Bathtub View


What the Water Gave Me Frida Kahlo

What the Water Gave Me, Frida Kahlo

I lie in the bath. The water is hot and I am grateful. I’ve lived without hot water so many years I tear up when slide into a hot bath.

The faucet drips. It falls into my bath, I try to feel that’s okay. The water will be used, enough water to serve two households on the other side of the world for an entire day, just for my pleasure.

The building’s water is paid for by the landlord.  He isn’t responsive to tenant concerns. I try not to think about this. It diminishes the experience and my choice. It doesn’t honor the water I’m submerged in.  I start to feel a little crazy. Why can’t I enjoy a bath without  sorrow for people who must risk death for a drink of contaminated water?

Other’s responses to times I was unable to keep my mouth shut surface. “If I have the ability to enjoy comforts why shouldn’t I?” “Denying yourself doesn’t change anything.” “You cannot save the world.”

Drip. Drip. Drip.



Day 19 in the United States of America





What the Robins Gave Me

Looking for Whales from the Amate.

Looking for Whales from the Amate.


At twilight, the primaveras sing a song they only sound at that time. It is a whale song, sonorous, one note suspended, traveling with palpable vibration. I couldn’t tell what kind of animal it was, a bird or a bug, the first time I heard it; with eyes closed, it was easy to imagine whales floating over the Piedra Rahada.

As wind through the corn in September sound like waves, and the rustling of amate leaves, with just the right breeze, in June, is indistinguishable from rain on a sunny afternoon; the primavera’s song reminds me– that everything is one. This is how I came to write the poem I recite this week. The robins gave it to me.


I am in cahoots with the wind
Imagine the Sailor!
I scarcely can I am afraid
Of depths

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

Embarrassed, I promise
Never to be so
Blindsighted again

To this same friend
I said, “I want to
Throw myself into the wind”

And did
For a half a life and back
This is what I learned there

The wind is with us
Inner zephyr
Maelstrom and middling

The door of breath swings
A screen in spring
And unabated

I just can’t help but say,
How can anyone not see?

That the wind
Are waves
And the waves
Are leaves
And the leaves
Are rain
And the rain
A breeze
The breeze
Is a whistle
The whistle
A bird
The bird
is a song
The song
A whale
The whale
An eddy
The eddy
A wave
The wave…




What gifts has nature given you?




FloodDebrisTlaya[1]Last week’s post was prevented due to deluge.  Two reservoirs above El Studiante were released causing extensive flooding of the Amacuzac river basin including sadly, Gaby’s ecestica and internet café. More tragic; a family of twelve and their home are missing. The death count is over 100 at present.

An Eyewitness Account:*
“There were bodies already bloated, cows and refrigerators, gas tanks and a roof you could tell the whole house was beneath, speeding down the river like contestants in a race. A store owner ran into her flooding business and emerged with a plastic bag full of cash– stacks of it, as she tried to escape the current caught her, the bag fell and the money spread like leaves across the water. The woman collapsed and had to be pulled from tide. All of us watching, gaped, amazed as so much money drifted away.”

I spent two days watching the rain, as news copters’ battered the firmament, grateful I wasn’t looking out at Chicago’s freezing drizzle, free to read without dread I would soon need enter the storm for reasons of commerce. Even the ever-industrious Felipe was forced to halt, and spent much of the second sloshing afternoon napping.
Our world is thick with water, what was dust is mud, what was a tickle a stream, and our stream a torrent. There is no surface that isn’t moist, verging on moldy. The first full day of sun will be spent turning out the lining of our home. Shafts of sunlight that pierce the cumulus constructions above are a drug I consume until I can no longer stomach the corpulent atmosphere, and retreat to the damp confines for more reading underscored by the vascular terrain.

From higher ground inundation elates
Westward, I am the cascada’s fury
soul plummet, tumble
beyond reason

To the east, creak bound
borne by elemental timbre
deeper than wisdom
baptism of vision

Bless the alchemists
wrestling metal heavy as greed
chinking divination’s hardened veins
while the mysteries lap the shore
of their dreams



*my source prefers to remain anonymous

© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer

Down the Toilet


I live in the desert
with a low bird
bath, everyone

doves and muskrats
Vireo, beautiful bandit
Bats drink up
side down

Armadillo, missing links,
fill their armor
trickle away, dank

The fuchsia dragon
fly, my hero, I sport
phosphorus limbs
in your honor

Everywhere the dark
and lowly, the dazzling
and mundane; all pay

Even those, with only
reptilian brains know
better than to waste
Holy water

© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer