Sunday, January 31, 2010

America, Lady Liberty, the Stars


Well, how about that? Two days in a row here at the old blogista keys! Keep on keepin' on, as we used to say back in the day. (I think I'm probably showing my age here!)

Yesterday, I gave you a link to my daughter Amanda's poem "Mitosis" on Rattle poetry magazine's online blog from last October. That particular poem was originally published in Rattle 24, the Winter 2005 issue that featured a tribute to Filipino Poets. Although Amanda has been published several times before, including a nation-wide anthology she edited, this was the first time I believe she was published expressly as a Filipino (American) writer. At right is the cover of that Rattle issue, still available for purchase. (Many thanks to Rattle for publishing that tribute to Filipino poets.)

I was fortunate also to have a poem in that issue. Here is the beginning stanza of that poem:

Chewing Gum Upskirt


On the Avenue of the Americas,
at noon two weeks ago Tuesday, a nun
paced the grimy concrete, robed in black,
a starched, white veil framing her stunning face,
one-in-a-million supermodel cheekbones.

Read more . . .


Would you mind clicking on "Read more" directly above and reading the poem on the Rattle website? This opening stanza doesn't really foreshadow the several directions this poem takes: Catholic school in San Francisco, my son under our deck in Iowa, my father in grade school in the Philippines, and throughout the poem the muses women teachers can be to boys. As Nick Carbó wrote in a comment responding to this poem in the Rattle blog: "Female teachers do face a different set of challenges than males, I think ... although they seem to have an advantage in activating their students' imaginations." In the poem, such "activation" leads to political ... whoa, you'll discover that when you read the poem, how chewing gum can represent the lofty themes that title this blog post.

Something else Nick said in his comment really moved me: "My late grandfather could have been the soldier packing the spearmint — an unwitting accomplice. I'm sure he'd have shared it anyway though. I'm happy to have thought of him. Thanks, Vince. From the stories my grandpa told, I felt he left a chunk of his heart in the Philippines." One just never knows how what we write, what we say, will touch someone in unexpected ways. Keep on keepin' on, people.


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