Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tuesday poem #394 : Ginny Threefoot : me stop to prove it now make haste



My A’self     befall an education
pause for certainty     procure an alphabet

turn the wheel of syllables      
stand interrupted in the currency of crowd

I am     broken perfect
counted     and but dreamed here                              

I planetary     I swarm     I risk      
I guess territories     vast prairies      
         
My A’self     a bird except     a bird
except     adorned with questions      


                                         after Emily Dickinson



Ginny Threefoot received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Caliban, Guest, Poet Lore, Tupelo Quarterly, and in collaboration with artist Anne Lindberg at Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago and Haw Contemporary in Kansas, City, MO. They are preparing another exhibition that will open at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA, in January, 2022.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan
 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Tuesday poem #393 : Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch : The Good Arabs

 

hassan hasn’t talked
to me
or anybody

since the day of green seas

and we reduce it to absence

but they said
it’s a changing in the weather

that signals for more to come
and we’re trying to understand

but this isn’t a jump off the cliff
move

it’s not a change
built over time

a channel flipped every time
I hear a transphobic joke

every time I can tell this isn’t going
anywhere I want it

we trade in seas for lakes and summon the ancestors
whose names we don’t always know
cause family histories aren’t always recorded
maybe I need to jot down a list of names

of everyone who’s ever walked me home
called when I was alone
ever told me I’m acting like my shit don’t stink

because love is more than sweetness
when u grow up in an Arab family

when u grow up any kind
of working class

and any good Arab knows they need to strive
for the top
for the change

in cars every two years
for the kinds of capitalisms

we never critique
because the generation before ours

consumed the shame
of colonialism, tried to beg for mercy

and only got a lesson in apathy
you get a car you get a car you get a car

but what about a lesson

in our own histories,
our own urgencies

our own violences
any good arab knows not to get too dark

because who knows what
will happen when

you get further away
from whiteness
and the view from the top of Mount Lebanon

any step up is a step down
for other ppl and yet

I’m saying we can’t do the job right
the statue of Harissa

looking down
with tears in her eyes a miracle

but you’re mistaken my friend, habibi
she isn’t happy

she isn’t well
ya Rab

I’m not religious
but I see our reflections

in her tears
and we’re starting to look

a little devilish

 

 

Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a queer Arab poet living in Tio’tia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory (Montreal). Their work has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 anthology, GUTS, the Shade Journal, Arc Poetry Magazine, Room Magazine, and elsewhere. They were longlisted for the CBC poetry prize in 2019. knot  body, a collection of creative non-fiction and poetry will be published Fall 2020 by Metatron Press, and The Good Arabs, a poetry collection, will be published in Fall 2021 with Metonymy Press. You can find them on Instagram @theonlyelitareq. 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

 

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Tuesday poem #392 : Mia Ayumi Malhotra : from Instax: A New Lyric

 


One winter I bought my daughter an Instax camera. Through her lens, the magnolia tree in front of our building looked taller, its creamy whites and magentas more lovely.

This is so beautiful, she said, and pressed the shutter release.

The “room” of the camera may have shrunk, [but] the camera retains, in its name, a reference to that magical space one originally occupied: the dark room where one went to receive an illuminated version of reality.[1] 

Photographs show not the presence of the past but the pastness of the present.[2]

Is it possible for an image to be an elegy? For a photograph, as it captures the light of a lost moment, to be anything but?

The more interesting abrasions are not of stone but of flesh. Through photographs we follow in the most intimate, troubling way the reality of how people age.[3]

One day she will say, I can’t believe how young she was. Looking at me now, you would not know I was once a small child with blue yarn and barrettes in my hair.  

The smearing effect of time, memory. Distance and sun exposure.

While pregnant, I became obsessed with the passage of time. Something about the marks it made on my skin as it stretched past.

A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze: light.. is here a carnal medium, a skin I share with anyone who has been photographed.[4]

What I remember about my own mother: some days I returned from school and the floors gleamed. A shadowy figure that came and went, ornamenting the fringes.

She was everything, but she was also invisible.[5]

Once I left a pair of scissors open on the floor, and she cut her foot open, trailing blood to the bathroom. How it feels as the frame that holds your life falls to pieces.

One day I will forget how high the ceilings were. How its exposed beams collected shadows, which drifted across the walls in complex, shifting prisms.

The light of this lost, mournful moment. As though filtered through a dream or a half-tone screen.[6]

To document the light it is to catch the quality of time as it streams past.

Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art.[7]

We live in the presence of another world, faces lit from the inside. So much is mystery. So much we do not know.

Bodies bleached by sun, faces haloed in gauzy light. How joy effervesces—and what is lost in the effervescing.

 

 

 

 

Mia Ayumi Malhotra [photo credit: Sana Javeri Kadri] is the author of Isako Isako, finalist for the California Book Award and winner of the 2017 Alice James Award, a Nautilus Gold Award, a National Indie Excellence Award, and a Maine Literary Award. She is a Kundiman and VONA/Voices Fellow, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Yale Review, Indiana Review, and Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

 



[1] Jay Prosser, Light in the Dark Room: Photography and Loss (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2005), 3.

[2] Prosser, 1.

[3] Susan Sontag, On Photography (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978), 70.

[4] Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981), 80-81.

[5] Tara Villalba and Lola Mondragón, “She Is a Radical,” in Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, ed. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams (Toronto: PM Press, 2016), 74.

[6] Hervé Guibert, Ghost Image, trans. Robert Bononno (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 109.

[7] Sontag, 14.