Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Treats

How has it gotten to be Thanksgiving again? This blog is likely to be fairly quiet for a week, as it's time for family, a good time to unplug. I should be back to regular blogging on Nov. 30. So, in advance, happy Thanksgiving. And I've included some treats below the picture, where Blogger has quit letting me put in extra spaces between paragraphs, but hopefully my stanza breaks will continue to translate.

I'm now one of the bloggers at Voice Alpha, a site about reading poetry out loud for an audience. Tomorrow, my first post will go up! I can't link directly to the post, today, obviously, but when you miss me tomorrow, you might head over there to explore the site. Lots of good stuff to be found there!
And if you need a poem prompt, here's one that I've been playing with for a year. Invite a bunch of historical or fictional characters to come together for Thanksgiving--what happens? I've been playing with the idea of Biblical people. John the Baptist would bring locust and honey pie, and guests would get Martha (Mary's sister) tipsy so that she'd stop doing housework.
That poem isn't even close to being in a postable form. But here's a poem I wrote years ago, when I saw a child walking down the street with his mom, during a beastly hot November day. He held one of those drawings where you trace your hand and turn it into a turkey--he had a paper feather in his paper headband. I realized with a start how close Thanksgiving lurked. Out came this poem:
Indian Summer

Summer returns to us, unwelcome
guest. We flip the switch from heat
to air and wonder if Thanksgiving
in the age of global warming
will always be this warm.

The children trace their hands to create
turkeys. They argue over the proper
number of construction paper feathers
to include in Indian headbands.
No one wants to play a Pilgrim
in the school pageant. Founding Fathers
hold no fierceness. Far better to be a Brave.

I bake the same sweet potato dish
that goes back generations, back to the hills
of Appalachia, when my immigrant
ancestors must have wondered at their folly:
a different continent, a different tuber,
it’s still grubbing for food.

When I was young, I underestimated the strength
of my own spine. I wanted to join Indian Princesses,
sit around a fire, have a special, secret name, to participate
in rites created for white girls with no hip
heritage of their own for outsiders to exploit.

Now I long for my elders, dead too early
from those diseases of a life half lived
in poverty. They left me with a handful
of recipes, good gardening techniques,
and a lifetime of lonely rituals.

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