m tired of living

But afraid to die because I don’t know what’s coming next.
I do know Spot was always glad to see me, turning,
himself inside out with joy when I came home from school,

wears Father Crifasi took no delight at the sight of me
or anyone, the little pleasure that sometimes hovered
about his lips falling out of his face like the spark from

his cigarette when the door to the classroom opened
and we boys filed in as slowly as we could. Those
years are covered as by a mist now, the heads of my parents

and friends breaking through like statues in the square
in a foreign city as the sun comes over my shoulder
and the night creeps down cobblestoned streets toward

The future I can’t see, though across the river, it’s still dark,
but already you can hear the animals stirring:
the first birds, then an elephant, a bear, a little dog.

From The Cincinnati Review

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The steeplejack by Marianne Moore

#iNeedFeminismBecause #intersectionality #smalltown #endpoverty #environment #climatechange

Dürer would have seen a reason for living
   in a town like this, with eight stranded whales
 to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house
 on a fine day, from water etched
   with waves as formal as the scales
 on a fish.

 One by one in two's and three's, the seagulls keep
   flying back and forth over the town clock,
 or sailing around the lighthouse without moving their wings --
 rising steadily with a slight
   quiver of the body -- or flock
 mewing where

 a sea the purple of the peacock's neck is
   paled to greenish azure as Dürer changed
 the pine green of the Tyrol to peacock blue and guinea
 gray. You can see a twenty-five-
   pound lobster; and fish nets arranged
 to dry. The

 whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt
   marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the
 star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so
 much confusion. Disguised by what
   might seem the opposite, the sea-
 side flowers and

 trees are favored by the fog so that you have
   the tropics first hand: the trumpet-vine,
 fox-glove, giant snap-dragon, a salpiglossis that has
 spots and stripes; morning-glories, gourds,
   or moon-vines trained on fishing-twine
 at the back door;

 cat-tails, flags, blueberries and spiderwort,
   striped grass, lichens, sunflowers, asters, daisies --
 yellow and crab-claw ragged sailors with green bracts -- toad-plant,
 petunias, ferns; pink lilies, blue
   ones, tigers; poppies; black sweet-peas.
 The climate

 is not right for the banyan, frangipani, or
   jack-fruit trees; or for exotic serpent
 life. Ring lizard and snake-skin for the foot, if you see fit;
 but here they've cats, not cobras, to
   keep down the rats. The diffident
 little newt

 with white pin-dots on black horizontal spaced-
   out bands lives here; yet there is nothing that
 ambition can buy or take away. The college student
 named Ambrose sits on the hillside
   with his not-native books and hat
 and sees boats

 at sea progress white and rigid as if in
   a groove. Liking an elegance of which
 the sourch is not bravado, he knows by heart the antique
 sugar-bowl shaped summer-house of
   interlacing slats, and the pitch
 of the church

 spire, not true, from which a man in scarlet lets
   down a rope as a spider spins a thread;
 he might be part of a novel, but on the sidewalk a
 sign says C. J. Poole, Steeple Jack,
   in black and white; and one in red
 and white says

 Danger. The church portico has four fluted
   columns, each a single piece of stone, made
 modester by white-wash. This would be a fit haven for
 waifs, children, animals, prisoners,
   and presidents who have repaid
 sin-driven

 senators by not thinking about them. The
   place has a school-house, a post-office in a
 store, fish-houses, hen-houses, a three-masted schooner on
 the stocks. The hero, the student,
   the steeple-jack, each in his way,
 is at home.

 It could not be dangerous to be living
   in a town like this, of simple people,
 who have a steeple-jack placing danger signs by the church
 while he is gilding the solid-
   pointed star, which on a steeple
 stands for hope.

