Breathing Colors by Giselle Maya


breath of life
inhale the scent of autumn roses
evening primroses
scent of the garden cat
outdoors all summer
mint, catnip, sage, her own tigerish perfume emanates
from her silk fur kept neat by raspings of her tongue

quinces are bright yellow lanterns
the windbells’ sound is lime green
mauve star asters taller day by day
on the talus

i pick the last green beans
a ripe tomato from vine to hand, tasted at once
the breath of the earth rises warm

sounds of a grape harvest, vendage, in a near vineyard

Giselle Maya
St. Martin de Castillon

Poem by Susan Aylward

I am from…

I am from Paris via Quebec, Northern Ireland, 
Massachusetts, a carpenter in Wales,

I am from Bridgeport, cousins,
pajamas at the drive-in,
dodge ball in the road,

I am from hotdog-chocolatemilk-frenchfries,
when dad was home on leave,
Chubby Checker, A Hard Day’s Night, 

I am from dot candy and porcelain elephants,
traded for giggles and hugs,
sugar snow-balls eaten in the shopping cart,

I am from, she always had a smile on her face,
the best mistake she ever made,
peering over, into her Cadillac front seat,
“it’s a great life if you don’t weaken”,
and her cow bell in the night, harkening, 
bring the nitro,

i am from sin-twisters,
Liddle Kiddles,
Pippi Longstocking,

I am from dark waters of Long Island Sound,
fleeing man-of-war,  
minuscule beach frogs,
barefoot on seawall rocks,
sunburns, sunfish, lemon ice,

I am from Abby Road
for having a sore throat,
sharing Valentine candies,

I am from Little Women, Little Men,
by flashlight, and
dancing to Stevie,

I am from secret passageway,
goldfish races, silhouettes,
pink feather pen, cigarettes,

I am from wanting, not believing,
confusion, not achieving,
nightmares, humiliation,
lack of preparation

I am from, keep going, step up,
keep going, for the sake of life itself,
and hugging gently, so as not to hurt one another,

I am from tracing my mother and grandmother’s hands
while oiling the pie-crust table, and the secretary,

    and from cousins, and clutching dear
all I had thought I did not need,
and mincing for memories,

I am from constellations by hot tub steam,
Ghost Ranch and O’Keeffe,
pink aspens of twilight,
Leonard Cohen, gratitude at night.

Review of the Novel “The Tricking of Freya”

THE TRICKING OF FREYA by Christina Sunley is an exquisite book that came highly recommended, but it too me several years to actually read it. When I was in Iceland, the playwright Hline suggested it, and I bought it. The cover was intriguing–a goddess or child floating in glacial waters that would kill a mere mortal in seconds. But the book stayed in the pile as I was distracted by murder mysteries, scientific books on genetics, statistics, and sand, collections of French poetry, and more. I’m not a disciplined reader. But one wintry afternoon last week, THE TRICKING OF FREYA rose to the top.
And I’m glad it did. Set partially in a realistically drawn Iceland, much of the action is in an even more obscure setting–the Icelandic diaspora in Canada. A little known immigrant group, Icelanders fled a 19th century volcanic holocaust that destroyed farmland. The heroine of the novel, Freya, named for the Norse goddess, is raised partially in the U.S. and partially in the Canadian/Icelandic town of Gimli. When her aunt Birdie kidnaps her the plot is off and running–to Iceland, to a search for Birdie’s lost child, and to a quest for self understanding.
The rich language and literature of Iceland plays its own part. In what other archaic poems are there literally a thousand ways to say sword? The characters here are often poets or scholars, drunk on words, inebriated even to the point of mania. Manic depression is a haunting motif, an illness that haunts even characters in the sagas.
The novel is beautifully plotted and described. It treads a path between the literary and the just plain readable. And it was an inexpensive way for me to re-visit Iceland!

Uomi S. Brog on Intervention

I was very intrigued by this response, and wanted to post it here to add to the dialogue and my thinking–Miriam.

Uomi S. Brog: Society sure needs our intervention.

intervention |ˌintərˈvenCHən|

the action or process of intervening: they are plants that grow naturally without human intervention.

• interference by a country in another’s affairs: the administration was reported to be considering military intervention.

• action taken to improve a situation, esp. a medical disorder: two patients were referred for surgical intervention.

• a meeting in which people confront an addicted, or otherwise troubled, individual in order to persuade the individual to seek help

To intervene, to try and make something or someone better appeals to me, I like the word in respect to the use on poetry on today’s society.

What is an Intervention?

I recently had an academic refer to my projects of putting poetry text in unexpected places or on unusual materials as an “intervention.” Being from New Jersey, I think of an intervention as something you do when you realize a friend or family member is an addict–confront him or her and whisk the person off to rehab.
So I don’t like the word as applied to art. In Edie Tsong’s citywide project of Snow Poems on windows throughout Santa Fe is the text an “intervention” in the urbanscape? Why not call it a snack? Or an accessory?
Of course these texts should make the passer-by pause. Maybe the intervention is with our usual frame of mind. I usually say “install.” I think of everything I’ve done–from a laundry line in pinon and juniper wilderness to the Poetry Posts at Community College campus as installation. It might be impermanent. Or changeable. Irritating. Pretty. Something on the wind.
But I don’t feel the earth needs my intervention.