The Newark Riots ~ 50 Years Later

This week marks the 50th anniversary of a very sad time – the Newark riots. I remember them well. There was a curfew, and when I looked out our apartment window – National Guardsmen rode by in a jeep with rifles leaning against their chests. I was nowhere near the terror-stricken interior but inhaled the tension. This was my home city, and I was 14 years old. I wrote these tanka poems in hindsight and they were published by Modern English Tanka Press in 2009, 40 years after the fact. Newark still suffers:
 ~
forty years
after the riots
three students slain
“no apparent cause”
again, this blistering heat
~
born to love
born to hunt
we do what we do…
all the songs all the poems
nothing changes this
~
coming in on
a soft summer breeze
tickling my necking
and dropping down low —
this sadness for what
 ~
warm nights
I undress by an open
window   wondering
what is freely given
               freely taken
 ~
© Andrea Grillo
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New York New York

The New Fancy 

after an article by Joyce Cohen in The New York Times: March 26, 2017
The Hunt — Self-Employed Artists Find A Home Without Wheels

 

She a drummer
he plays guitar and acts.
They both sing
“misfit pop” tracks.

The couple rolled into NYC
in an ’82 Volkswagon camper
landing in Bedford-Stuy, Brooklyn,
rough around the edge but not cramper.

As self-employed artists they filmed
“Consumer Comments On Vegan Mayonnaise”
(cannot make this stuff up)
neither a critical success or a campy craze.

Always looking on the bright side,
they searched for an affordable rental:
750 sq. ft. in central Harlem — its windows covered
with paper, certainly to these two, nothing detrimental.

On a clear day
it’s off with the paper for plenty of light,
while the bathroom faucet growls on and off
frightening away critters throughout the night.

The water pressure is so low —
one neighboring wifi network is aptly named,
“NoWaterPressureHere,” thus insuring
urban wit and creativity, above all, take aim.

“It’s better than the wheels,” so they say
and certainly not permanent.
As artists seeking gritty New York,
now all they have to do — is pay the rent.

ag ~ 2017

 

 

Oh What A Wonder!

April

So much waiting to be born.
Blackberries not yet on the

bramble path, much less so
sweetening tarts and tongues.

Spring peepers chippering
moonlight — oh what a wonder to

be the pond that enjoys such a
buxom chorus. Sap waiting to

rise in rabbits and wolves  —
their winter stains bled and shed

for the next generation’s fur and
teeth. Wood violets and dandelion

laboring earth and leaf debris
— no less faithful the insects and

breezes that scatter their seeds
and gaiety. Wide vees of geese

to unzipper sky of cloud and fog,
percussing wings and wills of

summer grazing across fields,
streams and highways. Green,

pink and yellow ready to stir
northern gardens into tulips,

roses and corn. Yeast with water
and wheat rebirthing warm and

wrinkled hands — rises and yields.
Rises and yields. The soft dough

braiding Spring into Easter Bread,
Babka and Challah.

April…
so much waiting to be born.

 

AG ~ 2017

 

Stella! Stella! Stella!

I ~ Stella

The storm becomes her name.
Hey, Stella.
Or should it be Blanche?
Charm is 50% illusion.

I don’t want realism. I want magic!
Haven’t you ever ridden on that streetcar?
that bangs through the Quarter
Why, they told me to take a streetcar named Desire.

 

II ~ Nuances At Midnight

Yesterday a Spring walk.
Waking to a chiseled morning rides a wild mustang.
A dame that knows she’s good looking.
What kind of a queen do you think you are?

The real cork.
Marie Antoinette meets Blanche DuBois.
They eat cake. Where’s Stella?
She’s out there on the porch.

The Whole Journey

February 28th — last day of the shortest month. Always an analomy — the ending a little too soon. What to write? Why write? Who reads this stuff anyway?

I do. The more I write — the more I flow. Making the commitment and taking up self-imposed challenges helps. And this is the first year that I am able to juggle my poetic and visual art output in tandem. Yay! Before this, it was one or the other. Also before this, I was not as seriously tuned into the work involved in growing my artistry. I have made a serious commitment to explore, express and enjoy the artist’s journey — the whole journey including the failures as well as the successes. After all is said and done, it is the failures that lead to real growth and riches.

With that in mind, I am including here in my last formal #NaHaiWriMo post for 2017, some of my failed haiku. Failed for one reason or another of no great consequence — mostly that they did not take me where I needed to go at the time. I hope to continue my poetry writing posts, however probably somewhat more randomly after this. I do believe that sustained poetry writing infuses my visual art, and my visual art helps poet my words. The painting here is also a work in progress started on top of a failed canvas and may or may not make it into the canons of my saved artwork. To be continued.

~

clouds on my way to the moon the sea’s lullaby

~

solar eclipse
the jazz solo
just a little off

~

high wind and hail last night in and out of strange dreams

~

grass stubble
through snow
made-up memories

~

Eve
now we paint our nails
apple red

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La La Moonlight

Yesterday — there was a solar eclipse and a new moon + a lot of other planets’ energy mixing it up and duking it out. Chaos as a game changer. Yesterday, in a rare Hollywood-like-made-for-the-moment-alignment of cosmic humor at the Academy Awards, the winner for best picture (highlight of the show) was named incorrectly and quickly repealed. Chaos and comedy. As it is above – so it is below.

Disclaimer: I did not watch the show nor have I seen either film, however I read enough about each movie to understand that they are complete opposites on the reality-scope meter. That the Hollywood throw-back fantasy musical movie La La Land was misnamed as best picture and rescinded for the real winner Moonlight, about the gritty life of a black man who grows up in a street-drug culture and loves another man in an unforgiving neighborhood, is simply an amazing mixup and yet entirely understandable in the context of the astral energy. Life never fails to entertain or annoy depending on one’s choice of view. Same can be said for the Academy Awards show itself.

This is the next to the last of my daily posts for mindful writing and daily haiku during January and February. In a chaotic fake news-political year, it is a fitting ending on the entertainment scale as well. What I believe is missing from view on all fronts is that there are no real winners or losers — just different choices. In the end, out of chaos comes creativity – the true measure of success.

~

agita at the Oscars La La Moonlight

~

fake news at The Oscars can you believe it?

~

solar eclipse new moon
enjoy or annoy
Oscar mashup
~

And from last year’s haiku:

expectations:
the dance between
fickle and moonset

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