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 Anzalone is a US national living and working in the developing world. She is a professional scientist, economist, translator, and artist; also trained as a life coach, writer, and business manager. She lives in rural Guatemala with a passel of rescue dogs, cats Alexa, Emma, and Pippin; sheep, goats, an underground greenhouse, and a garden. She is finishing 3 scientific publications for her master’s degree in 2020-2021. She has been writing for most of her life. She welcomes travelers to her home, and will be able to offer author retreats after the COVID pandemic.

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  

https://www.writerscafe.org/hauntedfox 

  https://coldhungryinlove.wordpress.com/blog/

I Had Some Dreams

A Poem by

Marie Anzalone

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

Marie Anzalone

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.

 

Triggers

A Poem by Marie Anzalone

Response to majority supremacy in the US and abroad. Read on international radio July 6, 2020

“Triggers”

I.

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.

II.

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.

III.

“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

I.

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.

II.

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.

III.

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.

 

Something softened

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.

IV

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?

*

Solitary Confinement

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.

 

 

 

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