*My Mother Loved Easter

IMG_2140My mother was a Christian, an  Anglican when I was small and she insisted on us going to church and Sunday school, then she went back to being a Baptist, when I was in my teenage years, as she was reared.

My mother loved Easter and I remember this season fondly.  My mother always changed the curtains and doilies throughout the house to white and purple, even our bedspreads were white and purple. I can still see the living-room back then now, white curtains, with purple tulips patterned, fluttering by the open window in the afternoon breeze, billows and folds like waves dancing over the chairs. The center table, side tables, bookcase top and on top of the piano, were draped in purple and white doilies my mother had crocheted, starched and pressed to stiffness. I loved going into my mother’s room because even in the middle of the day, her white Chenille bedspread with purple flowers, and her dresser with purple and white crochet doilies lured.  Everything had its place, and it made her room a haven I would enter quietly, run my hand over her Chenille bedspread, wrap the curtain around my slender body and sniff the air laced with Kanaga, the perfume she wore frequently. Sometimes, I would go into her closet, pull the door shut, crouch on the floor and sniff her clothes.

My mother celebrated Easter by  baking her own bun that flavored our house, making it smell like a bakery, raisins, currents, maraschino cherries, flour, spices and molasses.  On Good Friday, we usually began the day with salt-fish fritters, hardo bread and hot cocoa, which was grated, boiled, spiced with nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar and milk thatcame from my mother’s village, Flamstead,  in St James.For lunch we had bun and cheese, and then we were off to church to suffer for three hours on the cross like Jesus allegedly did. I hated Good Friday service, and barely survived except in anticipation of the reward of food after the service. I always argued that it  was unfair that I had to suffer three hours of dirge like singing and the preachers droning on since Jesus already died for me, and besides I wasn’t aware I had committed any sins. My mother told me to zip it and off we went, anticipating dinner – Escovitch fish, bammy, fried plantain, all of which were prepared the evening before, because my mother’s rule was no major cooking should take place on Good Friday, a holy day. The irony of course is that it is called Good Friday, the day of Jesus’  crucifixion. “So why is it “good” anyway?” I almost earned a box on the mouth for such abomination.

Well perhaps it is a coincidence, but since my mother’s death, Good Friday was the first day I felt as if I were back to my normal self. I awoke and it was as if the sky opened and the sun shone like it hadn’t before. I walked five miles, I marveled at the golden Poui blossoms all over the campus and Mona area, I began to make plans for the new books I had to write. I felt, again, ready for all life has to offer. And then on Easter Sunday, the resurrection, I woke at dawn, went to see the amazing “Movement and Music” performance by the NDTC at the Little Theatre where I also danced, (in another life it seemed), and when I came home, Mommy was strongly on my mind.  So I searched and found the bed-spread she crocheted for me about twenty years ago, and that I had not used in perhaps seven years, and put it on my bed, then I went through the closet and found some doilies that she had crocheted for me. Whenever she came to visit me in California and saw my tables and dresser bare, she would crochet me different color doilies, which I sometimes used as basket mats for food when I entertained. But this Easter Sunday after her death I put a doily on the desk of hers that I inherited, poured white rum as libation for the ancestors, of which my mother is now a member, placed my favorite photo of her taken when she was twenty-one, and two glasses of water, bun and cheese so she will not be thirsty  or hungry on her journey and white and purple bougainvillea in a vase for she loved flowers – an altar in her tribute. Then I placed two other doilies on what used to be my bare side and dining tables, in her honor.

Although I did not bake any bun, I did buy bun and cheese and put curtains on the windows…sorry they are not white or purple…Happy Easter Mommy.

Your loving daughter, Opi (like you affectionately called me).

Catherine l Palmer

* I haven’t written anything for my mother since her death (February 23, 2018), but I know I will write a lot about her, as I have in the past, and will continue way into the future as she was and remains like formidable heroine.


Getting the Kite

IMG_0308I was in Berkeley last week and caught the end of the Kite Festival. This is a wonderful family event to witness the amazing array of kites take over the sky and share the excitement of the kite-fliers, of all ages, and the wonder-gaze of the children.

Being there I was reminded of all the times my ex and I took our children to the Berkeley Marina to fly kites and my mind ruminated over one specific Sunday when we went to get the kite, and I pondered if my children even remember.

While I am uncertain about the specific year when this occurred, I think the children were, 4, 6 and 10 years old, respectively and I had gotten them new kites. The sky was clear, the wind strong, but the air warm. We climbed the knoll and our day unfolded, running and rolling and trying to keep our kites from being entangled with others in close proximity.

JaJa, my son, with his usual zeal and zest, and untiring energy unfolded his kite last and his face lit up as it soared in the sky and his Baba helped him steer it while also cautioning him to hang on tight. The kite took off, its yellow and green tail swirling, the wind tugging and batting it around. Jaja began to run with the kite, and we all applauded the frantic dance of the kite that seemed to be having as much fun as as we were.

And then JaJa stumbled and the kite flew from his hand and ascended further into the sky.  We watched as the kite dipped and soared and spread itself and glided across the sky, free and confident to explore. We kept watching as it sailed across the water and got caught in a tree.

“Let’s go get it!” JaJa shouted taking off. His Baba caught up with him and explained that the kite was too far, and even if we were to walk that distance, there was no guarantee that we could unhinge it from the tree. Jaja pleaded, determined, and as a family, we decided to give it a try.  We walked for well over a mile, sweat pressing our clothes to our bodies.  At long last, we circled the harbor and was under the tree.  We could see the kite, still trying to free itself, but the wind and a tree branch kept it anchored

But luck was on our side.  The string of the kite dangled between the branches, and very carefully, with Jaja giving directions, and the rest of us putting in our two cents, his Baba was able to maneuver the kite and after about half an hour of careful unwinding the kite was free.  We shouted and jumped up and down, praised Baba for his careful mastery of detangling and freeing the kit;  it was an elated moment for the entire family.  We all felt vindicated, but more importantly we felt we had accomplished an arduous feat, and indeed we had.  I was so proud of Jaja for his determination and insistence on retrieving his kite and getting us as a family to buy-into making it happen.IMG_0307

I remember that as one of our very special family adventures, of which we had many. We were all on one accord: to not stop until we get the kite, and get the kite we did. As we drove home, all three children exhausted and asleep even before we exited the Marina, I glanced at Jaja, with the kite tucked under his arm, and I knew that singular spirit of determination and our family working as one would serve us well in the future.

I always tell my children that together they are a fist, unbeatable. As long as they stick together and support one another (and I am confident that they are still being a fist), they will be able to track down any kite, and not allow it to get away.

Evidence of Abundance

Life is happening all around me and I am part of the flow, the change, the acceptance, the reaching for something else, the transIMG_8702forming to become winged.

The caterpillars are eating the Frangipani tree. They are so beautiful and the tree is almost stripped clean –all the leaves have been devoured.  I wonder what the tree says to the caterpillar? Do the caterpillars apologize, say they are partial to the leaves and purple flowers. I nibble at everything in sight.

IMG_8712 Down the road, the horses are horny.  As I begin my walk I watch them sniff each other then the males mounts the female until she shakes him off.

Returning from my walk, the mare is wallowing in the dirt, rolling around as if to dislodge something…The stallion is no where to be seen.  Often, after intercourse couples turn their backs to one another.

The bees love the Haita/Sea Hibiscus/Maho. IMG_8708The swarm it.  They have been frisky and lost, flitting everywhere, seemingly confused in search of the queen or a hive.  Death might be eminent as the pollens swirl in the wind and the petals fall to the ground. Love is like that sometime — it hits rock bottom then soars.  Figures!

There is so much abundance I swoon. The fruits ripen all at once.  We spent almost an hour sighting and picking belle apples.  The nease berries/mesple/sapodilla/chicle are in fruit.  The custard apples/coriazon are in the trees and the ackee branch is so weighted it broke.  Bats and birds prey and we do what we can to have enough and leave them some.

I pop 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 belle apples in my mouth. IMG_8733 I slice off the top and suck the seedy juice in my mouth.  I want their juice to lather my skin.

I want to run naked.

I want to fly away to India.

I want to stop wanting to make a contribution, and really contribute.

My mind finds the words then hold them in my mouth until they vanish, not saliva, not meaning, not fact just a promise that is coming…

Camping on the Beach: ST Croix’s Easter Tradition

From Butler Bay in the west, to Cramer Park in the east, a week before Easter, many Crucian families make the beaches their home, camping out for as long as two weeks for some, or just four or so days for others. It is a tradition dating back at least thirty years, and although, thus far, no one I spoke to can tell me how it began; it is the thing that’s done.IMG_8496

Families and friends tend to camp together and form a cluster or tents that vary in size. While most people stick to basics, over the years, some families have gotten more elaborate bringing gas stoves and fridges from home and generator. In one campsite there was even a large tent designated for entertainment, and inside was a large TV, that reportedly was turned on at nights for the children. There are also porter-potties and makeshift showers at all the camps.

I have visited camp-sights at Dorsch, Salt River and Cramer Park, specifically and hung out with friends and enjoyed meals. As one Crucian senior said to me as we sat on chairs looking out at the ocean and nibbling on vegie burgers,

“I do this so I can forget about everything, including myself.”

Josetta, a mother and grandmother says, “I’ve been camping for over twenty years. My children grew up camping. Now the only baby we have is my four year-old grandson in the water with my daughter. It’s what we do every Easter for 7-10 days.”

Camping allows absolute freedom for the children –-two little ones, no more than four years old were in the water for the three hours I spent at one camp-site and their mother said they had been in the water all day.DSC_0056

There are various bands of children ranging in age and activity, splashing around in the sea, snorkeling, and engaging in other water and beach activity, including chasing and running. Even the pets enjoy this time, as leashed dogs strolls the beach with teenagers.

I stopped a few girls as they were running out the sea and heading towards one of the tents. I asked them if they were enjoying themselves. They affirmed in unison and their responses spilled out and over each other.

“We’ve been doing it since they were young, since third grade,” asserts Shania.

“It’s a family tradition,” adds Jahnaye.

“We do lots of things such as water sports, fishing, hiking and volley ball inserts Shandeah, obviously the leader if the pack.

“And we play board games, and sometimes we do storytelling,” adds the only boy in this group who runs off before telling me his name.

Although I have not camped during this season, I love seeing families and friends living next to the ocean and I enjoy spending the day on the beach with friends and sharing the amazing meals.

Even though living in St Croix, one is never far from the ocean; I imagine there is nothing like sleeping with the sea right in your ears and waking up and jumping right into its arms.IMG_8492

Easter Monday, a public holiday in St Croix, signals the end of this tradition. However, today, Tuesday, you can still see a handful of tents strewn on a few beaches –the true die-harders, soaking up one more of the good sea breeze.IMG_8486

Making International Women’s Day Personal

Every day we have to be conscious, every day we have to celebrate and broadcast the news about women, girls, people, those who have no platform from which to speak their needs.
I purposely did not post yesterday for International Women’s Day but my mind and heart were heavy thinking about the vast majority of women all over the world who don’t know of this day, and whose daily life is a toil, a real effort to have breath.
My heart feels constricted when I think about the vast exploitation of people, and in particular girls in the Congo in virtual slavery under the Chinese regime. I think of girls all over the African continent, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia and even in some parts of Europe who are not being educated, who are vulnerable to rape, forced marriage, random acts of violence both physically and emotionally.KenyagirlsDISA2015
I mourn that such beauty and vitality are being squashed every minute somewhere in the world, and that the contribution that these girls could make to improve our world will not be realized.
Celebrating International Women’s day means we have to broaden the focus so the issues that impact indigent and poor women in rural areas as well as urban areas are addressed with the same vigor and attention as issues of mainly white, middle-class women.
Yes, let’s celebrate International women’s day, and let each of us take a specific issue or geographic location and promote the welfare of women in that community.
Today I celebrate my 88 year old mother who is still my heroine, mother87and who showed me a lived example of helping others less fortunate, who fought to be herself in Jamaica at a time when dark shinned proud women were not even allowed to work in banks despite their qualification.  
I am fighting because that attitude still prevails today hence the wide-spread use of bleaching cream and artificial hair weaves  by women from the working class community in Jamaica in the hope  that being lighter with long hair, they will stand a chance, get ahead, and even be considered beautiful.
Every day we have to celebrate International Women’s Day until these beliefs and attitude are eradicated and women are not discriminated against based on their address, the color of their skin, the length of their hair, their sexual preference — their gender.
Celebrating International Women’s Day means all girls and women have true and real opportunities to be themselves, to love their own skins, and excel in whatever areas their passion soars.

