The Wind Shifts

21 Oct

Come, thief
whispering to fool the wind
invitation to a secret feast
power & possibility.

The unfolding center,
divine nothingness,
domain of perfect affection

If one of us should fall
faster than light
don’t let me be lonely.

I spent a lot of time browsing the pop-up poetry bookstore at the Dodge Poetry Festival, both yesterday and today. One of my favorite things is to read and collect the titles of poetry books, and then try to assemble them into a poem. I walked around with my notebook and jotted down the titles that sounded interesting to me. This poem is the product of that exercise.

My sincere thank you and apology to those poets whose book titles I skimmed with my little net.

She Said

9 Sep

She said:
Hello, compadre
You have taught and changed me,
or should I say,
you have made me see something else
in myself.

Thank you. I appreciate your efforts.
Although, you can make a person sad,
you know?
You? Oh yes.
I know that you are sad, too.
But you see
we do not speak the same language.
You’re a man
and I’m a woman.
You understand that; preservation of the ego.
It really is important, though.
It protects us from knowing.
Well, Goodbye.
I have a feeling that you,
even though you have already experienced a lot,
have learned something, also.
You have learned
what you want me to learn.
Well, goodbye again.
I’ve suddenly realized that I’ve done all the talking.
It’s difficult to untangle words and acts.

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This poem was written 45 years ago by my father, Al Eyde. It was found on a type-written page among my mother’s old photos and papers. He wrote poems to her while they were apart for a few months, one cold winter in 1970.

My parents met in Guayaquil, Ecuador where my mother was a senior at the Catholic University. My father was a professor of English at the university, and my mother was his student. They knew each other for a about a year before they began dating, and were married in 1970. My dad flew back to the US and a few months later my mother joined him.

My father passed away 8 years ago, on Sept. 12th. Every year I try to remember him in different ways. I had never read any of his poetry or even knew that he had written any, so this year’s memorial is seeing him in a new light.

Viceversa

3 Sep

I am afraid to see you
I need to see you
I hope to see you
I have no hope of seeing you

I want to find you
I worry about finding you
I am certain to find you
I have no chance of finding you

I feel an urgency to hear you
joy in hearing you
the good fortune to hear you
and fears of hearing you

In other words
to summarize
I am fucked
and radiant
maybe more the first
than the second
and also
viceversa.

This is an English translation of the original poem written in Spanish by the Uruguayan poet, Mario Benedetti. To read the original click here.

Reflections of the Forge.

Reflections of the Forge.

A Naked Woman In the Dark

1 Sep

Original by Mario Benedetti
Translation by Lupe Eyde-Tucker

A naked woman in the dark
has a clarity that illuminates us
so that if a heartbreak occurs
a blackout, or a moonless night
it’s convenient, and even mandatory
to have a naked woman at hand.

A naked woman in the dark
generates a glow that gives confidence
the almanac takes a Sunday
the spiderwebs vibrate in their corner
and happy feline eyes
look, and never tire of looking.

A naked woman in the dark
is a vocation for hands
for lips is almost a destination
and for the heart is a robbery
a naked woman is an enigma
and deciphering it is always a holiday.

A naked woman in the dark
generates her own light and sets us on fire
the ceiling becomes a sky
and it is a glory to be unvirtuous
a beloved or shimmering woman
takes death apart once and for all.

 

Translation of Una Mujer Desnuda y en lo Oscuro by Mario Benedetti. The original can be found here.

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Much More Serious / Mucho Mas Grave

1 Sep

Original poem by Mario Benedetti
Translation by Lupe Eyde-Tucker

All the areas of my life have something of you
and in truth, that is not extraordinary
you know it as objectively as I.

Nonetheless, there is something I’d like to clarify,
when I say all the areas
I am not referring to what is now
to this waiting for you and hallelujah finding you
and dammit losing you
and finding you again
and hopefully nothing more.

I am not referring to your suddenly saying, I’m going to cry
and with a discreet knot in my throat I say, all right then cry
and that a lovely invisible downpour saves us
and perhaps that’s why the sun immediately shines.

Neither do I only refer to that, day after day,
the stock of our small and decisive complicities grows
or that you tenderly give me the gift of your most recent despair.

No. This thing is much more serious.
When I say all of the areas
I mean that, in addition to that sweet catastrophe,
you are also rewriting my childhood,
that age in which one says adult and solemn things
and the solemn adults celebrate it,
and you, however, know that won’t do.

I mean to say that you are rebuilding my adolescence,
that time when I was an old man full of apprehension,
and instead, you know to extract from that wasteland,
my seed of joy and with your gaze, water it.

I mean to say that you are shaking out my youth,
that pitcher that no one ever laid hands on,
that shadow that no one ever leaned their shadow against,
and you instead know how to make it shudder
until the dry leaves start to fall,
leaving the framework of my truth, without accomplishment.

I mean that you are embracing my maturity
this mixture of stupor and experience,
this strange confine of anguish and snow,
this sparkplug that fires up death,
this cliff of the empoverished life.

As you can see, it’s more serious,
much more grave,
Because with these and with other words
I mean that you are not only,
the beloved girl that you are,
but also the splendid or wary women
that I have wanted or love.

Because thanks to you, I have discovered
(you’d say it’s about time, and with reason)
that love is a beautiful and generous bay
that brightens and darkens,
depending on how life passes,
a bay where boats come and go,
they arrive with birds and anticipation,
and leave with sirens and storm clouds.

