Hanlan’s Point, Souster #poem #Canada #children

I saw the same doors to underwater cities and secret woods and children hidden in a realm behind a rosebush and a cloaked parallel world entered through one door in one building on mid summer’s day right before noon. A lot of them were our own retellings of stories we read. Bless libraries and hurrah for writers of fairytales and fantasies. The joy they brought.
I wish I had my Dutch children’s books here in Canada. My twenty packed boxes of books are still back there. Dutch poetry, literature, YA novels…And coffee table books of penguins and aerial photography.

“Lagoons, Hanlan’s Point”

By Raymond Souster

[…]

And in one strange

dark, tree-hung entrance,

I followed the sound

of my heart all the way

to the reed-blocked ending,

with the pads of the lily

thick as green-shining film

covering the water.

And in another

where the sun came

to probe the depths

through a shaft of branches,

I saw the skeletons

of brown ships rotting

far below in their burial-ground,

and wondered what strange fish

with what strange colours

swam through these palaces

under the water…..

—-
(1)
Mornings

before the sun’s liquid

spilled gradually, flooding

the island’s cool cellar,

there was the boat

and the still lagoons,

with the sound of my oars

the only intrusion

over cries of birds

in the marshy shallows,

or the loud thrashing

of the startled crane

rushing the air.

(4)
A small boy

with a flat-bottomed punt

and an old pair of oars

moving with wonder

through the antechamber

of a walking world.

From: Oxford Book of Canadian Verse by Margaret Atwood. I found this a very dry and monotonous selection.

#MuslimsReportStuff #haiku #poem @kumailn @aishacs @Amelia_Inc

#mulimsreportstuff is a brilliant line first used by … (a girl I think, still looking for that tweet) and shows the ridiculousness of seeing muslims in the US (and everywhere else) only as a security issue with two sides: a danger or a reporter of danger. Muslims are poets too and it shows.

Poetry and haiku are already inside what we say. So read more! I have taken a bit of Liberty with the tweets:)

Haikus #MuslimsReportStuff

My brother leaves his wet
towel on the floor every day
FBI pls deal!

@River_Niles

Gremlins 2 is the
rare sequel that completely
deconstructs franchise

@kumailn, Kumali Nanjiani

My sister drank orange
juice straight from the carton, will
Investigate more.

@MrCommonCents, basith

The lines at Costco
are too damn long but samples
are so delicious

@aishacs, Aisha Saeed

My mother uses
store-bought filo pastry
for her samoosas

@ysnkdr, Yaseen Kader

‘though I told everyone
I cleared my car, I actually
put it all in the trunk.

@Chezmoihoney, Jenna

I did laundry this
morning but still have not put
it away, still not

@sananasuds, Sanna M

I want to report
that these Clarks shoes are on sale
Amazing this!

@I_Solemnly5wear

Taping interview
with NPR I REPORT stuff.
All day. Every day.

@asmamk, Asma Khalid

Accidentally ate
pancetta didn’t know it was
bacon, delicious!

@kradiologist, Nuha Krad

“Falafel” means kill
the infidels, kept that a
secret all this time!

@LibyaLiberty, Hend Amry

Shawarma’s delish!
Official Post-victory meal
of the Avengers

@kaleemux, Kaleem

PJ is better
than P-honey, Both pale by
Nutella full stop.

@DrEpid, Atif Kukaswadia

I have my voter
registration card here, I’m
not afraid to use it!

@gildedspine, Sailor Mer(Kaye)ry

How about all the
Muslims who report for service in
our armed forces?

@Amelia_Inc, Amelia Noor-Oshiro

Half-Moon Bay is lovely
Some fogs but the temperatures
are moderate.

@MuslimahMontage, Sabina Khan-Ibarra

#Indigenous #poem #Native #Thanksgiving We thank the Great Spirit

Canadian Thanksgiving is today. Monday October 10, 2016.

I chose the sentences of this prayer that remind me of why we protest, protect and why we give thanks.
So many lovely turns of phrases: “trees that grow shadows”; “the light which we call our oldest brother” and “the kind being of the darkness that gives us light.” They all turn around how we think of things in our world. In western art and science shadows exist when something stands in the light and another part of it does not, we centre the light and the relation instead of the tree. The moon here is someone who belongs with us instead of an object that serves us, that revolves around us, that creates ebb and flow. The moon a kind being of the darkness, where darkness is not immediately frightening, does not first and foremost hold danger; blackness as kindness.

Giving thanks for the workers who took care of and brought in the harvest. Thanking the singers. Thanking those who hold ceremonies. Thanking all the women who do all this cooking -still.  
Enjoy your family and if you don’t have any, go out and walk in the sun, be outside, roll yourself to a park.

The Thanksgivings
Harriet Maxwell Converse

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer

[…] We thank the Great Spirit for the water that comes out of the earth and runs
for our lands.
[…]
We thank the Great Spirit for the branches of the trees that grow shadows
for our shelter.
We thank the Great Spirit for … the thunder
and lightning that water the earth.

