An introduction to Poetry of Remembrance/Poesía del Recuerdo 2020 (and two poems) by Sonoma County Poet Laureate Phyllis Meshulam.
One Boy Who Cried, Un Niño Que Ha Llorado Día de los Muertos, 2018, the year when thousands of immigrant children were separated from their families at the border. 2018, año en que a miles de niños inmigrantes los separaron de sus familias en la frontera At the time of year of the dying sun, when the time of day was night, a year when many families were un-membered, met for a Day of the Dead commemoration. Día era noche y I stood with my student before the crowd en la fiesta del Día de los Muertos, rodeados por papel picado azul y rosado, beloved faces in frames, sugar skulls. Con mi alumno, ante la multitud, I read of my own mentor who gave up her ghost in May. Surrounded by paper lace, framed faces, calaveras de azúcar, my boy, reading homage to his grandma, cried, could not go on. Hablé de mi mentora, que todavía me persigue. Reading of his abuela’s empty bed, el niño se atragantó, no pudo continuar. I read the end – about the fire of his grief. La cama de su abuela ahora vacía, his aunt materialized beside him, held him. El fuego de su dolor aún lo consumía. but we all began to dance, to conjure: nuestros seres queridos se materializaron a nuestros lados as we ate bread of the dead, drank horchata like mother’s milk. Conjuramos amigos, padres, mentores para que bailaran con nosotros otra vez Later, many told me the boy’s tears had crystalized their loss. Comimos pan de muertos, bebimos horchata como leche materna, en la estación del del año del sol moribundo. Para muchos, las lágrimas del niño cristalizaron su pérdida in a year when families more than ever needed re-membering
A Book of Ruths My mother’s name was Ruth – Ruthie at affectionate moments from Dad. Ooie, originally from the neighbor baby who couldn’t yet say her rs, then for years used as a tease. Less than 30 years after women had gained the right to vote, Mom lay in a hospital bed in Illinois, having just given birth to me. She had to beg to get a ballot – absentee. If those Republican doctors had known how I was going to vote, they never would have granted my wish, she once mused. It was a close enough election that The Tribune got the headline wrong the next day. But, in truth, her candidate had prevailed. Mom died a couple years after RBG was seated on the Supreme Court. I know she must have felt relief at someone in power who saw the feet on the necks of her generation of women. Justice Ruthie was about the same height as my mom, a little thinner, born a couple decades later, but she, too, knew how women had been undermined and misused for millennia. RBG was asked what the right number of women on the Supreme Court would be and she answered – I thought I heard none at first, but it was definitely nine. Spunk. Mom had sweetness and some spunk. RBG had both in spades. Spunk in defense of equal rights under the law. Ut sit. May it be so.
“Eliza Ya Se Ha Muerto” performed by Jabez Churchill
“Voces (Voices)” by Jabez Churchill
“La Llorona” performed by Jabez Churchill
“Say Their Names/Diga Sus Nombres” by Sandra Anfang
Say Their Names Black Lives Matter marches We march from distant points at opposite ends of town converge on the fairgrounds three miles separate us though it might as well be a continent we have no barrio to speak of but it’s no secret that the east side is the bedroom of the working class side by side with twenty-somethings we punctuate the air with fists and signs say their names: Breonna Taylor say their names: George Floyd say their names: Eric Garner while dopplered car horns answer a man emerges from a sunroof flares a Mexican flag like a giant kite his face a dueling ground of joy and tears the horns continue their applause say their names: Sandra Bland say their names: Stephon Clark say their names: Jacob Blake at the fairgrounds we learn what it takes to understand a people’s pain the ways to offer service and respect to sisters black & brown— what books to read what films to watch a syllabus in getting woke before we disperse we take a knee a simple act humbling & quaint as if proposing to the world in all its rainbow beauty will you take me as I am for better & for worse say their names: Philandro Castille say their names: Tamir Rice say their names: Michael Brown Diga Sus Nombres Caminamos de puntos distantes En partes apuestas del pueblo Nos encontramos al recinto ferial Hay tres milias de separacion Entre nosotros Pero parece como continente No hay barrio distinto Pero todos saben que el parte oriental Es la habitacion de las clase media. Lado a lado con los jovenes pertubamos el aire con punos y carteles de protesta diga sus nombres: Breonna Taylor diga sus nombres: George Floyd diga sus nombres: Eric Garner mientras las bocinas responden un hombre se pone de pie en un coche vuela una bandera Mexicana como gran cometa su cara un campo de alegria y lagrimas continuan las bocinas diga sus nombres: Sandra Bland diga sus nombres: Stephon Clark diga sus nombres: Jacob Blake al recinto ferial aprendimos que es necesario para entender el dolor de la gente: como ofrecer servicio y respeto a nuestras hermanas negras y marrones que libros leer que peliculas mirar un programa de estudios antes de salir nos arrodillamos un acto sencillo humillante y pintoresco como proponiendole al mundo en su belleza arcoiris me tomaras como soy para bien o para mal diga sus nombres: Philando Castille diga sus nombres: Tamir Rice diga sus nombres: Michael Brown
“Tucker McMullen” by Eva Corbin
Tucker McMullen- 1959-2020
Kind and Gentle Spirit
Generous, Loving Heart
Devoted and Steady Friend
Supportive, Caring Father
Delightful “Happy Go Lucky” outlook on life
Thank you for sharing these parts of yourself with us;
We are forever enriched by it.