Tag Archives: new jersey

Rules of Engagement

11 Feb

Thanks to the Baltimore Review for publishing my poem, Rules of Engagement in their Winter 2018 online issue! It will also appear in print in their annual magazine. I hope you take a minute to visit their site and read it! I am overjoyed that it has found a home.

In October 2016 I heard Claudia Rankine read from her book Citizen at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ. This poem is the offspring of that experience—her work put me in touch with the feeling of helpless rage that I had long ago buried. I had to bring these experiences out of the silence of forget, and give myself the voice I was never allowed to have.

Reading Rules of Engagement at the Asbury Hotel

That’s me reading my fresh poem in my blue motorcycle jacket at the Hear Me Roar Open Mic at the Asbury Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ. October 23, 2016.

The night I wrote the poem, the last night of the 2016 Dodge Poetry Festival, I went to the Asbury Hotel in Asbury Park to write. There just *happened* to be an open mike night there that night. I was writing furiously in my notebook my thoughts from the weekend, and the poem literally wrote itself into my notebook as a journal entry.

When I realized that people were getting up and reading poems – I looked at what I wrote and thought maybe I could put it into verses and do a sort of spoken word poem— i’d never done that before, but it had an undeniable rythym to it…

It took a lot of guts to ask the emcee for permission to read it, and then actually get up in a room full of strangers and read it. The beautiful Susan Rosenberg came over while I was there, and witnessed this whole thing happen. And she took a photo of me reading the very, very rough first draft of this poem. It was a huge turning point for me. I’d never written or even talked about this stuff ever before, let alone write a poem on the spot and read it to a room full of strangers.

 

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La Gringa

13 Apr

Mirame a los ojos y dime de donde vengo
quienes son mis padres y cual es mi nombre

Lupita Maria, me dices, bella como tu madre
pero disculpame, como diablo se pronuncia

el apellido de tu padre? y cuando
abres la boca nadie te entiende

People look at me and ask
where do you come from?

and I know there will never be
a simple answer to that question

my face does not match
my name does not match

my voice does not match
it’s a trifecta of confusion

you must be Native American
I say I am of the tribe of New Jersey

But you don’t have an accent,
what exit? they smirk

105 and 109, I reply
with authority and pride

So where did Lupe come from?
It’s my mother’s name

Is she Mexican?
No, she is Ecuadorean

Oh, that explains it
the Incan connection

your English is so good
I’ve been speaking it since birth

but their eyes have glazed over
and they will never really know

who I am, and most importantly
where I come from

image

Goodbye, Jersey

17 Apr

Goodbye, Jersey

(inspired by Goodnight, Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown.)

The sun is high
The air is still
And everything that will be,
will.
Cars racing on the GSP
and the lady conductor asking, “tickets, please.”

Summer, trees, hydrangeas
Cool ocean breeze and jughandles
Every town in descending order,
and memories calling
from every corner

Goodbye, Jersey
Goodbye, Shore
Goodbye all the Wawa stores

Rt 35 & 36
Radio stations’ eclectic mix
Beginning in Red Bank, on the Navesink River
and traipsing around the state together,

Gingerbread houses in Ocean Grove
Twin Lights beaming from above,
Like an old, cherished love,
“You have not changed!”
(never will!)
Yet, the train moves forward, still.

Goodbye, Jersey
Goodbye, Al
Goodbye horses, farms, and cows
Goodbye ocean breeze, and salty air
and Jersey Girls everywhere.

Copyright 2012 Lupe Eyde-Tucker. All rights reserved.

Ocean Grove, NJ

Ocean Grove, NJ

I did not write ‘Goodbye, Jersey’ during NaPoWriMo 2013. I wrote it last summer after visiting New Jersey, specifically MoCo, and reconnecting with friends and places where I grew up. It was a great trip, and on the last day, as I was waiting for the train from Red Bank to take my mother and I to Newark Airport, all of the sudden the first lines of this poem just popped into my head, and I started writing it, literally on the train schedule. As we took our seats, verses and phrases kept coming to me, and I pulled out my notebook and started just writing it all out. It was a spontaneous poetic moment which I am still awed by. A couple of months later the entire state was slammed by Superstorm Sandy, and Monmouth County was devastated. I originally posted this poem on my blog, http://www.thenewjerseygirl.com.

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