… It is a field of the wild carrot taking the field by force; the grass does not raise above it.
Saturday in Mano Prieto north of Marfa, TX~
After high winds that were making me nettled and grumpy, a black storm pummeled rain on the south side of my studio. The weather shifted to cool, actually bristly so—yes, bristly, the hairs were sticking up from my skin.
I threw on a flannel shirt and starting chopping carrots. I craved soup!
I pulled out one of my “heritage recipes”—a recipe ripped from a magazine or newspaper years ago for a creamy but not too spicy Carrot and Jalapeño soup. Here’s the recipe by Marilyn Harris online. It’s delicious!
Урок по акордеон * by Alice-Catherine Jennings, as translated from the English by Dimana Ivanova
Те се вмъкнаха в ретро колата и седнаха на предните й места.
Това беше времето, което прекарваха заедно всяка
To see your work in print in your own language is pretty great but to see it transformed into another language is totally awesome.
“Accordion Lesson” began as a response to a prompt: ‘Write something from your childhood.” Uh oh! I really did not want to walk down the stairs to that dark basement of memories yet I felt committed to the exercise.
In Oaxaca, Mexico to study Spanish, I was feeling removed from my life in the States, and even more so from my life as a child growing up in Ohio. I was stumped. One morning on my way to the university, I found a connection—the acordeonistas of Oaxaca.
Yes, I admit it. I played an accordion as a child—for about 5 years. My accordion was big, emerald green with a tiny diamond in the center to mark the middle C. I was a tall, skinny kid and the accordion overwhelmed my body.
My green accordion has traveled far via this poem—from Oaxaca to publication in Ireland and south to Bratislava, where my translator, Dimana Ivanova, currently lives. Dimana, is not only a scholar and translator but also a poet. Here are the opening lines of her lovely poem “Come.” You can find the full poem is on her website.
I was born on a Tuesday in April.
I didn’t cry. Not because I was stunned. I wasn’t even mad
Tuesday’s child is full of grace but a Tuesday child is also a worrier. At least I am—have always been. Since childhood, I have had my worry dolls all lined up in a row. When I knock one down, another one pops up. I feel that it must be a condition cosmologically acquired as in reality I had little reason to be unsettled as a child. So why did I wake up mornings feeling bile in my throat, panic in my breath?
1968. At the dock, ships arriving from the East
dumped punctured rice bags, mice
and the delirium of the Cultural Revolution.
Luljeta Lleshanaku, who was born in Albania in 1968, had a reason to be anxious. A young girl coming of age during the Stalinist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha lived a different reality than mine.
In LLeshanaku’s poem, “Negative Space,” we have the opportunity to enter ever so slightly a window into the Albania of the 70’s and 80’s. We can visualize the “men in uniform” clearing out the church; the “portrait of the dictator, puffing smoke from its temples;” Halil’s “eight children” who entertained “themselves carrying famine on their shoulders;” and the man in prison who writes “I am well . . .” and “if you can, please, send me a pair of woolen socks”.
Yet, within these confines, there is the push by the poet against her fate and a search for the spirit of the goddess Athena “wearing a pair of flip flops and an owl on top of a shoulder.”
This is a richly-layered poem. You can listen to a few more Lleshanaku’s poems here:
I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model’s seat
And I painted her sitting there.
Whenever I visit a certain college friend in Cincinnati, he introduces me to something new, something really cool.
A couple of years ago, he took me to the Cincinnati Observatory , which houses the world’s oldest telescope. Yes, this is true.
Last weekend, he led me to the Mutter Gottess, which is actually in Northern Kentucky but within walking distance of Ohio.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
“’Tis Mary, the Mother of God.”
Mutter Gottes, or Mother of God, is a vibrant Catholic Parish in the Mutter Gottes Historic District in Covington, KY. The original church was built in 1842 but soon the parish outgrew its size and its second building was dedicated on September 10, 1871.
It turned out to be a Mary-Mother-of-God sort of weekend as I had spent the night before at my 8th grade reunion at Our Lady of the Rosary School.
As a result of twelve years of Catholic education, I’ve had a full serving of Mariology and Mary portraits so it was fun to find Service’s poem, “My Madonna.”
Robert Service was a British-Canadian known as the “Bard of the Yukon.” During his lifetime he was a well-known and commercially successful poet yet Service never called his work poetry. ““Verse, not poetry, is what I was after.”
So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
Shorter and shorter now the twilight clips
The days, as though the sunset gates they crowd,
Over the weekend I made a quick trip to Ohio for the confluence of an 8th grade reunion & a visit to a failing mother. 8th grade reunion??? Yes. This was our third one!
How did we all fit in that small classroom?
Those who made us laugh when we were kids can make us laugh again.
While those who had a flare for the dramatic arts still do.
Alice Cary and her sister, Phoebe, were born in Mt. Healthy, Ohio—not that far from my elementary school—and raised on a farm that is now a part of North College Hill. Their poetry was noticed by famous writers such as Edgar Allen Poe. After their book Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary was published, the two sisters moved to New York City, where they became part of the literary salon scene.
Our reunion was held on the summer solstice, the day that marks the changeover from the lengthening of the day to its shortening. For me, this day evokes the season that follows, or “Autumn.”
The robin, that was busy all the June,
Before the sun had kissed the topmost bough,
Yet, the day was June, a time of pop-out green in Cincinnati.