In this collection the reader will find poems from different writers who are based in the United States of America. These poets shared their powerful writing pieces with us and, later on, they were asked to define womanhood in one word. The chosen words were remarkable and a reflection of their nature and their experiences as women: Persistence, Antigone, Courage, Topographies of Light and Shadows, Transformation, Bravery and Water. None of them used the same word to define it. These words could be used as a map and a cartography of the women of the twentieth first century. Being a woman also means to write as a woman. At La Ninfa Eco we invite our readers to celebrate the accomplishments of the female writers of the United States of America*.
Marj Hogan: Persistence Drywall In the scene where the hero chases our assassin through
[the marketplace, oranges fall all over, a chicken explodes into the air [left of center, and my mother whispers, “Who is going to clean that up?” This was a [running joke at our house: if in a film things fell apart, she would [suck her teeth and we could echo under our breath the inevitable [lament, Who…? in unison, because someone not particularly concerned with the conspiracy [or the car chase had only come to sell eggs, which become one more [casualty of the hero’s ego when a tent comes crashing down and the vendor gestures [uselessly after our assassin; or when elsewhere the cowboy shoves a [gunslinger through the plate glass window of the saloon, then rides away [without so much as picking up a broom; or the doomed lover who topples the [bookcase; or the rogue but righteous soldier in a Land Rover; the joke being [simply that he can, that after the action he’s gone, and someone else in [amazement or disgust is gathering the bruised fruit, the sawdust, the shards [of glass, the broken cups, like when a man punches a hole in your drywall, and you [think: Hey, not necessary; and also, I feel you, man; and also, Who is [going to clean that up?
Carolina Sánchez: Antigone Genealogy I foresee the bird dressed in black, it was my grandmother arriving from distant lands where solitude was a way of living. I foresee my grandmother bird landing in this moor orphan, foreigner, with sharpened silence, rigid stance under the Elizabethan collar. Austere, like a Protestant’s home in the country, aseptic and cruel. My grandmother realized early, she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t think; not allowed. She served her sentence, knowing the only thing allowed was to die. The bird carrying bad luck my grandmother was still stares the word with fright through my eyes.
Kelly Martínez-Grandal: Courage Fragile paper doll cut from the edge of dream, shredded the eye the terror. You have not chosen this destiny. Within you the sky’s shadow Where we could not see one another, exhausted hours, the afternoon and a desire to discover all of you covered the mouth, the hands. Swaying naked, body overcomed by years, birds where you did not say, white wound. No more violence giving birth to these lines, humiliating rage at not being you, veins glimpsed at the edge of a mirror where the shudder begins. From Medulla Oblongata. Translated by Margaret Randall.
Sarli E. Mercado: Topographies of light and shadows On the road to the red sea But now all these heavy books are no use to me anymore, [for Where I go, words carry no weight: it is best W.H. Auden To E. M. Nash The road will take you there, perhaps to me, she said There, at the beginning, a single fragile geography [it’s all you’ll find I’d listen in to the silent dissolution of the sea It will awaken you into the Unknown City I live now in exile from it! I am mad for it! Look now at that red dusty street lined with all those [wooden houses (don't forget to mark yours with your name) Yours, you’ll see it right behind the small white [Church. You do see it…! It’s indeed the beginning of shy humiliations and sunny [afternoons In it, the skinny white dog, Suliman, lays still under [your bed Waiting. It won’t be too far now: There! Look now at the great mango tree as your brother [falls ripe Just don’t look into the water well (his face floats in [it deeply at times) I too dislike it! I’d too run from it Better get back out to the street, she adds You and I, we’ll walk together the road to the sea! Is far too bright out here, I want to say, my skin [slowly sweating Yet, it hardly matters now as I follow the clumsy [childish feet into the distance Look, here I too stand now staring, it’s my bleeding [leg, she screams out The wound marks the flesh and I don’t want to cry. I, [don’t… I? The red runs dark and deep… deep into the red ground [from the flesh. Look at it! (Afterwards, they, we, all cried too. Waspan, San [Esquipulas, Krasa, …Asang All of them did, making us carve our own graves deep, [deep into the red ground. Perhaps… they did it because it was right on Christmas? Red Christmas, [we are, we were. Right? Right?) The scarred rogue sorrow comes quietly in the [small hour It is fine, her voice hardly there now, it’s only the [dusty road that pains yours eyes Here, come close and embrace me Softly smelling both sides of my saggy face, as if it [were for the first time Here, she whispered, come close embrace me, don’t kiss [me, no… This is how she, our grandmother, greeted us; this was [our way! I wipe my tears and feel the warm sand, my feet wet, [salty Red.
Masiel M. Corona Santos: Transformation TO BE BORN A WOMAN To be born a woman is a revolutionary act; It is to emerge out of silence, it is to break echoed patterns that bound us to [tradition. We as women of today, must learn and have learned to shatter crystallized essences of a historical gap that deviate our struggles. To be born a woman is to ignite, to ignite collective voices, become loaded cartilleras: sources of an open expression, empowerment. We have a duty to ourselves, but also to the others. We must hold each other as hermanas. Sisters, alive we have moved through real struggles, freeing ourselves from the confines and conditions of [history, bitter ends. We say no. We rewrite ourselves and by doing so, we change, we change we change. Roots of an evolving psyche we are. Long forgotten, we create a voice, a voice that emerges out of silence. To be born a woman is a revolutionary act.
Yarisa Colón Torres: Bravery The Trio: Billie Holiday, Harriet Tubman and Nina [Simone This scaffolding of bones never forgets to quiet down the ant’s nest on my forehead it thunders among the deceitful tongues and fixes broken crowns my root comes from afar and is in good company to my right walks a voice that smells like gardenias to my left a maroon from the underground railroad is leading quivering voices behind me a pianist in exile masters the art of improvisation facing forward among dead women I become a woman rowing on wavering feet I color shadows I sing and I spy on the light Translated by Mario Cancel Bigay
Silvia Goldman: Water the lesson of grief A woman dries up from the inside out Mary Hawley this is the lesson of grief a woman dries up from the inside out she is not another rib she is the table where someone [set the plates the floor is outside but from the corner it is a lamp falling disturbing the balance random a vowel appears and she grabs it her hand is too much within that purity it has a finger that flows toward her feet fills them and says to them i am also going to touch you even though it hurts she puts shoulders on the plates men who head for bookshelves but get lost first reading isn’t enough it doesn’t forgive you there are enormous ways to read give me your hard part your father part that water you put on the plate and it fell what’s below isn’t a tongue nor is it the slow yearning of gray it is a cry that splits your flesh in two we are on the bridges of this conversation you’ll look at me one more time before i jump Translated by Mary Hawley