We thank the Great Spirit for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun
that works for our good.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank the Great Spirit for the goodness in making the forests,

and thank
all its trees.
We thank the Great Spirit for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being
of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank the Great Spirit for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,
the stars.
We give the Great Spirit thanks for our workers, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard
through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
[…]
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies
on this occasion.

America, Canada #Thanksgiving #poem #Cuba #coffee #Pumpkin

To read the poem skip the long into 🙂

Peanut butter Jam sandwiches came to my notice with a cartoon book by Gary Larson. He showed two cartoons -one of his far side and one of Dennis the Menace- where the quotes under the cartoons had been accidentally (?!) swapped. The Far Side cartoon showed, I think, two dinosaurs fighting ostensibly over peanut butter and jam sandwiches. So…they became my “healthy” after exercise favourites. Nuts are healthy. Fruit is healthy.

My parents being from Indonesia, we ate spicy peanut butter sauce a lot. The derogatory term for families like us in Dutch is “katjangs” (peanuts).  A famous Dutch children’s book is called How the Peanuts came to the Boarding School of mr. Small Tummy (who actually had a fat belly): it is about two mixed Indo-Dutch boys who are sent to the Netherlands.

I guess from the poem that Cubans in Cuba don’t eat much peanut butter, or the generation Blanco talks about anyway. Fried plantain chips though! We had those on Aruba too. And an Indonesian staple as well. Fried plantain so good. It is lovely to have a small store in your neighbourhood where you can the fruits and meats from your childhood or your background.

The poem seems to be about food and food until you read it again and notice some political stuff: stanza I mentions food donations by the Immigration Department. Was this before foodstamps?  II mentions the cuban community coming together to hold on to their dignity and to close their eyes from the loss of status and connections and the racism that would rob them of jobs, of chances, of promotions, of recognition.

III mentions colouring books in class that depict yams and presumably native americans who help the pilgrims survive the winters. A fiction that colours genocide with yellow, brown, and turkey red.

IV is all about politics and the illustrates perfectly the empty words that freedom, liberty and justice can become without hearing all the stories of colonization and opportunity and murder and riches and plantations and community.
I like this verse the least because it feels empty. I like how the child is supported by their family by making concessions on foods.

V The other food, the American food, is judged to be dry and pumpkin pie not suitable for celebrations, for isn’t it medicinal? They tried pleasing everyone and thus pleased no-one.
Who doesn’t forget their worries with dancing…The joy of hearing your sounds, being back where you belong. Or think you belong. When we would go to Indonesian or Caribbean events in the Netherlands, dancing and food were the success we judged the party by. Dancing with someone else of course. None of this on your own nonsense. No loss of connections allowed. Everything aimed to glue us together. Forget the loneliness of another culture for a night.

América
By Richard Blanco

I.
Although Tía Miriam boasted she discovered
at least half a dozen uses for peanut butter—
topping for guava shells in syrup,
butter substitute for Cuban toast,
hair conditioner and relaxer—
Mamá never knew what to make
of the monthly five-pound jars
handed out by the immigration department
until my friend, Jeff, mentioned jelly.

II.
There was always pork though,
for every birthday and wedding,
whole ones on Christmas and New Year’s Eve,
even on Thanksgiving day—pork,
fried, broiled, or crispy skin roasted—
as well as cauldrons of black beans,
fried plantain chips, and yuca con mojito.
These items required a special visit
to Antonio’s Mercado on the corner of Eighth Street
where men in guayaberas stood in senate
blaming Kennedy for everything—“Ese hijo de puta!”
the bile of Cuban coffee and cigar residue
filling the creases of their wrinkled lips;
clinging to one another’s lies of lost wealth,
ashamed and empty as hollow trees.

III.
By seven I had grown suspicious—we were still here.
Overheard conversations about returning
had grown wistful and less frequent.
I spoke English; my parents didn’t.
We didn’t live in a two-story house
with a maid or a wood-panel station wagon
nor vacation camping in Colorado.
None of the girls had hair of gold;
none of my brothers or cousins
were named Greg, Peter, or Marcia;
we were not the Brady Bunch.
None of the black and white characters
on Donna Reed or on the Dick Van Dyke Show
were named Guadalupe, Lázaro, or Mercedes.
Patty Duke’s family wasn’t like us either—
they didn’t have pork on Thanksgiving,
they ate turkey with cranberry sauce;
they didn’t have yuca, they had yams
like the dittos of Pilgrims I colored in class.

IV.
A week before Thanksgiving
I explained to my abuelita
about the Indians and the Mayflower,
how Lincoln set the slaves free;
I explained to my parents about
the purple mountain’s majesty,
“one if by land, two if by sea,”
the cherry tree, the tea party,
the amber waves of grain,
the “masses yearning to be free,”
liberty and justice for all, until
finally they agreed:
this Thanksgiving we would have turkey,
as well as pork.