A beautiful and generous bay,
where boats come and go.
But you,
please,
do not go.

Overlooking Casco Bay, Maine.

Overlooking Casco Bay, Maine.

Epilogue

28 Jul

Truly, this: My thoughts
of you won’t leave the worn paths
carved within my heart

Our eyes, our mouths, locked
invisible caresses
skin to skin, linger

I meant everything
my silent lips have said
and more. Yes, there is more.

 

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Sometimes there is no clear path. There are many things I want to express, but at the same time I have to question myself: to what end?

Mincing words almost always leads me to haiku. This is a series of three haikus. Together they are but a scratch along the surface of everything I keep inside.

The last haiku is 5-7-5, but for aesthetic purposes I dropped the 7th syllable of the second line down to the last line. So, instead of a haiku, its a my-ku😉

Ode to This Moment

16 Jun

I cut my teeth
on the excuses made
for lack of performance

I cut my tongue
on the words
I never took the chance to say

crystallized thoughts
fiberglass shards of words
difficult, even though

all I want to tell you is
always, forever, and again
your pain is my pain

your joy is my joy
my abounding enthusiasm
quivers in your hands

your hands
your hands
your hands

Morning Pages

26 Apr

Writing morning pages
is cream skimmed off the top of
my thoughts, or pond scum.

Writing morning pages
is the pool boy, whose long net
catches leaves and dead bugs.

Writing morning pages
is your hands cupping my face
your eyes deep in mine.

Writing morning pages
is the clack clack of these thoughts
Ding! then hard return.

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A flock of haiku for the home stretch of National Poetry Month.

La Muchacha

15 Apr

Gisela la muchacha
called me Niña Lupita
though she was only
two years older than I

While she cooked and cleaned
I watched TV, after school
learning Spanish from telenovelas
Gisela, watching from the kitchen

Two teenaged girls, learning about life
the haves and the have nots
campesinas longing for joy in the big city
poor girl in love with the patrón, or his son

No one wants to explain
to a 13 year old gringa
why she’s not supposed to befriend
the 15 year-old maid

I knew Gisela had dreams
and they weren’t my laundry
she had no skills, and no money
her prospects were grim

How can you tell a girl like Gisela
get an education, when there’s none to be had?
And grow up in front of them
with a life laid before you?

I still remember Gisela’s shy smile
she’d hide it behind her hand
and after she left,
I tried to understand

to this day I still struggle
with the unfairness of it all
and it’s still hard to not be friendly
with the muchachas

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Guayaquil, a city of over a million people in Ecuador.

Ode to Sr. Mosto

14 Apr

My Algebra teacher
is 84 now, he lives alone
in the house downtown that he grew up in,
his mother and sister long gone

I’d love to sit with him in his parlor
hear him talk about his life
how 50 years of math
brought him purpose and joy

I would rejoice at recalling
his famous sayings, his
booming voice, weaker now
but still full of encouraging authority

And secretly I would hope for a pop quiz,
to prove that, despite years gone by
I still remember his exacting lessons
on how to make sense out of x and y

photos_cuarto_curso_mosto

My Algebra teacher, Sr. Mosto, with me (in the sweater) and tow of my best friends in 1987.

32 years ago, my Dad informed our family that we were moving to Ecuador for two years. He had been recently hired to be the new Director General of the American School of Guayaquil. I had mixed feelings about going, and leaving my Jersey shore world, but then again, I was 12. I asked him what it was going to be like, going to a new school, with all my classes in Spanish. He said, “You are going to have Mr. Mosto as your math teacher. He is an excellent math teacher.” Honestly, at the time, those words didn’t exactly excite me 😉

He was absolutely right, though. Sr. Mosto had a very clear way of explaining math. I still remember the way he formed his numbers in chalk on the board. He had flair, he had presence, discipline, exactitude, authority, efficiency, and an absolute command of algebra. He rarely got angry, and could handle a classroom full of 50 junior high students (yes, 50) AND give them an excellent base in mathematics without ever having to raise his voice. He simply and kindly commanded respect. Although he never received any formal training in teaching, he was one of those people that were born to teach. He taught at the Colegio Americano for well over 40 years, only recently retiring in 2008.

Mr. Mosto never married, and lived with his mother until her death. Now he lives alone, and at the age of 84 has medical issues, but remains alert and lucid. He pretty much has everything taken care of as far as his physical needs go. I know this because just last week, a fellow ex-alum, Tzely Shalev, got in touch with him. As he spends most of his days alone, with a godson helping him around the house, Mr. Mosto told her that he would love to hear from his students, and maybe some could even come visit him. So, she started a Facebook group and within a day had 1,700 members. Barely a week has gone by and now the group has about 2,600 former students, just from our school alone (he also taught evenings at a few other private and public schools).

Mr. Mosto has received hundreds of messages- and best of all- visits from students! On Wednesday a group of friends from my graduating class visited him and even gave him a tablet with data service so he could see all of the messages we had posted on his Facebook group, and set him up with a Facebook account.

When I look back at the teachers I have had that truly formed my intellect and gave me time-tested tools, Mr. Mosto holds one of, if not THE highest spot.

The outpouring of love and sincere desires to help from so many of my fellow alums is absolutely beautiful. What I am most grateful for is that the opportunity to do this has happened while he is still with us, when he truly needs it the most. All of this has filled my heart with indescribable joy.

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