Tag Archives: poem

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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Año Viejo

1 Dec

My poem, Año Viejo, was published in the Fall 2017 issue of the Naugatuck River Review.

 

Año Viejo

Año Viejo was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Across (a cento)

15 Jun

ACROSS

Leaping-
free fall, airborne

suspended
reckless, open innovation

that mysterious thing
opening and closing.

Scenes, lying there
waiting, not explaining.

An insatiable fascination
with language,

selfless reverence
to make it come alive,

my palm
against her palm.

A post shared by Lupi (@thenewjerseygirl) on Jun 4, 2017 at 6:30am PDT

Sunday morning, June 4, 2017 was the first official day of the Bread Loaf Translators Conference in Ripton, VT. Our very first craft lecture was by Idra Novey, and this poem is a cento from her lecture. Idra is a poet, novelist, and translator from the Spanish and Portuguese. Her lecture was a perfect beginning to the conference, because she encapsulated exactly what it feels like to be a translator, with humor, insight, and heart. Thank you, Idra! On a side note, she is also super cool and fun to hang out with, and I wish I got to hang out with her more 🙂

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.

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.

Ode to Sr. Mosto

14 Apr

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

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

I’d rejoice at recalling his
infamous sayings, his booming voice,
weaker now, yet still resonant
with encouraging authority

And secretly, I’d hope for a pop quiz,
to prove to him I finally did learn
how to locate life’s unknown variables
only using x and y

photos_cuarto_curso_mosto

My Algebra teacher, Sr. Mosto, with me (in the sweater) and two 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.

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

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