Uncovering Haiti: A Photo Exploration

When I first visited Ayiti/Haiti,  exactly a year after  the 2010 devastating earthquake I did not know what to expect, but I was deeply moved by the indomitable spirit of the people, by the immense artistry and beauty that they created everywhere and by the care and loving attention they obviously invested in their children.orangegirlAdisa2015

But we never see or hear this portrayal of Ayiti in the media, and even less about the historical wanton exploitation of the land and resources and the people’s labor by Europeans, Americans and even neighboring Caribbean islands.  All our hands are a little dirty.

However, what we are most guilty of is our negligence of thought that continue to speak of Ayiti as the “poorest” country in the western hemispher, and negates its foundational wealth, its unstoppable creativity and its undaunting determination to continue and thrive. This collective spirit is evident in the children I saw everywhere — their clean, clear eyes, their open curiosity, their keen sense of responsibility for themselves and their siblings and their innate, open beauty that was as welcoming and heart-stirring as the most beautiful flower, which of course they are, and to my delight, I felt many of them knew this, was shown and taught this, despite their immediate circumstances.

As I was driving by, I photographed this little girl squatting by the road, in charge of the two bags to her right and left.  goldenshowergirlAdisa2015There was something golden about her manner, some assurance of belonging, some assurance that life was not going to simply use her up then sit her out. She was already installed on her throne, hence the color and texture that I employed in amending the photo.

At a vodun ceremony, I was arrested by this other girl, who was probably no more than six years old. blueyellowgirlAdis2015It was her gesture, finger to mouth, angle of her upright arm, bold intensity of her eyes that I wanted to share. I am here and must be counted, her presence spoke to me.  I am here and have something to share.  I am here and will not be forgotten.  I am here…See me!

See these children, really see them and see their island, and help them and their island to live the freedom they so daringly seized that others have been trying to pull from their hands. They are truly methaphysicians.  They see beyond the immediate into a future where real freedom is a lived reality.

This is part of a larger photo/poetic project, in progress, entitled, Still: Ayiti’s Resoluteness



The Camera’s Len

mr-intenseeyesI am a writer who takes photographs. I am a photographer who captures lives. Actually I am a recorder who interprets and transcribes all that I see. I am a seer, learning to see more. I am a projector. I am a futurist. I am a creator of reality.


This is a picture of a Jamaican man. I don’t remember where in Jamaica I snapped his photography nor the year. I did not ask him to pose for me. He was sitting talking and I think I did ask if I could take his photograph, but that might be after I took it because the moment you ask and bring awareness, then another face is shown. I want to capture the raw, un-posed; the moment – unmasked, vulnerable and even intense.

mr-intenseinvertadisaThis is what I saw or perhaps this is what I projected. I have tampered with this image as all artists tamper/alter/amend images. I do this through photo-shop, the way I use light — adding or darkening– the way I crop the image to create an effect I want, and the other ways I apply filters and other methods to alter the image, as in inverting.


I was taken with his eyes; I think I somewhat believe the eyes are the mirror to one’s soul – whatever we think that to be. I was drawn to his entire presence, solid, stocky, a man who speaks his mind, I believe. A man who insists on being listened to, a man who draws an audience. A man who might be pushed to hit his woman or perhaps not. He might be a push over, only wants to feel her back pushed up against his chest.

mr-intenseeyesmadisaBut now he is my man; I get to show him off the way I want him seen; I get to tell the story I give him or extract from him or impose on him. He is mine – My Mister Intense.

