Join us for the SPECTRUM 10: TOP TEN L.A. POETS OF 2017 Reading. I will be reading with the other poet finalist; Jackie Chou, Kimberly Cobian, William P. Cushing, Rich Ferguson, Jeffry Michael Jensen, Raundi Kai Moore-Kondo, Clint Margrave, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, and Carl Stilwell. We will be featured this Saturday at 3pm inside the Santa Catalina Branch Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd. in Pasadena.
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
“Not just Tomorrow, But Always”
Some days ago, David (My Husband) and I were in the garage listening to old records. Records he inherited from his late father. Carole King’s album Tapestry was playing in the background, and her version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” came on. We started talking about how sometimes artist write Answer Songs, a response song to another song. Bertell Dache wrote an answer song to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” titled “Not just Tomorrow, But Always.”
As the song continued to fill the dim lit room, I thought how poetry can many times be an Answer Poem. Sometimes it is as simple as our poems responding to other poems. For example, this past April, during poetry month, I found myself writing an Answer Poem to Mark Strand’s poem “Eating Poetry.” Although still a work in progress, the opening lines went something like this “I have been eating poetry/ haven’t eaten anything else/ have sat here for days/ my hair has become a nest for crows.” Other times though poems become an answer to hard questions in our life, answers to questions we refuse to answer, or answers to questions we never knew we were asking. In our poetry, we answer questions about things like our childhood, our family, grief, sadness, and love, love, love. I know my poems always seek to answer questions about my father, even though he has been gone for almost two years now, through my poems I am still trying to answer who he was. In my poetry there is also always this lingering answer to this melancholy, a melancholy that I carry with me always, and can never seem to shake. So, today, I ask that you think about the answers you find in your poetry, your writing, your life. What questions seem to always come up for you? What questions have yet to be answered? Or simply sit still, listen to what poetry has to say, because in the end, it will always reveal the truth. “Not just Tomorrow, But Always”
I will be reading tomorrow at CSUSB with my Coiled Serpent family of writers and other amazing writers. Details of the event are found below and on the attached flyer.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
CSUSB, Pfau Library, Room 4005
Potluck and Poetry Reading Celebrating Hispanic Poetry with Tia Chucha Poets from Los Angeleles reading from the anthology: Coiled Serpent: Poets arising from the Cultural Shifts and Quakes of Los Angeles, and Chilean poet Mariela Griffor, visiting us from Washington D.C. with her new breakthrough translation of Pablo Neruda’s CANTO GENERAL! The awesome Tía Chucha poets are Jessica Wilson Cardenas, Alejandro Molina, Anna Ureña, Erika Ayón, with our inspirational CSUSB alumnus, poets Rosie Angelica Alonso and Yesenia Bautista!
Sponsored by the Diversity Committee,
the Pacific Review and the English Department
At the beginning of last month, August 6th, was the third anniversary of my father’s passing. This year, having just put my Aunt Ana to rest as well, that grief that August always brings with it, came early. We laid my aunt to rest at the start of July, the grief was carried from July to August, it was like a subtle thunderstorm that never left.
I think about my father a lot. To this day I continue to write poems about him. He keeps appearing in my poetry. I remember when he first passed away, I didn’t write for a while. I felt this immense guilt for not completing my poetry book while he was still alive, because a lot of the poems were in large part about him. I felt I owed it to him. It also felt irreverent to write about him, as if writing about him, was not letting his soul rest. I also was frightened of the idea that since he had encompassed so much of my writing, that somehow I would not have anything to write about. In losing him, I had lost everything.
Slowly but eventually, I let go of this guilt, and last January, I completed the first draft of my poetry collection. I have learned to accept my father as part of my writing forever, People pass away but their memories, their essence of who they are remains. I mean what is poetry, if it is not the attempt to capture a memory and make it eternal. I have given myself the liberty to write about him, and it doesn’t feel irreverent anymore, I feel honored to keep his memory alive in my writing,
I’ve also come to realize that my father is still here with me, and not just in the guayabera shirts of his that I inherited and keep hung in the back of my closet. The ones that I pull out once in a while, when his memory becomes too much, and hold them close to me. They still carry his scent. He is everywhere. He still here with me, wanting to be a poem. The memories of him always find a way to become words on paper.