This weeks Saturday Poetry, matched with mobile photography/art is entitled ‘I Take Notes’ by Maria Lisella. Born in South Jamaica, Queens, Maria Lisella has lived in Astoria, New York for forty years. A poet and travel writer, she is a graduate of Queensborough Community College and Queens College, holds a Master’s degree from NYU-Polytechnic Institute, and attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Lisella is the author of three books of poetry, including Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books, 2014) and the chapbooks Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press, 2009), and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada, 2009). She curates the 29-year old Italian American Writers Association literary series and is a charter member of the online poetry circle, Brevitas. An award-winning travel writer, her work appears in USA TODAY, The Jerusalem Post, Travel Market Report and the bilingual La Voce di New York.
Cited for Honorable Mention for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, Lisella has taught English as a second language and composition at Touro College and has taught Tourism and Hospitality at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She is the outgoing poet laureate of Queens, New York.
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‘I Take Notes’ by Maria Lisella
… on my iPhone as if it were a reporter’s notebook, efficient and cool.
Detached, my voice raises itself to inquire to questions I already know the answers to, skull-filed
so many decades ago for future reference.
Reams of notes record incidents: calls to 911, a tossed chair, hunger strikes, “behavioral” issues
they call them, I surmise when he can no longer tolerate
Mp>The cinderblock walls, the fenced-in windows, the odors of bleach and Pine Sol
and alcohol, the wails and wants of other residents looking for a way home.
This time I even suggest sedation, but before that, attention.
In this pandemic his thwarted life has shrunk to Lilliputian size—no socializing
in the halls, no dance or music classes or current events discussions—no smoking
on the deck on cool nights.
Just this: a metal-framed cot-like bed with his poppy-printed gleeful sheets
he received for Christmas to remind him he is special after all.
Apart from the rest, for he gets company and kisses and snacks and cigars, jeans
and peanuts, Irish Spring soap and coconut shampoo.
He smells like a tropical breeze, is clean and fresh all day long.
He withdraws from the halls to the sounds of the Greek language as his blind fingers make love
to Alexa and he mouths the words of a country he dreams of but will never see.
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