#Home #poem Homesteader

I thought this was about a woman! Still is for me.

The ’37 Chevy pickup, retired to a rest
of rust and thistles, sloughed off its front
wheels—the better to munch the sod and
ruminate on great loads hauled: lumber,
a keg of nails, the tools and paint
for their first frame farmhouse, then
the bed, a castiron cookstove with its
clatter of pans, plus the barbwire and
feedbags, a pump… later, kids
and hogs and heifers to the county fair.
Lasting out the War to End All Wars, and
then Korea, she earned her ease, turned
out to pasture by the old woodlot, where
time and the weather wrought a work of art,
making her a monument to herself.

by John Haag

Born in Idaho in1926, John Haag was a member of the Merchant Marine during World War II and a naval veteran of the Korean conflict.

#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

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!

Little Man, Komunyakaa #poem #child #BlackLivesMatter

Family. Community. I like this poem because they are all together and it looks like they are often together. The great-great grandmother loves the child so much, her physical hurts go unnoticed for awhile. He distracts her so much that the pain of loss, the faces of those she lost are not taking over her whole sky.

Coffee is sharp. And milk has a lot of sugar in it. It takes the edge off of coffee like sugar cubes do. You can’t forget the pain if it runs deep, but distraction is a healthy way of forgetting it for a while.

The child is enchanting all the women. And I guess the father would like to do the same. His way may have been the trumpet. Does he not play trumpet any more? He would feel that he could not hold the women’s attention if that was all he had. If his grandmother wakes up every night, he might be the one sent out to look for the burglar. Maybe he is tired and he wishes he could be the distraction for her, take her attention and his wife’s attention. I guess some fathers are jealous of their children. Or maybe he is just tired and his trumpet is on his lap.

LITTLE MAN AROUND THE HOUSE
Yusef Komunyakaa

Mama Elsie’s ninety now.
She calls you whippersnapper.
When you two laugh, her rheumatism
Slips out the window like the burglar
She hears nightly. Three husbands
& an only son dead, she says
I’ll always be a daddy’s girl.
Sometimes I can’t get Papa’s face
Outta my head. But this boy, my great-
Great-grandson, he’s sugar in my coffee. 

You look up from your toy
Telescope, with Satchmo’s eyes,
As if I’d put a horn to your lips.
You love maps of buried treasure,
Praying Mantis, & Public Enemy…
Blessed. For a moment I am jealous.
You sit like the king of trumpet
Between my grandmama & wife,
Youngblood, a Cheshire cat
Hoodooing two birds at once.

The Bagel & Rescue The Dead, Ignatow #poem

The Bagel

I stopped to pick up the bagel
rolling away in the wind,
annoyed with myself
for having dropped it
as if it were a portent.
Faster and faster it rolled,
with me running after it
bent low, gritting my teeth,
and I found myself doubled over
and rolling down the street
head over heels, one complete somersault
after another like a bagel
and strangely happy with myself.

 

And this weird, ridiculous, desperate and lovely poem…He sounds so depressed. Obviously  everything that he describes as not being love, can be love. Love of the small things in your day. A commitment not to draw attention to drama- which is fine, if you work through the drama at some point. Anyway. It is interesting to see his muted style.

Rescue the Dead

Finally, to forgo love is to kiss a leaf,
is to let rain fall nakedly upon your head,
is to respect fire,
is to study man’s eyes and his gestures
as he talks,
is to set bread upon the table
and a knife discreetly by,
is to pass through crowds
like a crowd of oneself.
Not to love is to live.

To love is to be led away
into a forest where the secret grave
is dug, singing, praising darkness
under the trees.

To live is to sign your name,
is to ignore the dead,
is to carry a wallet
and shake hands.

To love is to be a fish.
My boat wallows in the sea.
You who are free,
rescue the dead.

—David Ignatow

From: Contemporary American Poetry edited by Donald Hall

Buy from Indie bookstores at abebooks.com 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.”

I return to my beloved world #Sotomayor #SCOTUS #poem #ValentinesDay

0463_Puerto_Rican_Tody_Nate_Zeman.jpg
http://www.natezeman.com/photo/san-pedrito/

Forgive the exile

This sweet frenzy:

I return to my beloved world,

In love with the land where I was born.

– from “To Puerto Rico (I Return),” by José Gautier Benítez

SF Gate: Born in New York, she returns to Puerto Rico as a child to visit her family and recapture the sights, the blue of the ocean where it meets the sky and the almost sweet taste of coconut milk sipped by a straw through a hole punctured in a fresh green coconut, not one of the “shriveled hairy brown things” sold on the streets of the Bronx. Sonia sips and tastes her “beloved world” – filled with exotic flavors and savored most often in the company of her vast extended family.