Presenting engagements (including reviews) of poetry books & projects. Occasionally there will be Featured Poets, as well as offerings from "The Critic Writes Poems" series. Deadline is ongoing: reviews will be posted as submitted and accepted. Please engage!
Saturday, October 20, 2018
THE CRITIC WRITES POEMS: LENY M. STROBEL
Four Prose Poems by Leny
859I forgot a girl singing
forth her benedictions: May you never grow intimate with cold ashes and burlap.
May you never feel tar and black feathers. May you know what I saw through… flames.
I’ve come to believe that
everyone on this planet has been infected with the virus of War – those who
wage it may have rationalized it but they suffer the most.
Sometimes I feel like an
alien. I can’t relate to Hollywood and television, movies, sports, games, etc –
it’s not just age – it’s the whole premise behind these.
I feel like the indigenous
person brought out of the Amazon to the big city only to exclaim: How can
Mother Earth be repaid for all that’s been taken from her to build this?
I feel lost in this
And yet we still offer
benedictions. And we offer a place for friends to commune and enjoy a home
cooked meal. To sit around and laugh and to praise and to offer gratitude.
Benedictions for peace,
For the overcoming of
For the judgment that is
not ours to make
For the choice of
releasing anger and worry
For the choice of having
Joy as compass (Pat McCabe)
537I forgot strolling outside to hear
When I decided that I was
going to learn what it means to be indigenous I had to get over my prejudice
against tree huggers. Stereotype of a white hippie, earth-loving,
earth-serving, new ager. I always knew that when I’m critical of something, it’s
exactly what is calling me.
So one day as I walked
around Spring Lake I decided to hug trees. The redwood is big and solid; with
its straight trunk all the way to several hundred feet high, my arms wouldn’t
even reach around its girth/width but I lingered and felt the surging of
energy. Bussing, tingling, and co-mingling with my own energy. So this is what
it feels like to fall in love with a tree!! Then I hugged a second tree – it
might have been an oak – I should really find out for sure – this one has a
different energy – it was softer, smoother, gentle – I could tell the
difference between the two.
Since then I’ve hugged the
apricot and apple trees in our garden. I talk to them when I’m sad. Sometimes I
would just sit on the ground and my back against her trunk.
Andreas Weber speaks of
this biology of enchantment and enlivenment – to begin to understand that all
these non-human beings have a desire to be alive and to be in relationship with
us; that our own identity is bound up in this reciprocal relationship.
It is real and I am
growing this experience day by day.
10It was a different time. I forgot there
is always a different time, even within the span of an hour (or less).
Soon, I’ll be referring to
my academic life as belonging to a different time. But if I am to keep
asserting that I am not a Time Being…and if I were to not talk about Time at
all, what story will I tell?
I keep saying “Flow” these
days referring to my experiences/my life as a gentle flow that has been carrying
me all along like a river. Yes, I would like to keep this metaphor.
How does a River live her
life? Sometimes she fights to breathe as she chokes on the toxic dumping from
all sources – industrial wastes, human waste, chemicals…
In other places where she
flows away from cities, she may be breathing a bit easier but if the source,
like the Himalaya’s melting ice caps, the downstream flow may not be enough to
support the spawning of salmon.
I am River, too, flowing
downstream. I have held canoes and fishing poles and kayaks and houseboats and
rafts made of bamboo held together by rattan.
When Rain falls, the River
swells and runs faster and rolls over and tumbles over. There have been times
in my life when I felt the same way.
I’ve had dreams of floating
down river on the back of a crocodile.
See when I don’t think
about Time, when I don’t see thru Time, all these images come visiting wanting
to befriend me.
Let the River flow.
583I forgot eyes widening to pull in more of
But then what do you do
when you take in the world and become overwhelmed and discouraged by the
anthropocene era and its hubris. Some would say this is part of the process of
the cosmos dying, decaying, reborn, recycled, expanding, appearing,
We are not used to
grieving or witnessing these processes from a post-human, post-activist, new
materialist lens. We aren’t used to imagining outside the box perspectives.
This afternoon I watched
videos of rich Asians from China spending and buying up Vancouver, Australia –
sending daughters to college in the US – going to City College driving
Lamborghinis, buying up condos and real estate and locals couldn’t afford to
descending on America.
Americans, on the other
hand, are leaning to the East via spiritual traditions, Buddhism, Taoism,
meditation, qi gong, yoga, acupuncture, Vedanta, kirtans…
I’ve always said this:
someday the West will become spiritual and the East will become more
Either way it will not
stop the advance of climate crisis
_________ Author's Note: Each of these were written after a line from Eileen R. Tabios' MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION(MDR). MDR contains a "data base" of 1,167 poetic lines, thus the number to the referenced lines.