Living Your Life

img_7340I see this every day, and every day it is new.  I make sure every day I enjoy nature.  I make sure every day I do what I love.  I make sure I enjoy my life.

There are many people who admire me.  There are some people who envy my life. And there are the odds ones who despise me or think I am arrogant. I do not place stock in any of these sentiments.  I live my life.

There is truly apart of me that do not understand why so many grown people are not living their life.  Why are they still trapped in jobs, relationships, a specific place/location that they resent, feel unloved or yearn for a different environment?

What are you allowing to stop you from living your life? I realize that since I was twenty years old, and graduated from college I have been living my life. I have not allowed the unknown or fear or lack of resources to stop me. I have never stayed in a job beyond a year that I did not like nor a home. Not even three children and single-parenting stopped me, although it slowed me down for a minute.

I do believe attitude is everything, and I have been and remain and idealist, an optimist, a believer in our innate good, our ability to transform our lives, our resilience to push through, to find and celebrate love in all we do, and to make a difference wherever we find ourselves in the world.

What projects aka dreams have you been sitting on, stuffing under a pile of false obligations, waiting until the right time or when you retire or your ship comes in. Your ship has been at the dock so get off the boat and enjoy the new landscape.  Splurge! Celebrate! img_7315 Just do it.  Do it, and before you know it, every morning will be joyous and you will find that you are living your life — taking your daily walks on the beach or some place else, having a soothing cup of dandelion tea, enjoying  a boiled egg with cucumbers, meditating in your tea-house, reading, writing, lounging, having an afternoon swim, conducting interviews of amazing people, speaking to your children via social media, steaming fresh fish for dinner with pumpkin and kale, reflecting on the sunset, going to a movie, holding hands, being, living your life, living you.

The Poem as Meditation: devorah major’s Latest Poetry Collection, and then we became


Some will argue that a poem is a meditation. The poet contemplates an idea, distills it, then shares it with readers, and this is certainly true of major’s latest collection of poems. The very first poem, “cosmology meditation #1,” sets the pace, and invites readers into a journey that is not based on any specific destination, but rather journey as exploration.

we are the memory

of the place without measures

that filled all space

that never was and ever will be (p.1)

major engages the reader in the very first line, and includes them in the process by using the pronoun, we. In this way major is being inclusive, but she is also saying to readers: you have a stake in this; this is not a poem from which you can absent yourself and merely be an observer, a reader, you are the we and the we is you. This inclusive quality is even evident when major uses “I” as she does in the poem, “the yes to life.” The refrain, “ i want to be born” is true of all of us – we are here because we wanted to be born, to be apart of this life circle. And as such we have to show up, we have to listen to and embrace one another, we have to participate in whatever change or unfolding we would like to see happen.

Major’s book could not have come at a more appropriate time as now when the clamor of despair is being spoken into the universe. But as many of us know, these are also times for listening to our hearts and minds and doing what’s right for the greater majority, the global world of which we are a part. Reading and really reflecting on the messages in these poems will help us to become our better selves. “cosmology meditation #2,” the final poem of this deeply motivational and spiritual collection ends aptly, “you are at the center/of the universe.” major returns to the collective you/we, and our place in the world, and as a result of our centering, our responsibility to the earth and to each other.

Major’s collection is philosophical and should be read slowly, so take the journey. There is no specific destination other than to be present to your life and all the other life around you. The poems are compelling with potent stories about war, family secrets, dementia, resilience and love, universal themes with which everyone can connect.

Below is an interview with devorah major about this collection and her life as a poet.

OPA: Congrats on the new collection of poems. I am very intrigued by the title, and then we became. Talk about what came before and what we become? How did you arrive at the title?

dm: I think that there is so much attention on getting there, whatever there means and wherever there is, yet I find myself far more intrigued by the idea of the journey, and in this case the journey is in becoming more humane and whole.

OPA: How did you arrive on the sections and order of the poems?

The section order seemed reasonable as the journey starts at spirit, then there is the idea that we are in a human family and thus are both our individual selves as well as the essence of others, but then of course we exist in our fragilities, only to hopefully through all of that become whole. Thus and then we become, spirit, other selves, fragile, and whole.

