Thursday, February 23, 2017

Eating a Pear on the Front Porch, Late February

Eating a Pear on the Front Porch, Late February

Bird songs like sweet nothings, or your mother coming into the room when you’re having a bad dream.  She swoops over your trembling body and croons, “it’s all all all right little one!”  Off to the West, angles of azure and delicate clouds spread a deep yes you want to fall into, oh sky the color of infatuation, of throwing caution to the wind.  But over to the East, there’s no sky at all, only Mordor on the march like a storm of orcs, and they have blades with thunder and lightning embedded in the steel. You sit on the porch with two dogs, both gray of muzzle; one bears the pink scars of cancer. They sleep that blessed dog sleep of simplicity, paws twitching, a tail thwacking against the deck.  You eat a pear with skin reminiscent of fall maple leaf colors: brightly tender salmon, deep golds.  The flesh is a manifestation of giving, so you take.  Lick your fingertips of sticky juice, watch the clouds roll in closer, feel the temperature drop like someone opened a walk-in freezer.  Your porch stands exactly where the two skies meet: this house, the cusp of everything.  Don’t think about climate change, or water wars, or the leaflessness of a Spring that has come too early.  Listen to the birdsong, the whistle of mourning dove wings in mating flights.  Smell rain hovering over your American town like a memory you can’t quite retrieve.  Feed the pear core to that dog at your feet, the one with the scars who wakes up, nudges your hand; scold her when she asks for more.

Deborah A. Miranda

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Real Story

Image may contain: 1 person, textartwork by Andrea Carlson

Real Story

I’m reading Susan Power’s Sacred Wilderness in a local cafĂ©,
as anonymous as possible in a small town on Saturday
when students crowd the tables with books and laptops,
and tourists drop by between Lee’s tomb and Jackson’s grave.

A silver-haired woman sits next to me at the crowded counter,
props up her Kindle, reads while picking at her blueberry scone
like a little chickadee looking for the best bits.  She eyes
Andrea Carlson’s “Bear Medicine” on the cover of my book;

she thinks I don’t notice.  I do.  I wait.  Finally, she says,
“Can I ask you about that book?” And I give her a bare synopsis.
Four women, lost sons, separation and healing.  Indigenous
literature, I say, of exquisite beauty.  I should have known

better.  “Oh, have you ever read a book called Jaguar Woman?
It was about Indian medicine.  The author’s name was Something
Andrews, I think.”  Without missing a beat, I provide that author’s
first name, outline the problematics of White Shamanism,

including economic colonization.  “You mean she’s fake?!”
The woman pulls back a little.  “Yep,” I say.  After a few more
awkward pleasantries, we return to our respective reading. 
I think to myself, if I were a good person, I’d ask what she’s reading.

If I were a really good person, I’d offer a reading list.  But some-
times in a small southern town, surrounded by Confederate
shrines and cadets in gray uniforms, hiding out from ICE raid
reports at home in California and down in Texas, from videos

of BIA officers beating an Indian woman who dares protest with
a #NODAPL sign, or a President who is re-writing the Constitution
in Tweets, or even just the arrogant email message from a student
blaming you for his own incompetence, well, sometimes

you want one hour, just one hour please, in the company of women
with names like Maryam, Gladys, Jigonsaseh, Ruby Two-Axe;
some days, I swear, you cannot give one more explanation, one more
lecture.  Some days you want what is sacred to stay sacred –

and this, this is one of those gorgeous, medicinal days.  Amen.

Deborah A. Miranda

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"The New Colossus" = "The New U.S.": a Redacted Poem

Sometimes called black-out or erasure poems, this process involves finding a "new" poem inside a pre-existing piece by covering up parts of the original poem; this "exposes" the new poem.  Here, I've used transparent bars so that the original poem may still be read, heightening the sense of loss and so that the violence to the original poem is, in a way, highlighted rather than hidden.

In this case, I have chosen to call "The New U.S." a "redacted" poem.  The definition of redact in current culture generally means to edit out sensitive or dangerous content (Merriam defines redact as "transitive verb. 1 : to put in writing : frame. 2 : to select or adapt (as by obscuring or removing sensitive information) for publication or release; broadly : edit. 3 : to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release.)  Redaction is often associated with material released by the government.

It seems obvious to me that the welcoming embrace of Lady Liberty in Lazarus' poem has been redacted by current Trump administration political moves.