Hasta Luego


I live in Mexico, and have been visiting the states for about a month. I return home tomorrow and as always I feel it is just in the nick of time. I will not have internet service when I return and so will not be able to post poems daily, though I will continue to write daily and post them here as soon as I make it back to civilization.

I am really enjoying this challenge and a part of that is due to your support through your likes and comments. For those of you who have just followed vsvevg I do my best to post once a week and I will continue with that schedule throughout the next six months. Many thanks to all for reading, paz, Abby

A poem from the archives.

The Density of Things

when there is nothing
to do is when you feel it most
when there is no prize
to drive you
then you know
life how it presses
with all it’s sound

disinterested, concerned
ongoing, fatigued
no weather can save you
since mother spit you out
and gave you the loaf

cradled in your arms
hefted over one shoulder
shifted, from one arm
to the other

Chicago Il. April 10th 2013 Napowrimo day 10

© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer

Maps and Legends

old-world-map[1]A lot of people don’t like poetry. What many of them tell me is, “I don’t get it”, which makes sense because poetry is its’ own language. The host language is used as a tool to create a personal communication between the poet and the mysteries. Ideally, an effective– an inspired poem, transcends the host language.

I started writing poetry in my tweens after reading… I wish I could say Rimbaud or Whitman, but no, it was Rod McKuen’s, Listen to the Warm.


That was all it took. The suggestion that warm can be heard, crystalized for me all that I had been trying to understand about metaphor. Of course, I also believe that warm can actually be heard, which puts me in the transcendental  poets’ camp I suppose.

Thus, the crux of my mission as a poet: to use language as a tool to transcend language, to break the bonds of representation with symbols– to reveal the paradoxical truths.

The fun part how you use your tool. For example, I love commas. Here is an example of coma usage I was really excited about.

Home, away from Home

Why?( I promise this is the only time I will ever impose explanations of my poetry on you, but it is for a higher purpose.)

Because the comma changes the meaning of this well-known phrase from–when I am in this other locale, it feels similar to being at home, to —being in this locale and the other locale are the same.  The poems meaning; violence in the U.S. and violence in Mexico are equally horrific and by correlation- do not differentiate violence, violence is horrific, is foreshadowed with this simple punctuation. All that from a little comma, if I was successful with the rest of the poem that is.

Recently I was looking at the statistics page of my blog and I noticed that people infrequently click on the links in my posts. Clicking, in “wordpresspeak” means clicking on a link within a post. As I contemplated that, I realized the similarities between links and the tools I use in poetry.

Although many links are pretty straightforward explanation buttons, they are also used by a blogger to create more content depth within a limited format. Many bloggers have a standard word count, frequently 500 words. I shoot for a thousand or less, because I often tell stories, and for me one thousand words is more suitable for storytelling. Still, it is sometimes difficult to get the impact I want within that parameter, and that is where the photos( such as this Don Quixote reference) and links come in.

For example, this is a favorite link, Espanto, from Dinner and a Swat Team. If you read this link you will learn that the Chamula Indians of Chiapas believe humans have 13 souls including one which resides in a wild animal called a wayjel, and that soul loss can occur due to a fall or seeing a demon on a dark night. They also believe that animals and trees have souls, a belief not incongruous with those of a transcendental poet.

Some links are like a map; follow this road and you will reach this destination, a point A to point B situation. But some links are like the map’s legend,— it is a key, and that is where links, like poetry can lead you off the beaten path…come with me

Do you click? Why? Why not?

And  just for fun   Maps and Legends

A couple of interesting articles if this post got you in “clicking mode”

A View from the Top

Once I complained to a friend

about mountains

“They’re always in the way

Of the horizon”

“Yes, but what of the view

From the top”

She whispered

our sunrise

That friend was Cheryl Larsen , and it’s a perfect example of the kind of impact she’s made in my life. Cheryl was the first person to look at my art and say, “that’s cool” not, “what’s that?” She influenced my eye and methods by introducing me to the art of Tina Mondatti, Frida Kahlo and Cindy Sherman. She gave me Jon Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation, and she’s held my hand, assuaged my fears, and been my cheerleader for the last year as I learned my way around VSVEVG.  I love and thank you Cheryl.

VSVEVG was one year old on February twenty fourth, boasting eighty-eight posts, hundreds of comments, likes, shares  and follows. I must say, it really has been just wonderful.  The amount of support I have received has awed and humbled me.

I’ll be writing another year of VSVEVG with a view from the top. read the rest of my poem Cahoots here

Like! Share! Follow!

Paz, Abby

To commemorate this anniversary I am reposting a revised Dinner and a Swat team, an early post, I still consider one of the best and most relevant.

Technical Difficulties

Recently my 1 year internet stick contract expired. Since I am not much for details and neither is Telcel, I didn’t realize this until it occurred and I was left without service,(though they did accept my payment for the month) which is why I haven’t been posting.  But it makes for a good opportunity to talk about an aspect of Mexican life that I used to find infuriating, and now find endearing, because of the change it has created in me.

Telcel is one of the world’s largest wireless communications providers, and is Mexico’s largest provider. Dealing with them is like bartering with a cantankerous old vender at a flea market that thinks all of his goods are treasures– but a lot less fun.

I was disconnected in my first month of service because no one could tell me when my payment was due. I made the logical assumption and paid before the date I signed the contract, after I tried emailing them and received no response. When I called to find out what happened they informed me that all payments were due before the 11th. “Why didn’t the person that sold me my equipment know that?,” I queried.

“I can’t provide you with that information Senora” he stated (roughly that which the woman who sold me the stick said when I asked when the bill was due.)  She’d suggested I email them.

Felipe is now at a payphone negotiating the retrieval of our service. Why a pay phone? Because you cannot contact Tecel cellular phone service provider by cell phone! That is the truth, and it is a telling (and funny) one in regard to services in Mexico.

In the past I would have been ranting, indignant and livid. I would have railed at the innocent service representative and my outrage would have accomplished nothing but sending a sickening wave of vitriolic negativity through my body and into the world.

(this is me catching some signal about a ½ mile from my house, my usual place to post vsvevg)

my office

Mexico has given me this simple but incomparable gift.  The understanding that in this moment what is– simply is. And it is my choice how I react in each moment to create a favorable outcome for the next.  I can now do that from a place of peace, mostly 🙂  I was a hard case, it took many crazy episodes of Mexican Mayhem to cure me, but Mexico has been nothing if not patient with me.

In closing let me say, I have a couple of posts in the wings, but if I don’t get to my comments in a timely manner, please remember that I am on Mexico time.  Paz, Abby