by Joy Harjo
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
~ from How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-200l (W.W. Norton, 2004)
This beautiful prayer poem, a meditative paean to the interconnectedness of all living things, is more timely than ever.
“If I’m as normal as I think I am, we’re all a bunch of weirdos.” ~ Joe Brainard
I love it when one good thing leads to another.
Kenneth Koch’s poem “Permanently” (which I shared last June), sparked my interest in New York School artist, writer and set designer Joe Brainard (1942-1994).
Both his visual art and writings were new to me; unlike his more famous contemporaries Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Ron Padgett, James Schuyler, Andy Warhol, Fairfield Porter, and Koch himself, Brainard had somehow slipped under my radar.
If you’ve been a Brainard fan all along, then you know he was a prolific creator who left behind an impressive oeuvre of innovative, pop culture inspired collages, assemblages, paintings, drawings, and comic book collaborations, as well as multiple collections of mostly autobiographical poetry and prose.
Ever get the feeling you’ve been hung out to dry? Well, this can be a good thing if you’re one of Helga Stenzel’s creations.
Russian-born but London based, Helga is a multi-disclipinary visual artist who transforms familiar household objects into quirky, light-hearted works of art.
With her trained eye and playful spirit, Helga uses items of clothing, kitchen utensils, office supplies — and yes, FOOD, to encourage us to reimagine the ordinary. In her world, avocados sing, pecans become weight lifters, and lettuce barks. 🙂
Happy May and Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup.
Mother’s Day is a holiday of mixed emotions. It’s true what they say: you never stop missing your mother. Mine has been gone eight years.
I’m thankful for those little reminders of her abiding presence; especially poignant are snippets of her handwriting in old cookbooks or on recipe cards.
MOTHER'S DAY MEMORemembering Ida
by Anita Pulier
Breathe in her scent,
thumb through food stained pages,
touch her buttery finger prints.
Remove her little notes
on more garlic or less wine,
place them in your jewelry box
in case they contain
secrets, it's time
to find Mom's clues.
Bow your head to
this unique holiday offer
of sensory overload.
Recall family dinners crowded
around an orange banquette
curving around a Formica table,
strewn with flowered wallpaper
insisting on cheer.
Allow a moment to grieve
the loss of unconditional love.
Pour a nice cup of tea,
open the Times online,
place the cursor
on the world you live in now.
~ from The Butcher's Diamond (Finishing Line Press, 2018), posted by permission of the author.
My mother Ida was born in the back room of her immigrant parents’ Brooklyn grocery store. The family would gather for meals in that same back room, sitting around a barrel that served as a table.
In her own home Mom insisted on family dinners in the dining room and took pride in her cooking. She was a fabulous self taught cook. She collected recipes in a small filing box. On those cards and in her cookbooks (all of which I inherited) are little notes and observations that fill me with memories and longing when I pull one out.
My mother Margaret was also a self taught cook who kept recipes in a small filing box. The poem’s title, “Mother’s Day Memo,” is especially apt, since Margaret worked in an office and often typed memos (and recipe cards) on her slick IBM Selectric. When she sent me some of those recipes after I moved to Virginia, she’d often scribble helpful tips in the margins. She’s still teaching me. 🙂
I have many fond memories of sitting at my grandmother’s red Formica kitchen table (where I helped my aunts wrap hundreds of dumplings). Whether you grew up in New York or Hawaii, food memories, with their “sensory overload,” may just be the most nourishing of all, since they speak of family and friends together, our unique cultural and social histories, happy chatter, spoons and glasses clinking.
What we wouldn’t give for just one more sip of our mothers’ unconditional love. ♥️
Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky (he’s feeling especially peckish today). Enjoy your travels through blogland as you sample the delectable smorgasbord of original poems, reviews, poetry challenges, and commentary being shared by our friends this week.
🌹 Happy Mother’s Day to all, and special thanks to Anita for letting me share her poem today! 🌹