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  April 2020
volume 17 number 1
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  Kathie Giorgio
  Edward Lee
  Jennie Lindthorst
  Frank Mundo
  Christine Murray
  Abdel-Wahed Souayah
  Viola Weinberg
  Martin Willitts Jr
 
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Viola Weinberg April 2020
   

 

bio


photo by mauricio alejandro ramos

   
    Viola Weinberg is Sacramento Poet Laureate Emerita, serving from 2000-2002. She has published 10 books of poetry and a text on child abuse. Viola’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies, journals, newspapers, magazines and online publications. She has contributed work to plays and musical compositions. For several years, she ran the Poetry Showcase for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival. In 2008, she was named the Glenna Luschei Distinguished Poet. Her new book, Tough Enough, a collaboration with the Tough Old Broads poetry group, will be published April 2019 by Cold River Press.
    Viola taught at CSU Sacramento, where she co-founded Women’s Studies. She has worked in commercial and public media, including PBS. Viola moved back into publications at Mother Jones Magazine, where she was the founding Director of the International Fund for Documentary Photography, now housed in the Leica Foundation. For years, she served in an international brain trust for the C.S. Fund on scientific and social issues.
    For the last 5 years, Viola has been fighting Stage Four cancer with hopeful results. She lives in rural Sonoma County with her husband, photographer Peter Spencer, and writes in a yurt.

   

 

Buddha’s Hands

Today, let me be Buddha’s hands­
yellow as the lily, unmanicured and kind
Let me dispose of my pettiness
and reach those who need love most
Let me feel perfectly happy . . . here . . .
without looking down or looking up
to anyone, to anything, let me, be me
Let me be Buddha’s gnarled, gentle hands

On this day, allow my ego to be a crippled boat
that cannot float without heaving the notion of perfection
sad memories, sworn oaths, all bad ballast overboard
Allow my oar to be quiet, letting the river take me
My sail will be forgiveness, full of wind and hope
Let Buddha’s hands reel in the ropes that hold the weight
and tie the lines around a cleat-shaped heart
that is love’s lap, the unfaltering home of love itself

All my life, my hands have been crude fists
Pounding doors, windows, my clamor so loud
“Let me in, let me in,” I seemed to say, “Let me
be first, be best, be the only one,” riled and rampart
Today, and from this day forward, I am Buddha’s hands
content to be myself, not worried who has more
Let me be the hands of Buddha, who holds nothing
and shares everything, hands turned under in a saffron fold

copyright 2020 Viola Weinberg

   

 

The Beatitude of Quietude

O, that Wednesday
when you knocked off early
when we were so tired, so weary
that we fell down on the bed like the dead

Side by side, garden-dirty, the both of us
The soil and air both soft and warm
Our tired feet in their wet sox hanging over the bed
Toes cracking like castanets in the breeze

Too tired to talk, we just laid there, awake
You could hear appliances humming in the kitchen
You could hear the dog and his sloppy drinking
from the blue bowl, and a fly, a screen door somewhere

But neither of us raised a finger, listening
Instead to our beating hearts, those drums of blood
We simply let love wash over us, cleanse us
heal us, peel the fatigue from our lives

Honeyed, loving thoughts were on our tongues
all the more sweet as time passed soundlessly
Those minutes, so mute and beautiful are
somehow younger than the rest of our bodies

Cellular happiness, dwelling, abiding and deep

copyright 2020 Viola Weinberg

   

 

I Have Fallen

Not for the first or last time
not gracefully for a person
of my size, age or hair color
not predictably, yet not surprisingly

But deep and hard, as if
the painted concrete floor
was love itself, as if I were young
and rubbery, tough as a buttress

Those who jump to my aid,
the three men who lift me, seem
unaware of what good men they are
rescue dogs, they grin like Labradors

Unfortunately, I have fallen and
My face is scarlet red and my friends
worry, and my sense of dignity
is blue as the goose egg on my skull

Lumpy and sore as Lucrecia after the rape
Angry as Conchita and her rolling red cape
beaten but not defeated, an elderly Joan of Arc
with so many deeds incomplete and unspoken

Lifted by three strong men, I grumble like
a bag of crackers as it meets the rolling pin
Entirely mortified as I come up, sudden as a helix
one man says, more than once, “Do you stand?”

Yes, but where I stand, I do not know



copyright 2020 Viola Weinberg