In Battle Ink

Margaret invited us to explore “Immigrant Portraits”. She said, “If you are blessed with a family member’s history of an immigration journey”, write about it. So… I poetized a glimpse into the immigration journey of someone really, really, really close to me.

“In Battle Ink”

Before I met her, I had dreams
that could be seen, tasted, touched
and made true by want and by work…

I dreamed of a home with a phone
and of books of my own;

not just any books, but the best
titles—stories birthed by free minds
that journey out of this world,
tales of lives written in battle ink
that rejects all irrational nos.

Then we met, through the strangeness
of May snow in New York City…

Her torch banished shadows I thought
eternal. She showed me books,
a home and a phone are not dreams,
but necessities. She taught me how to see
through the eyes of a book—the best,
the wisest, the most loyal friend
any thinking girl can have.

After I got to know her, I birthed ideas
that can’t be killed, stolen or bought…
thoughts that are bigger than any dream

ever was.

the wee notes…
– I migrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States a couple of decades ago. It was early May. My father had told my brother and me, “In May, the weather will be nice enough for shorts.” So, of course, we wore shorts. It snowed. The car broke down just minutes after we left La Guardia Airport. I was freezing, but grinning the grin of a delighted, bookish lunatic whose father had just told her, “You don’t need to spend the whole day in the library, if you don’t want to. Here, they let you take books home.” I will always remember the joy that warmed my heart that wintry spring day. The thought that so many children could be denied that gift, that joy, that warmth… breaks my heart.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Artistic Interpretations ~ Immigrant Portraits). Will also link to Prompt Nights (Through the Eyes of My Friend) on Friday.

photo by the intelligent, talented, good-looking (and extremely modest), Rommy Driks

Old and Young, I Dance

When my bones were new and my soul already old, my laundromat was a river. On Saturdays, we scrubbed grime from fabric until fingers bled clean. We smacked tough stains against stones, laid our garbs to be kissed by the sun, while the river cleansed fatigue and sweat from our flesh.

When my thoughts were young and my mind still old, the river was Gaia’s milk, her tears, her blood. On the Winter Solstice, we sat on the west side of the riverbank with the dying Sun… We faced east, waiting for the Sun to be reborn. From across the river, sunlight kissed treetops and skin.

I am far away from my river, my laundromat, her milk, her tears, her blood. My bones and thoughts are nearly as old as my soul. The Sun still dies and will again be reborn. On the Winter Solstice, I stand on the west side of my terrace with the dying Sun… I face east, waiting for the Sun to be reborn. From across the street, sunlight kisses treetops and skin. Shiny eyes soak in the new warmth, breathe in the world, smile, and close—I am dancing by the riverbank… I’m young, I am old, I’m young…

in the dark,
winter births the sun
and all life

the wee notes…
The Twiglet #3 (“from across the room”)
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Tuesday Platform
* If you are here for The Twiglet or The Garden, then you are already done. If not, read on…

Tomorrow, the Northern Hemisphere welcomes the Winter Solstice. Yep, my Wicked Luvs, the baby Sun (a bunch of fantastic people) and I will be celebrating the shortest day of the year. Well, I’m actually celebrating that the days will get longer (but don’t you tell the dark I said that… I’ve heard Lady Darkness can hold a grudge). Anyhoo, I always welcome the reborn Sun with something yellow and yummy—usually an orange. But it’s freaking cold outside. So this year, I’m opting for soup.

Roasted Kabocha Soup

– 1½ cups of roasted kabocha squash, cubed
– 1½ cups of water
– 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons of pecans, crushed and roasted
– Ground cumin, dill, salt

Preparation (about 45 minutes/239 calories):
– Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat the kabocha with the coconut oil, place on a baking sheet (lined with parchment or foil). Bake until the squash is a bit browned and soft (about 28 minutes). Let the squash cool a bit, then remove the peel from the flesh. Set the (yummy crunchy) peel aside.

Add the water, cumin, dill and salt to saucepan. When it comes to a boil, add the squash. Simmer on low for 5 minutes or so. Let it cool for a bit, blend, and yum-yum!
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

While the squash cools a bit, chop the peel and mix with the pecan. It makes a delicious snack.
Kabocha Squash Peel and Pecans

Or, if you are feeling wild—I often do—add the mix to the soup.
Roasted Kabocha Soup with Pecan

Happiest Winter Solstice, my Luvs.

Flesh, Hair and Big Eyes

When I was very young, I was terrified of blood and of death. Perhaps because I was introduced to the two way too early, and not in the most controlled of environments. For some years, I found myself plagued by nightmares. I refused to be alone in the dark. Then a neighbor introduced me to the horror genre, and to the fact that dead things (or blood, for that matter) couldn’t hurt me. All this influenced my writing (have you noticed? *cough, cough*) and my choices for Halloween costumes. Today, at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Mama Zen asked us to tell her about our dress up plans (or lack thereof)—in 65 words or fewer. Here is my bit (which I’m also linking to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights, Descent into the abyss of Solitude):

“Flesh, Hair and Big Eyes”

On the most hallowed
of all nights,
we dressed up in flesh,
hair and big eyes.

We played with fun, fun,
fun imaginary fiends…
pretending to be bunnies.

We kissed soothing solitude
in the comfort of our dark,
and tore playmates apart.

The world watched us
without seeing us, called us weird
little creeps. We played with them,
and reshaped them

into tiny bloodied bits.

I haven’t been able to figure out who created this intriguing image. If it belongs to you, please let me know and I’ll give you proper credit; or delete it, if that’s your desire.