OPA: There are many poems in this collection that I love, but I think “cosmology meditation” is my favorite.  Then two of the more complex poems, “the judge,” and “any name will do,” are so potent and froth with references and innuendos, can you speak to what sparked/solicited those poem?

“cosmology meditation” came from me trying to synthesize the ideas of string theory in conjunction with the human ideas of cosmology. “the judge” was written from someone I encountered, who was in fact a judge, and was faced at one point by his daughter brandishing a knife in his direction. I was troubled by the lack in introspection in what role he might have had in the occurrence, but I knew he sincerely was seeking counsel on how to improve the situation. “any name will do” started at a Cave Canem workshop where Sonia Sanchez told each of us to write a poem based on the saint whose name was above our (monastery) door. I had Mary’s mother, Anna, about whom almost nothing is known. My mother’s family had, for the most part, chosen to distant themselves from us when my mother married an Afro-Caribbean instead of the required Jewish man. Her grandmother was especially adamant. My brother and I knew little about her and discovered that even her name was a mystery. Was her name Anna or Hannah? I took the opportunity to intertwine the lack of knowledge of the saint and of my mother’s grandmother who she spoke of as saintly.

OPA: I know you have been asked this question over and over about process, so I will attempt to frame it differently.  How has your process changed over the years? And secondly, what do you notice about your writing self now that might be different that when you were an active mother of young children and just getting your career started?

I was totally cathartic about my writing when I was younger. I wrote almost stream of consciousness and then sorted out the poem or poems. I did not trust the reader as much and had very long poems which spoke to each shading of a situation. I rejected writing in forms. Now while I do let the moment pull me into a poem or story, I sit down to write when I have time to write, not just when a creative impulse arrives. I make time to write! I am more purposeful in my writing. I also see the writing of forms as a way to strengthen my voice more than a way to be boxed in. When my career was getting started I did not think of it as a career. I wrote because I had to write to keep or gain a balance. I published or read publicly because others encouraged me. My children filled my life and my writing. Now there is not just the writing but the revisions. Once I resented editing, now I love it. The polishing and refinement lets me discover what my poem or story really is. While family still has a central part of my writing attention, I also, as seen in this collection, reach outward to the stars. And of course now there is the business of writing, which is its own animal.

OPA: You have enjoyed many successes, including, being the 3rd poet laureate of San Francisco, and last year you did a major performance piece with San Francisco International Arts Festival. How have these recognitions help to launch or stabilize your career as a writer? And secondly, talk a little about performing the poem.

In any art form I think the idea is visibility. How do you find an audience that hears you, that is fed by what you have to offer? Being SF Poet laureate increased my visibility and allowed me to meet many new audiences. The play,” Classic Black: African-American Voices in 19th Century San Francisco,” let me use the acting training that I had and working with a director showed me how to create a poetry play that had a dramatic arc and held tension, passion, sadness, irony in the telling.

As for performing, for me poetry is as much a performance art as a writtn one. The poem comes alive when given breath. I often read poetry aloud when I am reading it at home, my own to help me hear how it works and where it fails, and other people’s to understand it better by hearing and feeling their words and rhythms. I feel a poet has a responsibility to be able to present their own work with fire.

OPA: Although you are an adjunct professor at CCA, you still work with elementary students through the fine arts museums program where you have been the poet in residence for over twenty years. What is similar or different about teaching college students, young adults, as oppose to elementary and secondary school students?

Young people tend to take more chances, to be willing to jump into the poetry fray and see what comes out. They will sit down and write a poem, two poems, more on demand in a short time period. Older students want to be right and to do it in the correct way, or alternately the want to do it their own way despite lacking a foundation. They write more studiously but, if not writing majors, tend to share with youngsters an aversion to editing and rewrite. Older students however bring abstract thought, which appeals to me, and elders have the added benefit of time on the job which can bring a real depth t their poetry.

OPA: I feel as if the poetry scene has changed a great deal from when we began. There now seems to be a clear divide between academic poets and non-academic poets. I feel as if you and I straddle both sites. Speak to that and what you see as your “role” as a poet.

