The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday


The Prisoners of Saint Lawrence
By Martín Espada


Riverview Correctional Facility,
Ogdensburg, New York, 1993


Snow astonishing their hammered faces,
the prisoners of Saint Lawrence, island men,
remember in Spanish the island places.

The Saint Lawrence River churns white into Canada, races
past barbed walls. Immigrants from a dark sea find oceanic
snow astonishing. Their hammered faces

harden in city jails and courthouses, indigent cases
telling translators, public defenders what they
remember in Spanish. The island places,

banana leaf and nervous chickens, graces
gone in this amnesia of snow, stinging cocaine
snow, astonishing their hammered faces.

There is snow in the silence of the visiting rooms, spaces
like snow in the paper of their poems and letters, that
remember in Spanish the island places.

So the law speaks of cocaine, grams and traces,
as the prisoners of Saint Lawrence, island men,
snow astonishing their hammered faces,
remember in Spanish the island places.

--------

From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in the Sunday Washington Post Book World. Latino poet Espada, whom Hirsch compares to Walt Whitman, "believes that the pursuit of social and political justice can and must be joined to the quest for art...and writes a fiery, impure, earth-tinged, human-centered poetry."

Espada, adds Hirsch, writes about "those who don't usually find their way into literature -- the unsung and marginalized, the overlooked and forgotten." The title poem of his new book Alabanza is in tribute to 43 restaurant workers who died on 9/11:

Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, Republica Dominicana,
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
Alabanza.



Survived the first day of Hebrew school and soccer for younger son; today is older son's first day of Hebrew school. Then my parents have volunteered to take them to the Orioles-Yankees game in Baltimore, so apaulled and I have been left on our own for the afternoon now that soccer and Hebrew school have ended for the day. We are going to see Vanity Fair in a little while. Yesterday afternoon was the last day my parents' pool was open for the season, so they took the kids while we went shopping for necessities. May I just note that I adore Target's bargain racks and found an entire outfit for Rosh Hashanah for under $10? And then we all had pizza together.

Surprise, since it's been awhile...Viggo spam. The Washington Post reports that Viggo Mortensen's color and black and white photos will be on display locally at Addison/Ripley Fine Art in September -- the ghost dance exhibit perhaps? The web site has no information whatsoever. office_ennui, as my local art expert, can you shed light on this mystery? Also, since I'm viggospamming already, from this morning's Parade magazine, the Personality Parade column:



And since I am obviously in a dork mood rather than serious enough to talk about the New York Times editorial on Jews in America or to post my thoughts on the assault weapons ban, from chrismm by way of undone, "Rate My Schlong!" Not work safe. Not kid safe. Cuz, you know, penises. And, below, LJ Wedding Spam!

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date of the weddingJanuary 28, 2050
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