Saturday 5 May 2018

3 Poems by Cristina Deptula


Eyes closed, hands clasped, breath in rhythm
questing inward to find truth, abandon attachment and ego

Time to yank up straw from arid fields
weave the strands into precious metals
and peer through the jewels of clarity
somehow crystallized from thin air.

Opening up in therapeutic conversation
my shaky feet fall through the water as I seek
to cross to the realm of inner understanding
and bring forth insight to feed thousands of hungry dilemmas
like making Stone Soup without the benefit of neighbors

placing myself in line at my own soup kitchen for the good of self and others

introspecting on a mat, on a chair, on a couch
finally doing what I'm told, confronting issues rather
than coping by window shopping for the ruby slippers
I know are beyond my budget
but whose heels I can simply click together
to find my own way home.
Inline image

I am from Hayward.

I am the person turned away from services when uptown nonprofits close early because the staff just learned at a retreat to make time for self care.
I am the person mocked, later, for being a fundamentalist religious fanatic and likely a Trump supporter, when I go to a local church instead to get the groceries I need.
And I am the person from whom Trump wants to make America safe again.
I am from Hayward.

I'm that bad rape survivor who won't report what happened because I can't have folks blaming me for being out at night. I need to work those long hours to feed my kids and don't need tension at home.
I'm the bad domestic violence survivor with their ex on speed dial. They're family, and I need their income after I got laid off for leaving work early to make it back to the shelter by curfew. And prison will only make them angrier.
I'm the bad environmentalist with a gas guzzling car I can't afford to replace, and no budget for organic food. Although I picked up trash by the creek and planted flowers.
I am from Hayward.

I'm the teenager in trouble with the law, failing school, needing to work to help support my family rather than preparing for jobs that no longer exist.
I'm the adult who had that job that no longer exists, when I was back in my country, but got turned away from minimum wage work here because of my shaky English.
And I am the senior citizen with wisdom to share who gets mocked as backward because I don't know the correct modern tech or social justice terms. And I am the family caregiver, tired of being asked when I will get a real job with a paycheck.

When you ask me to help your causes and fight for you, perhaps I will.
I'll lend my tired shoulders and worn out car and one more homemade casserole. Not because you asked, but because I choose to stand beside you.
I am from Hayward.

Spontaneous Grace

At this moment I experience the desire for spontaneous grace. For the rain that
holds off till ten minutes after your hike, for the extra five minutes a friend
waits until your arrival, for the extra twenty miles your car somehow runs until
the gas station.

For the soft edges on the too-metallic recliner, for the last three rays of the
sunset, for the directions you look up at the one coffeehouse where the public
computer actually gets Wi-Fi.

For the reason why some businesspeople stop and give change to a strange
homeless person, for the reason why a receptionist smiles and lets you in too
near closing time, for the reason why people share words of support and a few
bucks to folks online without asking for proof first.

For the mirror kind enough to break and shift your image in all the right ways,
for the dandelion in the cracks that escapes the neighbor's weed-whacker, for
the train that waits for you.

For the traffic cop who winks - just once - at the jaywalkers or the driver ten
or fifteen miles over the limit, for the single parent whose garage sale
customers tell him/her to keep the change, for the time your housemate who loves
angry talk radio actually switches on music.

For the gleam of a rainbow in the soap scum on your dishes, for the time when
your Mom actually doesn't open her mouth when there are still dirty dishes in
your room, for the reason I still do favors for a friend everyone says could do
more for herself.

For home, for love and memories, for the grace notes at the end of the symphony.
For the extras which get and keep us up in the morning. For spontaneous grace.

-- After the concept of 'Spontaneous Prose' and dedicated to Jack Kerouac, Neal
Cassady, Edie Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and Diane Di Prima.


Cristina Deptula, poetry and prose writer from San Francisco's East Bay Area, literary publicist, former science and technology journalist, and fan of international literary fiction.

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