Of the Her Light in August
August 2020– To start this month I proudly present some selected works from my fellow poet and friend Marie Anzalone- Quite frankly ? I am clearly in awe of her sprint and talent- Recent Visual Tone Poem by Marie
Marie is an active member of the Writers Cafe community, and also of the Quetzaltenango Poetry Club “Casa los Altos.” She writes and edits in both English and Spanish. Her writing has been featured in the human rights journal “Namaste,” as well as in several anthologies, and literary publications by Versewrights, Rising Phoenix Press, Circus of the Indie Artist, and the Larcenist, among others. She is a frequent contributor of researched articles and essays for The Wisdom Daily magazine.
She has 6 stand-alone works of poetry, and was the editor, translator and/ or co-editor on several other books. She tackles themes of multi-culturalism from a woman’s perspective in her works, and has started a series of workshops for empowerment of women, which she offers in both languages as well- most recently, in 2019, she was invited to address this theme in Mexico and Guatemala.
Aside from her pending scientific research publications, she is currently editing and designing a custom series for Spanish language learners, writing the manuscript for her fifth bilingual poetry book; and assisting 4 poets, historians, and story writers to publish their works. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8393469.Marie_Anzalone
I Had Some Dreams
A Poem by
Second of three poems based on a series of extraordinary dreams over the past two weeks
I had some dreams.
Some took me to the edge of cliffs
before throwing me off; some made
me see perfection in a wildflower.
Some dreams led me to isolation
and others connected me to ancient gods.
Some dreams made me believe in love
and others raped me in my sleep.
Some dreams ran in herds
like buffalo in North Dakota in
the 1700s, and others were as elusive
and solitary as a heron in a marsh.
Some dreams fed my body and soul
with new and exciting things and
others ate me alive. Some dreams
took me to places I could never even
have imagined and others kept my
mother and me prisoner in our own
home. Some promised me the universe
and others robbed me of all material
possessions. Some dreams whispered
to me in the absence of all background
noise and others shouted from the rooftops
of bustling city subway stations.
Some dreams wanted to buy me and
others tried to sell my soul.
Some showed me only who I
was not; my dream of you
showed me who I most want
to be and how to get there.
Rain in Quarantine
A Poem by
translated from my original in Spanish
This is how my ancestors lived,
I think; as I tend seed beds
and wash shirts in a bucket
with a stick. The land is dust,
every drop of water, precious.
I wash a fork and use that water
for 20 seedlings, 3 colors
of lettuce. In the realm where
family is king and togetherness,
religion; I am easy to overlook.
The Outsider; I travel to town
to feel the accusing glances:
You brought this here; and I want
to scream, no I did not. You did.
A virus thrives in dry, in dust.
You did. We all did.
A virus thrives where land
is destroyed, green things,
turned to dust. It transmits in drought.
We made that decision when
we killed too much that was alive.
You made that decision with
the closure of research centers.
Curiosity, the desire to know more
than daily consumption, is the
cradle of civilization. The
creation of ideas.
Cut the tree, the land dies.
Eliminate compassion, replace
love with suspicion; the soul of
any place, withers and dies,
like so many green leaves choked
in dust and waiting for tending.
I too, want tending. To be held.
Reassured, not even that I
will live. But that I matter.
A land puts down its activity
and holds its loved ones
a little closer, a little tighter.
We wait for what our grandparents
called, relief. We wait for dawn.
We wait for someone to find
a cure. To say, “resume normal,
go forth and make joyful noise
unto the lord, once more.”
We may not know what to
call it, but we all know how to
feel the drops of emergence
on our upturned faces. Like so many
lettuces, like untended roses.
We all need to be free of the dust
of human failing, human fear.
We all pray for some kind of rain.
A Poem by Marie Anzalone
Response to majority supremacy in the US and abroad. Read on international radio July 6, 2020
I would not be a poet,
if I did not feel the terror
of extinction, held
like hatred by so many living
components of this little blue marble;
if I did not also hear the prayers,
of every oppressed man in history,
who turned his face to the moon
when his brothers, turned their backs,
on him. I could not call myself a poet,
until I knew the story of every girl
in my class, afraid to raise her hand
when she knew the answer. I cannot
be a poet, until I learn to love the free-
as much as my cultures adore the idea
of freedom, but secretly hate
every young woman or old man
who has the audacity, to find it,
live it, grow it in their gardens and
basements and printing presses.
