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it’s the mangoes

If  you are like me, you get tempted by the mangoes at the store.  There they are, piled high on a cart, delicious-looking in their mango color of green tinged with red and yellow.  You give it a sniff, and decide you have a cold, because there is no fragrance.  You buy it.  Now, if you were still living with your mom or in India, you’d bury it in a bin of rice to ripen.  Being as you’re not, you opt for a shelf, and finally one day, you decide to cut it open.

The color’s right, the taste isn’t.  Not luscious, not melt-in-you-mouth, not sweet.  What you do is add a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt.  Now you can enjoy.  So, even though honest fruit is months away, remember:  balsamic on strawberries, salt on so-so mangoes.

Without permission, from a poem by Victor Hernandez Cruz from Red Beans (Coffee House Press, 1991):

PROBLEMS WITH HURRICANES

A campesino looked at the air

And told me:

With hurricanes it’s not the wind

or the noise or the water

I’ll tell you what he said:

it’s the mangoes, avocados

Green plantains and bananas

flying into town like projectiles…

the rest of the poem can be found on:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19931

More on the work-in-progress

I’ve reached two hundred pages.  Funny to think that four falls ago, I was gleeful with fifty.  There was a period of two years where I did not write much at all, working with material I finally threw out.  In January, about the same time I began this blog, the words came faster.  How interesting is this to a reader?  Writers want assurances, rewards, encouragement.  They–we?– rarely talk about composition, aside from meeting the page, the muse.  Who was it that said, “What if the muse shows up at my desk, and I’m not there?”

Now, with classes over, I putter in the garden–two square inches of green–put things in pots, know I’ve bought more than I can sow.  Aside from wild geranium, I’m not sure what little seedlings are emerging from last month.  It that feverfew or dandelion?  Is it culturally inappropriate to want pink jasmine in the mountains, especially now that I’ve learned how it was smuggled into the states?  I don’t really like the smell as much as star and what is known as round-fat jasmine.  But mostly, it’s geraniums, coleus,  marigolds, snapdragons.  A honeysuckle .  I think, more pages will come to me as I scoop out soil, and weed and water.  All I get  is what’s at hand.  I suspect my muse is in a hammock, sipping lemonade, reading a mystery.

Heroines

Wonder Woman, DC Comics

transformation of a superheroic kind

writing & processing, novel

About eight years ago, I began a new manuscript. It was called “Mina” and was about a 40ish woman on the brink of making choices in her life after she finds herself in a rut. It was about her thoughts on marriage, on soup and wheatgrass shots, and anger. It went on and on, and after a hundred and fifty pages, I abandoned it, saving only four pages concerning a pregnant widow. Novels about women’s mid-life crisis and about pregnant widows were published. The celebrated Indian authors, who seemed to be nobel laureate-type scientists with an itch to write came out with their even more celebrated books. I told myself I did not mind, I was only a bit jealous, and anyway, I had yoga classes to attend, and weights to lift. My book would end on belly laughs, be a small, light crepe, a creme wafer.

It’s nearly done, maybe is done, and now I wait for feedback.

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