I think some institutions in wanting to control a thing must name a thing, therefore one has academic and non-academic poets and poetry. It is such a farce. Academic poets are, presumably, those who have gained entrance to or may become a part of the canon. They are the poets worthy of being taught. Lucille Clifton is in it now, but wasn’t for years, Gwendolyn Brooks was finally admitted but many others are excluded. What makes the academic world the arbitrator of this or any part of the arts world?

My role as a poet is to speak truth, to speak my vision of today, of the future with skill, integrity, and heart. In that I feel a responsibility to keep growing and to become stronger in my craft, but not through an arbitrary ideal of what constitutes a good line or poem structure. So much MFA poetry is strong in structure but weak in individuality, weak in originality, stifled in subject matter, such is the influence of the academic model. As a poet I try to write about what matters, and that is a large and complicated palette.

OPA: Do you have a poetry community, a tight-knit group of cohorts that you get together and with whom you workshop your work?  And if yes, what is the value of such relationships?

Yes. Writing is a lonely task. Not that I feel lonely when I write. Indeed I am full of voices and music, but that it is done alone, often in quiet. Stepping out and having draft work reviewed by peers whom I trust gives me another perspective. How will the reader receive this work? Of course they are in some ways “the ideal reader” that the Italian writer Ecco speaks of in that they come with a certain amount of knowledge and an awareness of me, of each other. Still they are other ears, minds and hearts and they really do help me to see what I am doing and at times get unstuck in the poem or story. A trusted group comes with no agenda except to support each other in our writer journeys.

OPA: I know you are always working on multiple projects? What’s next for devorah? How can the poetry community or just your audience or anyone out there assist you in your next project?

I have another poetry manuscript almost completed, tentatively titled SNAP. I have a novel, novella and a few children’s stories finished and waiting for an agent or publisher to see and appreciate their possibilities. I am working on finishing a collection of short stories, mostly speculative fiction and/or science fiction, and a sequel to the science fiction novel I am now shopping. I am redacting tapes I made with my father for an eventual book, which will be his memoir with interjects and historical context by the daughter of the writer. Also, I am working on a book, with you, on how to teach poetry to secondary school students. To support any writer, buy their books if you can and/or attend their readings. Also if they have a website, visit and comment.



devorah major, and then we became. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2016; 80 pages

ISBN 978-0-87286-726-0, $12.95





Women Marching For Justice

womenstxIt has been a week since women and men and children all over the world took to the street demanding justice and equity. Reportedly , On January 21, there were 673 Sister Marches all over cities in the USA, the largest in Washington, DC,  as well as the rest of the World, including Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

I participated in the Women March in St Croix, USVI, led by a group of women with about 4 thousand participants. In good St Croix fashion, the participants were multicultural, and the event include blowing the Tutu  –the conch shell horn, music, dancing, singers, speeches, recitation of poetry reflecting the diverse range of this community.

womenempoweredadisaWhy were women marching?  What did they hope to achieve?

It was a call to action, a call to unify against the current US President who appears to want to turn back the clock.  It signals the forging of  alliances across lines of race, gender and sexual identification, and was a demonstration of the willingness of those individuals who want to ensure justice for all.

Above all it was a hopeful and positive event that made it clear that many people understand their self-agency and will not sit back and allow their rights nor the rights of others that many died for, be overridden.

frontwmarchingadisa17 At the end of this positive and moving event, several women took the mic and said what they were marching for, and central of course was for their grandchildren and the future generations so that they will have a voice, but also for able-bodied and physically challenged people, for Muslins and religious freedom, for the right of gays to marry, for women’s right to own their bodies, for democracy, for freedom. I was marching to say thanks to my ancestors for taking us this for and to end child abuse and domestic violence.

Although we were each marching for different causes , the common denominator was our humanity and the continuation of all our basic rights as people to live as we choose as long as we do no harm to others.

I am positive and optimistic that this movement has just begun world wide, and women who have held up and continue to hold up much more than half the sky/world, will truly rise up and take our rightful place in a feminist/womanist manner that will heal the world and bring compassion and mindfulness to all we do, and how we nurture the world.