I will not be a poet, until I know
how and when and where
and with how much intensity-
to takes sides, to take a stand,
to take a book, to take a knee.
The woman jealous of love,
scorns the other, who lives, free
and alone, in her own small home,
earning her own keep on her own terms.
The man afraid of his inner voice
fill’s God’s silence with useless noise.
Those who never bought a painting
ridicule the artist;
those who never wrote a letter
to a dead lover, say the poet’s words
have no value.
“They” made me do it, you say.
Hangs wrung in false helplessness,
and I had no choice. But-
Your mother may have chosen
your toxic lover- but you chose to stay.
Your cousin does not ask to be insulted
for being gay- you learned the words.
George Floyd did not kneel
on his own neck; the system you built,
did that. The devil did not pull the trigger-
you did. The immigrant did not steal
your culture- you sold it.
China did not steal your job; you
refuse to pay a few extra cents
to your own neighbor.
Your girlfriend did not make
you abuse her to the point
she doubts her own sanity.
Without the food harvested
by the poor, you starve.
Without Indians to protect your water,
you die of thirst. So do the salmon.
The boy you lynched or shot
for being out of place on your street-
he did not disband the power
of the court. You did.
Stop making excuses.
Stop making others responsible
for what you do or did.
Own it, take back control-
of your hands, your words.
I would not be a poet,
if I swaddled your comfort
in a warm blanket, changed its diapers,
and fed it honey from a plastic spoon.
The shame of inability
A Poem by Marie Anzalone
We lose so much of life
in the space of not trusting;
in the waiting for planets
to align, the right moment
to be invited in, given
permission by the divine.
I should be there with you,
holding your hand through
this grief, but a pandemic and an
inability to say who you are,
to me, get in the way,
stay my hand, shorten my grip.
I take in the sun by day,
contemplate the rain on the roof,
by night. When my friend died,
like for you, the hardest part
for me, was there being
no goodbye. No body, no
permission to be at the funeral.
I don’t want that for us.
I have become an expert
at counting shadows, telling time
by the slant of sun on the garden,
knowing which bird trills
what song, from where, each hour
of every day alone in my own space.
I hold a doctorate in unsaid things,
I am a master of paintings for which
I never seem to have the right colors.
I hide ocean liners of passion
behind curtains woven of friendship.
I pretend to only understand half
of what I hear and see. I could write
a novel with nothing more than
spider silk, carving knives, and
garden soil. My actions tell the truth
when my mouth forms partial lies.
To know an artist’s heart
watch how their brush or pen
caresses, strokes, massages, stabs,
or timidly approaches her subject.
As I am subject to you
you own most of my nights now;
I woke one morning
and a silver cord was tied
from my soul
to your midsection.
An ocean liner
was moored in my garden.
A story was demanding
to be written, out loud;
a painting came to life
in my teacup.
in the way you come to me,
I almost see me now in some
lines drawn by your pen.
I drink 2 liters of liquid
a day but it is your water
my body wants to absorb,
like sunlight, like rain
in good soil.
I sit here listening
to thunder and water drops
the rain sheeting off roofs.
I am ashamed that I cannot
hold your hand through your pain,
now and every night. And
I wonder- do you and I
ever sit, watching the same
river, from the same banks,
in any of our nights apart?
A Poem by Marie Anzalone
If we don’t make it,
I hope the birds inherit the earth.
Great big flocks of them;
all colors, a celebration of
their own resilience in front
of their own pandemic
of unchecked human expansion.
May they carry seeds and fishes
and reclaim what we selfishly
took and took and took;
centuries of entitlement;
decades of “not my problem.”
May ducks dive in clear waters;
may sparrows sing
from abandoned WalMart
warehouses; may warblers
return to public spaces
where horns don’t blare. May
a renewed sensitivity awaken
in our children; may they
paint denizens of the sky
again in artwork
and make dishes and lamps
in their likeness; in the 18th
century we spent time outdoors
seeing God’s grace in a swallow’s
wing, a falcon’s dive;
visual expression of man’s
desire for remembrance
in solitary confinement.