The Wading Pool BY GEORGE BILGERE The toddlers in their tadpole bodies, with their squirt guns and snorkels, their beautiful mommies and inflatable whales, are still too young to understand that this is as good as it gets.
A day at the neighborhood pool screams summer. Everyone’s in a good mood. The kids are electric; the parents can chill; and the singlets’ skin glow.
Born in 1951, George Bilgere has been called the baby boomer’s poet. You can watch a video of Bilgere talking about his poetry here.
…when i can taste the rare culture of cuchifritos y lechón chitterlins & black-eyed peas & corn bread
I’d been spying the food trucks on East 11th St for quite some time. Located close to East Side Yoga, I knew that one day after my noon stretch, I’d stop by one of those vegan/vegetarian food trucks circled around chairs and grass and a dose of East Austin funk.
Yesterday, the vegan African food sign lured me in past the partial metal fence. I entered food truck land. I was tempted by the Colombian choice. I’ve been to Colombia so thought at least I could make an educated choice but I was feeling hot and steamy so I stayed the course and headed towards Wasota African Cuisine.
I ordered the V. 6 Jollof Rice and Spinach and V10. Akara (Black- eyed Peas Fritters). I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting but the owner said to sit in the shade as it would take awhile to blend and cook everything. He likes to make everything fresh for his customers—and, the food was guaranteed. Guaranteed? Like authentic? No, like I will give you your money back if you do not like it. For $10.72, why not?
Here are my ratings on a 5 star system.
Hot and spicy: 5 (You can order it less spicy but I like the heat!)
Taste and texture: 3 1/2
Value: 5 (There was enough food for 4.)
Service and Friendliness: 5
Authenticity: Have no idea???
If you check out Wasota’s FB page, there is a special offer for 15% off.
The akaras, or black-eyed pea fritters led me to “Oye Mundo/sometimes” and I discovered Jesús Papoleto Meléndez, poet and playwright and one of the founding poets of the Nuyorican poetry movement. You can watch him read “¡HEY YO / YO SOY!” here.
& i can feel a conglomeration of vibrations / heat waves body waves people waves of real gente / & i feel gooooooood
“Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!”
Here’s what I wrote on “possibility.”
I dwell in possibility (unless it is raining, which it is today.)
I peer out numerous windows,.
I refuse to believe in impregnable doors.
I spread wide my narrow hands to gather paradise
Which I will not find today as it is raining.
For today’s special
we’d like to recommend a very spicy
Our menu today: Vegetarian Moroccan stew accompanied by a fresh salade verte and a splash of wine. For dessert –an organic vanilla cake with chocolate icing. Poet: Abdellatif Laâbi.
“Abdellatif Laâbi is among the most well-known Moroccan writers living today. Born in Fez in 1942, he co-founded the poetry review Souffles in 1966. Six years later, Souffles was banned and Laâbi was imprisoned. He was released in 1980, and five years later he moved to France where he has resided ever since.” (Quarterly Conversation, June 11, 2013)
You won’t need a starter, he added
as the stew is very substantial
a local wine
the sort used for sangria
With my beer
While golden moments flit:
Last Saturday, six souls in search of sun, music and the mellow taste of beer headed for The Thirsty Planet Brewery, an Austin brewery with a purpose. According to their website, the team at Thirsty Planet “strives to keep the planet’s well-being in mind” during their day to day operations and gratuities from the tasting room are donated to a different charity each month. This month’s charity is Well Aware—”clean water for life.’
Go, whining youth, Forsooth! Go, weep and wail, Sigh and grow pale, Weave melancholy rhymes On the old times, Whose joys like shadowy ghosts appear,—
George Arnold was a mid 19th century poet and writer and a regular contributor to Vanity Fair. He is best known for his poem “The Jolly Old Pedagogue.” Arnold was also a frequent patron and part of the “In Crowd” at Pfaff’s Beer Cellar, a popular rathskeller in Greenwich village for New York writers and artists, including Walt Whitman. Other than that, not much is known about Arnold.
In the poem “Beer,” he laments the passing of his youth. Really?!! Arnold only lived to be 31! But, as we know, depression has no boundaries and age is relative.
What I like about this poem is how it makes me want to recommit to it (whatever it is today, this month, this year) yet reminds me that sometimes it’s okay to forget about it and to just enjoy the light, song and a glass of beer. Prost!
So, if I gulp my sorrows down, Or see them drown In foamy draughts of old nut-brown, Then do I wear the crown, Without the cross
It’s been a dreary winter—even my flowers are droopy so I went on a hunt for a poem—something to get me out of my funk. I’ve discovered that there is a poem for every situation. Someone else has already been there, felt that and today it was the poet Adrian Castro. Yes, things could be worse. I could be lying in the knot of a tropical depression.
“The Reality of Tropical Depressions” captured my attention. I liked its tempo, its progression, its innovative use of language. It made me want to find the book, read more. (Handling Destiny, Coffee House Press, 2009)
tip yr head at the orange sky blue lightning
partially our rainbow
and tonight will be “O.K./ after all.”
Here’s to the sun and flourishing flowers! I am so ready!
Paper dreams within the cover of a book,
book binds itself with the glue of a spine,
spine weaves together—dovetailed by the grace of words—words of passion,
India is well—for a first time visitor—indescribable. Somehow, I still cannot put my brief two-week visit to Northern India into perspective. The focus of the trip was the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Billed as the largest free literary festival on earth, the JaipurLitFest 2015 may have lived up to its hype with 300 authors, 140 musicians and 245,000 recorded footfalls over five days.
The crowds were intense—especially as the week wore on. It was nearly impossible to push through the cross paths on the grounds of the Hotel Diggi Palace at midday—or to find a seat at one of the sessions. Yet, if you went early in the morning, the queue for chai-in-small red-earthen-cups was short and you could grab a spot somewhere at one of the 10 venues. And, who you might find seated next to you could be surprising-from an economic advisor to Prime Minister Modi to a graduate student from LA studying Renaissance trade routes in India as international visitors were represented from over 50 countries!
Sometimes the best part of a trip is what you discover when you get back home. That’s what happened to me. After decompressing from the 31-hour journey from Jaipur to Austin, I discovered my complimentary copy of The Indian Quarterly.
This is a beautifully produced literary and cultural magazine full of essays, art, fiction, poetry, photo essays. My favorite part is discovering new poems and poets, such as Paper T[r]ails by Sudeep Sen
Paper dreams in stacks, between covers,
among notes left surreptitiously between pages for someone else to read.
Listen. Come over: the cold has already eaten
Cold hadn’t even nibbled at summer in Austin, Texas when I stopped by Cenote for a latte. I’d been trying to stick to breakfast teas but the week had been stressful. I just needed a cup of something stronger.
Cenote is close by but parking can be a challenge. It was too sunny and hot to linger on one of the picnic tables outside yet sitting inside can be a bit jarring if you are not able to find a seat away from the door or bar. Not always an ideal place to set up your laptop and work, its friendliness and killer breakfast tacos for $3.50 (on non-GMO corn tortillas) make up for the lack of comfortable space. Plus, there is a juice bar on site.
Hannah Gamble’s poem seemed to fit my mood last week. On one hand, it was a week of writerly events like the The One Page Salon and food-filled evenings with friends but also one of anxiety and a sense of life crashing in. It was one of those weeks when I needed “another pair of ears.”
I can’t tell if I’m hearing wind chimes
or some gray woman with failing arms
dropping a pan full of onions and potatoes.