V.
Abuelita prepared the poor fowl
as if committing an act of treason,
faking her enthusiasm for my sake.
Mamá set a frozen pumpkin pie in the oven
and prepared candied yams following instructions
I translated from the marshmallow bag.
The table was arrayed with gladiolas,
the plattered turkey loomed at the center
on plastic silver from Woolworth’s.
Everyone sat in green velvet chairs
we had upholstered with clear vinyl,
except Tío Carlos and Toti, seated
in the folding chairs from the Salvation Army.
I uttered a bilingual blessing
and the turkey was passed around
like a game of Russian Roulette.
“DRY,” Tío Berto complained, and proceeded
to drown the lean slices with pork fat drippings
and cranberry jelly—“esa mierda roja,” he called it.
Faces fell when Mamá presented her ochre pie—
pumpkin was a home remedy for ulcers, not a dessert.
Tía María made three rounds of Cuban coffee
then Abuelo and Pepe cleared the living room furniture,
put on a Celia Cruz LP and the entire family
began to merengue over the linoleum of our apartment,
sweating rum and coffee until they remembered—
it was 1970 and 46 degrees—
in América.
After repositioning the furniture,
an appropriate darkness filled the room.
Tío Berto was the last to leave.

Richard Blanco, “América” from City of a Hundred Fires. Copyright © 1998. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, http://www.pitt.edu/~press/. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: City of a Hundred Fires (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998)

Odd and funny #poems #Moon #Liquor #Chicken

Relexions on Ice-Breaking

Candy
is dandy
But liquor
is quicker

Ogden Nash

Arizona Nature Myth

[…]

But moon’s not there. He’s ridden out on
A galloping phenomenon,
A wonder horse, quick as light.
Moon’s left town. Moon’s clean gone.

James Michie

I dunno, (Anon)

I sometimes think i’d rather crow
And be a rooster than to roost
And be a crow. But I dunno.

A rooster he can roost also,
Which don’t seem fair when crow’s can’t crow
Which may help some. Still I dunno

Crow’s should be glad of one thing though;
Nobody thinks of eating crows,
While roosters they are good enough
For anyone unless they are tough.

For there’s a lot of tough old roosters though,
And anyway a crow can’t crow,
So mebby roosters stand more show
It looks that way, But I dunno.

From: A Choice of Comic and Curious Verse, Penguin 1978.

Get it from Indie booksellers here!

Cuppa, Selina Nwulu #poem #poetryday #blacklivesmatter

Thinking about a poem with a migraine on the right side of your head. The one thing I noticed reading the poem the first time: I had trouble understanding what was going on, too much buzz. The second read and I skipped the sentences in italics. Didn’t do that on purpose. Both the buzz and the skipping are what this poem is about: people chatting with friends about their life, a crush, ignoring news in the background about lives drowned and lost.

Actually it probably is not the news, because the sentences read more as scattered thoughts. Maybe there is a third person listening. They go from sinking boats, long borders, back to ships, drowned people, memories, sinking people and sinking memories and then to the horrible image of bubbles, last breaths. A friend of mine drowned herself in the February ice. And how do help those people fleeing from religious armies?

I drank through a grande Earl Gray cup, going over this poem at home. I love the female gaze (if Selina identifies as a woman- not sure). A man’s face as a work of art and then he is quickly dismissed for a Friday Night outing. That was funny. We don’t know how to talk about art. And films spend so much time on men.

Do you know anyone with a face you could keep looking at, not someone necessarily that you have a crush on? In painting class the longest pose we did was 6 hours I think. Sculptures for sure. My nephew. People in youtube videos. Friends drinking coffee? The little boy face down on the beach.

And we spend such a short time thinking about drowning desperate people, refugees, that the kettle has boiled. I don’t have to finish the sentence. She didn’t finish her thoughts and we’re off to planning the weekend. And so am I, migraine still there.
Cuppa
by British poet Selina #Nwulu, April 30, 2016
.
.
Put the kettle on.

I’m not being funny but he’s well fit

no, you don’t understand

they’re all sinking in the Mediterranean sea

I’m actually speaking objectively here

our borders have become dense and long

it’s more an observation really

his face is near symmetrical

and their ships have burst into splints

it’s hypnotising

the sea is bloated with people’s limbs

it’s post attraction really

I’m appreciating him as a work of art

their memories did not make it either

well, of course I wouldn’t say no!

they’re all sinking in the Mediterranean sea

but that’s not the point

anyway, we still going out Friday?

watch how the bubbles float and pop.

Kettle’s boiled.

.
.
http://www.selinanwulu.com/poetry/

I want a dyke for president, Zoe Leonard #ImWithHer #HillaryClinton #VPDebate

I want a dyke for president.

I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia.

I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying.

I want a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harrassed and gay-bashed and deported.

I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape.

I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them.

I want a black woman for president.

I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy.

I want someone who has committed civil disobedience.

And I want to know why this isn’t possible.

I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker.

Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.

— Zoe Leonard, 1992

Watch Mykki Blanco perform Zoe Leonard’s 1992 poem ‘I Want A Dyke For President’: http://dazd.co/2dptAgW