Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gems that cross my desk: The Habit of Buenos Aires

A native of Argentina, and of Irish and Italian ancestry, Lorraine Healy's book arrived in the mail several weeks ago and I have been dipping into it ever since, in no particular order, and enjoying it very much. Her book is the 2009 winner of The Patricia Bibby Book Award---chosen by David St. John. The prize is administered and published by Tebot Bach, which is located in Huntington Beach, CA.

Tebot Bach and Lorraine Healy have graciously permitted Letras Latinas Blog to reproduce one of the poems I particularly enjoyed (see below).


On Mondays across eight thousand miles,
you and I hash the weathers of the week,
sweet saucy lipsticked and storied, you tiny mother,
who carry the daily load of your panic with peaceful hands.
I take up the refusal of your cooking,
I notch each laugh
of yours on an invisible totem pole.
This is about looking at you and bowing with every breath.
This is about returning every one of your terrors, unwanted.
About your hatred of genealogy, when
you and I make one such thorough line.
You third girl, undesired, born after
the irreplaceable dead boy, the prodigal
who never came back from pneumonia and silence.
Your green eyes are turning the skyblue
that trumpets cataracts. The way, when I visit,
I pick up the small lint of things
that you no longer see. This is about your right
to cry to dubbed reruns of La Familia Ingalls,
the things that are sacred to you,
sacred to God, the male one,
and his winged minions. This is about you and me
living like newborns, small animals
who have known captivity and escaped. Over the phone
I hear the police sirens of our Buenos Aires
and I tell you about the robins crowding my woods.
I shall inherit every age spot of your arms,
all the yellow that time brands on your skin,
the silver peeking stubborn through your blonde hair,
you who leave such treasure. Open handed you go
to kiss the beggars and buy from the poorest peddler.
Despite the miles, I go behind you, touching
my forehead to the cobblestones you tread.

"Tebot Bach, Welsh for little teapot, is A Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation which sponsors workshops, forums, lectures and publications."

"The Tebach Mission: Advancing Literacy, Strengthening Community, and transforming life experiences with the power of poetry through readings, workshops, and publications."

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