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

H.D.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/h-d#poet

Amazing person this. Read about her life in the link.

from Sigil

XI

If you take the moon in your hands
and turn it round
(heavy, slightly tarnished platter)
you’re there;

if you pull dry seaweed from the sand
and turn it round
and wonder at the underside’s bright amber,
your eyes

look out as they did here,
(you don’t remember)
when my soul turned round,

perceiving the other-side of everything,
mullein-leaf, dog-wood leaf, moth-wing
and dandelion-seed under the ground.

from Winter Love

5

So we were together
though I did not think of you
for ten years

it is more than ten years
and the long time after;
I was with you in Calypso’s cave?

there is something left over,
the first unsatisfied desire-
the first time, the first kiss,

the rough stones of a wall,
the fragrance of honey-flowers, the bees,
and how I would have fallen but for a voice,

calling through the brambles
and tangle of bay-berry
and rough broom,

Helen, Helen, come home;
there was a Helen before there was a War,
but who remembers her?

.

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

Ursula Bethell New Zealand poet #lesbian

#iNeedFeminismBecause #intersectionality #lgbt #idlenomore

Ursula Bethell from New Zealand is called a garden poet. Think of a garden that stretches out for miles like the French Kings’ or wild with a backdrop of mountains and a garden small sleepy that holds all the quiet:

dark old pond
:
a frog plunks in

(Basho, haiku)

Dr. Alison Laurie, the Gender and Women’s Studies Programme Director at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, wrote a fascinating piece on Ursula Bethell’s life. The poetess had a common law wife: Henrietta Dorothea ‘Effie’ Pollen. They were private in public, and open in their circle of friends and together for over 30 years until Effie’s sudden death.

Time

‘Established’ is a good word, much used in garden books,
‘The plant, when established’…
Oh, become established quickly, quickly, garden
For I am fugitive, I am very fugitive –

Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wistaria
Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.

Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say ‘One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once.’

From a Garden in the Antipodes (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1929)

Response

When you wrote your letter it was April,
And you were glad that it was spring weather,
And that the sun shone out in turn with showers of rain.

I write in waning May and it is autumn,
And I am glad that my chrysanthemums
Are tied up fast to strong posts,
So that the south winds cannot beat them down.
I am glad that they are tawny coloured,
And fiery in the low west evening light.
And I am glad that one bush warbler
Still sings in the honey-scented wattle…

But oh, we have remembering hearts,
And we say ‘How green it was in such and such an April,’
And ‘Such and such an autumn was very golden,’
And ‘Everything is for a very short time.’

.
Mary Ursula Bethell

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.


Established in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore. In 2012, a group of 23 community members pooled their funds and bought Glad Day Bookshop to save it from closing.

“Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenues streams like food and drink – which means a larger space.
We’ve picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night.
It is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible washroom.

It has a cute patio, a small space for performances and walls for art.

We will be a space where everyone feels welcome, sexy and celebrated.

We will be a queer-owned, indie place on Church Street. We will amplify the love, creativity, sexuality, diversity & liberation that Glad Day Bookshop is known for.”

THE SPOOL: A PRISONER’S LAMENT Bertoff

#prison #blacklivesmatter # iNeedFeminismBecause #INTERSECTIONALITY #sexwork is decent

Federic W. Bertoff

THE SPOOL: A PRISONER’S LAMENT

There are many ways
to mark time
though most claim they don’t
preferring the myth
of living each day just for itself

And never counting
but I count
and measure the time in ticking seconds
in empty instant coffee jars
in socks with slowly widening holes
in calendar girls

Counting out lovely monthly mermaids
Miss Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween
I’m staring out the window again
or measuring lengths of dental floss
one spool (a hundred yards)
goes about a year or less

While each night hurtling through the galaxy
I floss that grinning death mask,
pink gums sanguine in his dim reflection
and supposing I ought to re-use that floss
at four cents an hour (the going wage)
I consider cost

But, with dramatic dispatch, throw it all away
one Last Grand Gesture
in hopes of burning up that spool
just a little quicker
with fifteen more to go

—from Rattle #10, Winter 1998
Tribute to Poets in Prison