Ariadne’s Notes: I am back on the World Poetry Café Radio Show, CFRO 100.5 FM after a three weeks break. Thanks to Victor Swartzman and Diego Bastinutti for keeping the show going. We have been going through a lot of challenges with our electrical problems and are now in a hotel for an extended time. I am doing my best to keep up with all the wonderful e-mails and offers of help and prayers. Please be patient with me. I had hope to launch WP Media with correspondents from all over the world but will need to postpone this.
Last week, we had the honour of having an amazing guest call in and to help us celebrate our 21st year of being on the air. Michael read his poems talked about his life and even answered a question from a 14 year old Nigerian boy who wanted his advise about writing. The answer was greatly appreciated by the young man who sends his thanks. Also, we want to welcome Michael Mirolla as the new writer in residence at the famed Joy Kogawa house starting in November and hope we can do a welcome program for him.
*Photo: Happy New Year from Afghan Peace Poet Mahmood Jan in Kabul.
Michael Mirolla is the author of a clutch of novels, poetry collections, short story collections, and plays. He is a three-time winner of the Bressani Literary Prize. His novel Berlin was a finalist for the Indie and National Book Awards. The short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology; and “The Sand Flea” was a Pushcart Prize nominee. Born in Italy, raised in Montreal, Michael now lives in Oakville, Ontario. For more information: http://www.michaelmirolla.com. For an old WP Link:http://worldpoetry.ca/?p=11150
To a poet struggling to recover her words
Please note: this is not a metaphor.
In the spongy grey room, walls reticulated,
bony chair bolted to upheaving floor,
spotlight at 10 flickers per minute,
she sits. There’s a hole in the side
of her head. There’s a hole where they
extracted the over-eager building blocks,
the out-of-control tidbits of DNA.
The incisions were precise, one must assume.
But it didn’t prevent the words … her words …
from escaping into the sterile air.
Now, a saintly smile framing her face,
she sits in the bony chair inside
the spongy grey room with reticulated walls
and reaches out to recapture
the stray letters that may or may not
have survived without her tender care.
I sit across from her, spoon-feeding
alphabet strands into a hungry mouth
fearful that the words that have kept her whole
that have defined her
that connect her to herself
that have built this grey room
will be unable to make the return journey.
Please note: This has not been a metaphor.
Also, he read the following poem which is a favorite since I remember siting in a cave listening to my dad read Plato (The Cave) to us.
In The Cave of Lost Language
When rifling the pockets that hold
the day in thrall there is always
some thing that slips through the fingers.
No matter how tightly we grip
the fabric. Or fingernail dig
into its deepest corners. Is it
possible the contents change each time
we reach in? Or does the pocket
itself become altered by the hand
as it latches onto a fistful
of what was previously there
but is no more?
And then, one day
without warning, from hand to mouth,
the familiar phrases themselves
decide to come and go as they please,
shape shifting before they disappear.
And you’re prone to ask: What was … what is …
that word once so strong, so anchored
now fluttering out the window
like a stale balloon’s flaccid breath?
At first, you tell yourself: Worry
not. So what if within your grasp
“brother” of a sudden becomes
anaia and “crow” re-turns
to belex? As long as one word
simply morphs into another.
As long as reaching down dislodges
those helpful phrases you can use
as place-holders for who you might be:
wolf/hirpus tongue/osvache. As long
as those scratches, familiar or not,
re-appear on the wall at day’s end.
There is that comfort of finding
something … anything, is there not?
Until your hand comes up empty,
an open palm holding a blank space.
And your heart stutters and you grope
about in your Kline bottle pocket
in search of one word … one fragment
that you can inscribe … just one clue
that’ll keep you from vanishing.
Michael Mirolla (C) All rights reserved by the author.