Month: August 2016

Gay Rights March

pride1pride2pride3pride4

Sometimes it is difficult here to discern the difference between a parade and a march. Newlyweds and their loved ones, graduates, dancers, gay pride revelers, fifteen-year-olds and their families, even pet-owners parade through the streets like clockwork.

The teachers clearly march. They are not accompanied by bands and dancers and flags. They have signs and megaphones.

The gay rights march, on the other hand, seemed to be a hybrid between the two: a colorful and exuberant celebration of self and love and freedom paired with signs and megaphone-led chants about rights for all.

I stayed in character, the character of tourist, taking pictures from the sidelines, asking questions while simultaneously learning more about the message, and, most importantly, about how hard it was to organize a crowd of proud gay rights activists to march in a world where tragedies, like Orlando’s, can ignite in an instant.

This realization scared me for a second, and then I knew I needed to allow myself to be swept up in whatever this might be.

I can’t help but think of Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric.” Following in an excerpt:

1

I sing the body electric,

The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,

They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,

And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?

And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?

And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?

And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
2

The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the body itself balks account,

That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.

  • Sing something. Sing the oblivion of winter or the color of the sky on an impossibly early morning or the blues of August as school creeps closer.

Noche de Verano

graffiti

I am walking, after rain, in evening’s sigh, passing the stone cross, on the way to the arches. You know where they filmed scenes from Nacho Libre? You know when Nacho picks on the wrong guys?

I pass the yellow house on the right and remember Miguel and Pia have left for Mexico City and they’ve (perhaps foolishly) left their upstairs window shutters open with little choice but to welcome summer, the bouquet of bougainvillea and morning sun, and a novice guitar player’s sweet strumming.

You know that despairing ballad I repeat, “Ojala,” how it murmurs as plaintive wind chimes?

I know. I write to you now as if we have studied these landmarks together, as if this letter is not my own howling anthem.

Noche de verano
–Antonio Machado

Es una hermosa noche de verano.
Tienen las altas casas
abiertos los balcones
del viejo pueblo a la anchurosa plaza.
En el amplio rectángulo desierto,
bancos de piedra, evónimos y acacias
simétricos dibujan
sus negras sombras en la arena blanca.
En el cénit, la luna, y en la torre,
la esfera del reloj iluminada.
Yo en este viejo pueblo paseando
solo, como un fantasma.

Summer Night

–Antionio Machado

A beautiful summer night.
the tall houses leave
their balcony shutters open
to the wide plaza of the old village.
In the large deserted square,
stone benches, burning bush and acacias
trace their black shadows
symmetrically on the white sand.
In its zenith, the moon; in the tower,
the clock’s illuminated globe.
I walk through this ancient village,
alone, like a ghost.

translated from the Spanish by Willis Barnstone

http://exceptindreams.livejournal.com/327032.html

  • Celebrate a time of day, a season, the colors (natural or human made) of a place.

 

Jacob, Take It Easy…

jacob

I see Jacob, the dog, nearly every day. I have decided that his miniature owner lives to chat with tourists. This is why he uses English in his direction of Jacob. He lures us in with the bait of familiarity.
He tells Jacob repeatedly, “Take it easy!” This large dog does not wear his iconic cask of brandy. Instead, this fancy-dressed owner carries a bottle of mezcal and a shot glass to get the conversation flowing.
While waiting for a parade, I refused three shots of mezcal and was still invited on a run with Jacob at 8 the following morning. I wanted to say that I spend mornings with them in the park, but then I realized that I blend in with all of the other tourists he talks with.
I wanted to say I have heard him warning: “Jacob, that is a poopy.” He means puppy. He yells it when Jacob gets too near other dogs. I want to remind him that Jacob is still a poopy himself (he’s only six months old) and .

From Dogs Are Shakespearean, Children Are Strangers

— Delmore Schwartz

Dogs are Shakespearean, children are strangers.
Let Freud and Wordsworth discuss the child,
Angels and Platonists shall judge the dog,
The running dog, who paused, distending nostrils,
Then barked and wailed; the boy who pinched his sister,
The little girl who sang the song from Twelfth Night,
As if she understood the wind and rain,
The dog who moaned, hearing the violins in concert.
—O I am sad when I see dogs or children!
For they are strangers, they are Shakespearean.

Read the whole poem at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/42635

Of course, I can’t resist thinking of Anton Chekov’s “The Lady with the Pet Dog:” http://www.eldritchpress.org/ac/jr/197.htm

  • Why should humans and canines meet on the street? One of the ways this interaction can compel a story forward is what we learn from the one-sided “conversation” that often results.

 

From Fortin Plaza

fortin

From Fortin Plaza, in July’s dusk, the light traffic wields torches as angry townspeople might.

Perhaps what I see are lanterns through trees as exhausted campers are headed to tents, or certainly they are luminary candles leading down a green and darkening path.

From this vantage point in the deep purple clouds, I note not everything in this valley twinkles or shines. There are vast fields of darkness that were only hinted at in the city’s streets.

Light

–Rabindranath Tagore

Light, my light, the world-filling light,
the eye-kissing light,
heart-sweetening light!

Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the center of my life;
the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love;
the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.

The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light.
Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.

The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling,
and it scatters gems in profusion.

Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling,
and gladness without measure.
The heaven’s river has drowned its banks
and the flood of joy is abroad.

From Light: A National Poetry Day Book – a free poetry book to celebrate National Poetry Day 2015 with poems on the theme of light.

 

Hilo Rojo

hr1hr2hr3hr4hr5hr6hr7

I saw the show Hilo Rojo 3047: El Río de Mujeres by Ornella Ridone at the Oaxaca Textile Museum, http://www.museotextildeoaxaca.org.mx, Museo Textil de Oaxaca, A.C., Hidalgo 917, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca de Juárez, México
C.P. 68000

This is, according to the artist, more than an exhibition of embroidery; it is an autobiographical journey depicting the women in her family. She says, “I transform embroidery into its own language.”

Walking through the breathtaking exhibit is somewhat like wandering through someone’s clothesline. In fact, part of me wishes the show was hung in this manner.

Another part of me was stunned by how it simultaneously felt like moving through an ethereal crowd. The one fan in the room hardly moves the clothes, but so much so that it was sometimes hard to find an image I saw–or thought I saw–again.

Of course there are many ways to tell a story, and they may or may not include words. While a couple of the pieces feature words: one about a brand of sewing needle, the other about soldiers killing women, the other pieces resound in a different way.

In fact, they are reminiscent of tattoos or scars; there are clearly complex stories (some visible, some buried beneath the surface): of survival and triumph, of love and fear, of despair and tremendous joy.

Butterflies
–Paula Bohince

The hole at the center
of the galaxy is a black butterfly,
large and dominant, off-kilter.
From her, others emerge,
encircling her at birth, tethered
forever to the spoke
and word of her…
See the rest at: http://poems.com/feature.php?date=16832

  • What visual display could represent a family’s story? It is a sort of collection as the sticker book referenced in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/marie-kondo-and-the-ruthless-war-on-stuff.html?_r=0, or is it a radical lack of stuff that might say even more?