Thursday, October 10, 2013

Poems by Bobbi Lurie

Bobbi Lurie is a Mexican poet. She writes with a graceful ease. Her poems essentially define the expression of a person coming on terms with his own microcosm as well as the macrocosm. The lines are both a pilgrimage depicted, as well as a traveler sketched. The words are a majestic journey of exploration of the psyche of both the individual and the society. The poems at the same time portraying the polity of the society; also become the symbol of the disillusionment that has become the major characteristic of the modern times. — Anchit 

The arms of the trees open wide
We are here for such a short time
Do not imagine this dream is yours
a lotus grows in my throat
it is blue
i feel it blossom as
an old woman feeds me
sugar cookies
they are poison she says
her hands are etched
with cuts and scabs
her eyes are powder blue
they look through me like a lens
there is no such thing as a friend
in this world she says
people just appear
i see i am
people are just mirrors she says
the lotus in my throat
grows towards my forehead
It's the January sales
and I'm buying.
Trapped in the endless, airless halls,
nullified through the phosphorescent fluorescence
and the lonely beating of my thoughts,
walking behind all the girlfriends,
as I lug my bags, sorry already
for the weight of fashion.
And when I get home
I see other clothes hanging
hanging in my closet...
new, unused, reflecting all the places
I did not go,
the ways I was not seen.
And not until I lay naked in my bed
can I feel
the white longing in my bones
which can not be dressed.
He stares into the page, writes his name in red
letters, wipes his nose on the sleeve of his shirt, hopes
no one is looking. But the teacher looks up at him
then down, writes something quickly in her book. The boy
stares out the window, sees crows
                        standing on the lawn in a row.
Outside children ask:
Will you be my friend? Will you promise not to
talk behind my back?
             He does not understand.
He sees them huddled in groups, knows how it is to walk
outside them, how they talk in whispers,
twitter when he passes.
                         And that moment of relief
when they sometimes let him stand
                        in their midst. What they say
bores him. He can’t wait to leave, walk
into the open field,
                        the kindness of horizon,
the clarity of trees.
Wide open door into the closed room.
The way the child sits, the way
he moves his hands, the way he holds his pen,
she records this in her book.                                                 
Trampled grass sprang back when he walked
through the field to see her. But the boy can not
                                                spring back
as she takes notes on each of his gestures,
            as she consults her charts,
writes her report.
The room closes more.
She notes startle reflex in her book, writes
he is too quiet, unable to answer with eye
contact, does not answer my abstract
questions, is not animated like the others.
                        She sees a drowned face,
eyes staring forward from the bottom of a well, tells
his mother, call any time,
                        though it’s taken the mother months to see her.
There are support groups you can join, she says, as she jots
Autistic on the cover of his file,
            places it on her shelf, crammed with books,
looks away, checks her watch.
The boy walks alone through the field of children
and trees and basketball courts and balls and
screaming and jump ropes.
                        The air turns quiet as he leans
against the chain link fence, presses his body
against it as he watches cars pass,
telling stories to the tree,
            laughing at the tree’s response.
This afternoon I went to the jar, sank my finger in the honey.
No one saw me so I let the sweetness linger on my tongue.
At night I paint black around my eyes.
I wash it off at morning.
When everyone’s asleep, I draw on scraps of paper
I’ve collected, the backs of labels, edges torn from newspapers.
This is my secret.
Coming back from the highway with my brothers,
I dropped my spade, went to lean against the shed,
Heard Father’s voice coming from within.
He was laughing with Abdullah who says he’ll buy me
For three bags of wheat
When Father’s done with me.
When he does I’ll slash my body with petrol,
Strike the match like Laida did.
I watched those two fools empty a giant vat of honey
Into another vat, saw them pull out long tubes
They scraped with their hands, licked with their tongues.
Beneath the amber honey, I saw guns.
Father caught me looking, jumped off his chair,
His hands were claws dripping towards me,
Shoving me hard against the wall, grabbing me there.
Whore!! he screamed then spit on me.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak.
I covered my face.
Back in the tent
Mother was making lentils,
Hunched over the fire.
I pulled the spoon from her hand, stirred the pot
As if I were her daughter.
Today, walking with my brothers, I saw Bashir.
He was leaning against a wall, one leg missing.
I knew, still a shock went through me
Seeing the dirty rags tied around his stump, the blood dried,
What looked like pus.
And how he stood as if he had a leg.
Strange how we never speak
But I walk through him with my eyes,
Enter his hidden rooms.
He was speaking with Khangal about the enemy
But his soft eyes were blazing holes in me,
Forcing me to see the sky and trees with deeper color.
Khangal saw me looking, threw his spade hard against my leg,
The pain was so intense. I bled and bled,
Putting pressure on the wound with just my hand,
My burkha drenched in blood,
He pulled me up by my hair.
I burned in the part of me which was not hurt.
Tonight Father had guests. I heard them say
They liked the bread.
I baked it
While Mother took a nap.
She did not say
I baked it. She turned her back to me.
I feel sickness inside me all the time.
I enter the back rooms with my father,
Creep out like a rat trapped in its maze,
Seek escape in the next cage where Mother stands
Brewing the food, keeping us snared in this affliction called life.
And I think of our martyrs dying for freedom.
I would like to die for freedom.                                                                                             
But I am a woman
And I do not believe in the paradise Father speaks about
While he beats me with his stick.
But every day I keep collecting my scraps of paper.
And when everyone’s asleep,
I draw Bashir, his stump, my father with his guns,
My mother hunched over the fire, stirring lentils.
I draw them all out of me.
I open myself to the darkness.
I wait for night to speak.

 “The Book I never Read, poems by Bobbi Lurie, is one of those volumes that stays in your mind - the images, the stories, the observations - all of it piercing, honest and real. I keep waiting to see her poem Kabul in The New Yorker. In her fearless way she describes life for women in that hard land. And then there are these wonderful insights into our everyday lives, full of humor and her own special sarcasm, like Perusing the Fall Catalogue and Dreaming of a Better Life. Nothing escapes her - movies, family life, what it's like to stand by and watch people disappear into Alchemies and madness. I find her world fascinating and compelling and always look forward to the next volume.” — Joan Torres

“Bobbi Lurie's "the morphine poems" succeeds as language breaks through language metastasizes through the harboring of pain. The words spread across the page with a content all their own; uncanny, they haunt the body. Paragraphs of disorderly text are ordered; a poetics of life against death seeps through. This is an important and powerful book, concerned with illness that almost tends towards pathology of speech itself. The body refuses to disappear and the words simultaneously convey despair, heartbreak, and resistance. Bobbi Lurie writes unsparingly about sickness and wayward health in a brave and detailed cartography of body and biography, creating a work of brilliance and renewal. Everyone should read this book, which is everyone's journey, one way or another, a journey from life into life. It is a journey that is all too often shamefully hidden, a journey we need to contemplate and embrace.” — Alan Sondheim