Love is a Weed

Our Garden, Chicago

Our Garden, Chicago

Twelve years ago Felipe and I were married in a garden we revived from a syringe strew lot, next to our Humboldt Park apartment in Chicago. I didn’t realize we were building a personal metaphor with that plot.
We have adapted weed nature to survive in México, and sometimes it certainly feels that we have been pulled and burned and carted away. Still we stay and flourish. Tenacious as weeds, our flowers. This week I recite the fitting poems read during our wedding service.

I read To Dorothy at our wedding.

I read To Dorothy at our wedding.

To Dorothy, By Marvin Bell.
Love is a Weed, by Paul Casella.
Happy Anniversary my love.

Let Us Gather

Felipe Gathers with Flourish

Felipe Gathers with Flourish

I’m very happy to be back to my walking and memorizing, oddly I was nervous after such a long postponement, and as you’ll hear my wind has not fully returned.
I’m excited to have discovered a poet I was not familiar with, Juan Felipe Herrera. I love this poem, in part because it sounds a little like the dialogue inside my head, a mishmash of English and Spanish, giving advice to the world, though mine is not so eloquent.
Even Felipe liked this poem, and poetry is not his thing. So without further ado, please join me at Ytube for the 29th poem I have memorized for my year long project, Where I live: a Devotion to Poetry. Let Us Gather in a Flourishing Way, by Juan Felipe Herrera.

Perils of the Food Forest

Felipe and a constrictor living 15 meters form our house.

Felipe and a constrictor living 15 meters form our house.

Felipe decided to help me get caught up in the garden. I’ve fallen behind during my recovery. There were a few corners that I haven’t been to in quite some time apparently. This masaquata(anaconda) had taken up residence under my mulberry tree, fifteen meters from the house. Felipe disturbed its sleep and it came at him hissing. He said it scared him. I don’t need a whole hand to count the times Felipe has told me something scared him.
Perhaps you are wondering why he felt the need to kill it though.
Masaquatas are not poisonous, but they do have a nasty bite. They are constrictors and this one could definitely have made a meal of Chupa and Chico(her piglet buddy) who spend much of their afternoons napping in the garden. I also plan to house ducks in my garden one day, so, I’m sorry, but this predator so close to the house was not welcome. Had it been a bull snake, it would have been welcome to stay. We inhabit about an 1/8th of an acre of out of the Piedra Rahada’s 17, the rest is available to wildlife.
No, I did not skin it or eat it. I’ve never butchered a snake, though I’m sure I could have figured it out, snake butchering was too steep  a learning curve for the day. Rest assured there are a million other hungry organisms to make use of him.

The Center of All Beauty

The Amate. If you look closely you can see our tiny house behind it, and Felipe sitting in the crotch, just to give you an idea of its size.

The Amate. If you look closely you can see our tiny house behind it, and Felipe sitting in the crotch, just to give you an idea of its size.

 

Almost thirty years ago, a friend gave this poem and told me, “This reminds me of you.” I have carried it all this time. I’ve tucked it into my journal, pinned it on corkboards, hung it in cubicles, magnated it to refrigerators. Now, at the half way point of my personal challenge to recite 52 poems in 2014, I will recite it for you. Never before has the poem meant so much to me. For I am finally, here under the amate in the palm of the Sierra Hualta, truly, in the center of all beauty, writing and reciting these poems. Imagine!

 

 

Autobiographia Literaria

By Frank O’Hara

 

 When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls, and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out “I am
an orphan.”

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poem!
Imagine!

 

 

Thank you for listening.
What is your vision of the center of all beauty?