Sunday, January 9, 2005

Memoir


At Celia Woloch's reading at Cody's Books, Sharon Doubiago says she's writing a 900-page single space memoir and I'm afraid of anything longer than a thousand words. She wears golden butterflies on her ankles—curious signs of slavery and freedom. She's living in Berkeley now. Three weeks. It must be a record. But the road is an old lover.

1/9/05
added,rev. 9/17

Celia Woloch's reading at Cody's 1/9/2005


Celia opens her reading at Cody's Bookstore, as an homage to Sharon Doubiago's Hard Country. She read a poem called Late, she says she undressing the idea of choosing to be lovely by wearing an earring as a talisman.

She reads a pantoum about being bareback and how the woods were on fire we rode towards the flame with the sky and our mouths close to that danger, a list poem. She read My Mother's Birds. Sucha was a nickname, she raised chickens. Chocka was the sound of chickens and also the sound of the ax falling. She said, We could escape unlike the chickens.


Blink a child's tattered self-image: being called wool-lock, chink-eye, Saint Cecilia, here is how the world turns on itself, a girl...


Apres la Luna Miel, a love poem the, moon of honey, the sky of milk. Naming the hypothetical children and escaping from them. She does a play on slow children at play, a dyslexic moment, something I know too well. 

Another poem The Passionate Suitcase, for her Gypsy sisters. I believe the moon blink, the traffic of leaving then the night slams shut. Don't look back.

She reads from Tsigani, a book-length poem. My friend Ken Bullock and Celia took another epic Budapest train ride, which led to the poem I knew snippets of the story, then I hear the Gypsy history interpliced. The what if poem… what if I had no documents, no country… While waking into the dream of Budapest, my name in his throat like a jewel. 

Dien dobre, Polish for good morning. Celia told a story of how she was robbed, no passport. Someone said something about selling her to the gypsies, with no proof of country. I had grown thin on a diet of grief, consonants lost between languages. The neighbor, worn as a blade, eggs in his hands. Djen—day: eat what is offered in that light.

Proposals: Happy Independence Day another list poem. I don't know who'd who they think I am dressed in rags of wind with eyes of green fire.

Doren Robins says there's a tenuousness in Celia's poetry. Segue to Sholeh Wolpe, born in Persia, who said who said 10% of the people will never kill, 10% will always kill, the rest of us who will go either way. Then a reference to Hotel Rwanda, the idea of distancing oneself from the current governments of the oppressive. What one man will do to another. 

The Persian culture is now flourishing. But women get the raw end of the deal. They serve men. Condoleezza Rice is a two-man army on her own. In their writing and art they continue to serve men. Bomblets, not leisure, but sperm. Muslim fighters are given a key to heaven to paradise. The idea of the virgin paradise is sewn into his father's pants. Words have no need for light, they shine on their own. 

Afterwards we all go out for a meal at an Ethiopian restaurant and talk until the restaurant closes. The foggy night tightens its prison issue blanket about our shoulders.