Ouachita / Winding through Ouachita by Liliane Richman and Adina Richman

I would like to present the A pair of poems in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017. The first, by Liliane Richman, and the second, by her daughter Adina Richman, are both responses to a road trip to Arkansas that they took together. A beautiful mix of perspectives at the intersection of two different generations:

 

Ouachita

You and me
and me and you
driving
lacing through
the Ouachita Mountains
Elevation 2,464 feet

Through clouds and shadows
the greens, the pale sky blues
Dripping through the majestic pines
I knew and loved in my childhood
In Sabres, Landes

So much majesty around us
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach
Elevating the castle in my mind
Wherein blooms new altitudes
A call for other adventures, different vistas
Colors and sounds
Young sense, new desires

Still together
You and me
Forever

copyright 2016 Liliane Richman, all rights reserved

Winding through Ouachita:
For mom

Mozart in the mountains
Spaghetti road lacing the Ozarks
From foothills to headwinds
Weaving us back and forth
Hairpins and switchbacks tucked
Among trees of green fire,
Iridescent June bugs, cottoned in rising mist
Sheltering fawns, bears, bobcat
Diamond waterfalls, wind whispers and secrets,
Flowers of gold, purple and silver,
And ancient furled ferns
That reach across time and space
To brush my cheeks and tie me again,
Inextricably,
To you

copyright 2016 Adina Richman, all rights reserved

Fear: by Liliane Richman

This is my nightmare
I know the right way
Even if I am scared
Let’s say you knocked at my door
Dripping with blood
In the middle of the night
Would I open up?
Claim I’m afraid?
Say it’s Halloween
Some spooky disguise?

I’m smelling some trick
You might want to rape, kill me
Even if you were no mere stranger
You, my neighbor,
With your safe face
Begging shelter

Would I find the courage you need
Or would I desist
Trembling, wishing
I were in training
To be
Super Woman, undoing evil

 

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Liliane Richman’s recently published memoir, “The Bones of Time” can be found HERE.

Being: by Liliane Richman

Instead of Giordano Bruno
Who chose flames
Rather than compromise
I elect sage Galileo
Who recanted and saw
The light of another day
And still knew for a fact
Indeed the earth moves

It is not death we fear
Rather the kind of death we get
And if we can
We deny mortality,
For beyond pain
In the helpless body, begging
More than death, the horror
Is no longer
Being

 

To hear a reading of this poem, click on the player below:

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Liliane Richman’s recently published memoir, “The Bones of Time” can be found HERE.

Angst: by Liliane Richman

………………..Perhaps it was the snow
……………….blanketing all
………………refusing to melt
……………..papering pelting us blind
…………….with its swelling flakes
……………or lassitude
…………..a veil at the front door
………….wrinkled and stained
…………from filtering myriad horror

………..May be midlife crisis unrelenting
……….demanding doomsday income tax accounting
………wrenching flesh spitting

……..Or else a chrysalis
…….harbinger of tender life anew
…..in full evolution

….And what of it
lack of talent? spent imagination?
..should we never more tap words
.on the clavier?

Forget the rot
the self mutilated finger
your amputated leg
Oh! young Rimbaud
How is it you did not mourn the poetry
tracing of the pen writing
revising upon virgin paper?

 

 

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Liliane Richman’s recently published memoir, “The Bones of Time” can be found HERE.

The Bones of Time: Liliane Richman

bones of time

IPM may have taken a break in 2016

…but our poets haven’t!

After working for the last several years, popular IPM poet Liliane Richman has published her memoirs this month. It’s the story not only of her own astonishing life but how it intertwined with the lives of her family. Much of the narrative takes place over the course of the the turbulent 1930s and 40s which was deeply marked by the war and, for Liliane herself, by her sojourn in southwestern France where she was sent to safety as a small child. When she returned to post-war Paris, and against all odds the family was reunited, Richman recounts in crystalline detail the difficult dynamics of a city and a family working out how to go on living.

Full of the resonant, clear-eyed imagery that you’ll recall from her poetry, Liliane’s book is full of memorable landscapes and portraits that convey the essence of the people and the times that formed the ‘bones’ of the woman and the writer she has become.

The Bones of Time is available on Amazon.com.

as well as from: Barnes and Nobles

“Love emerges as the theme and driving perspective of this witness
to suffering and survival, making it one of the most beautiful and
haunting memoirs I’ve ever read.”

—Edie Brickell, Songwriter and Performer—

 

IPM 2015: Where do we go from here?

Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It's called the "new" bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.
Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It’s called the “new” bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.

 

“Poetry gives us the opportunity to offer our observations to present and future readers, be they from the perspective of one standing on the bridge watching events or of one standing below and taking on the current. I’m looking forward to a month of editing and I know that my IPM readers are standing on the bridge waiting for the flow of poems to begin…”

So began International Poetry Month 2015 and the flow of poems was fascinating for me to edit and I hope that both Readers and Poets enjoyed getting their feet wet. I offer my most sincere thanks to the participating poets and to the more than 1000 readers who came from the United States, England, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Pakistan, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Luxembourg, Singapore, the UAE, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Switzerland, Israel, Ghana, the Philippines, Belgium, Peru, Romania, Serbia and Portugal to read their work.

Today is the fourth of March and Spring seems only a few days away here in Northern Italy while I know those in other places are still slogging through the snow. Regardless of the temperature, here the snows have begun to melt and these poems will begin to erode away, disappearing a few at a time and leaving only the voices behind. Some you will still be able to find on the web, or in a book. Some will be gone for good. Where do we go from here? Why across the bridge and in search of new images, new experiences and new poetry. Following is an alphabetical list of the participating poets; each name is also a link to the poet’s work posted at IPM where you will find additional links to individual blogs or published works:

Sempé: A cartoon – by Liliane Richman

A cyclist
lady bug in black and red jersey
on an early Spring day
zipping across Brooklyn Bridge
under massive pillars
and lacy girders

.

.

.

.

 

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Love (On a Theme by Carlos Saura): by Liliane Richman

Francisco Goya as you reach

the end of your days

self exiled in Bordeaux

Filled with memories

of passionate dalliance

       La Maja Desnuda

when the frisson of love was love

Recollecting your oeuvres

.

and the flash of death

.

the deeds of rapacious tyrants

.

The penumbra of reason

.

the multitudinously murdered

Now glad to be in this city of fine wines

how good it feels to be secure among friends

who praise your genius and sing songs about you

Beloved of a young daughter

who is who she is because you’re her father

And a wife who retrieves you from streets filled with goblins

and smoothes your wrinkles and tucks you in her bed

 

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

50 rue des Francs-Bourgeois: by Liliane Richman

Mr. Soulié made pommes frites twice a day

in a kitchen full of books that overtook his flat

gathered on tables shelves and dressers

on fine furniture with pearly inlay

My brother was friendly with the literary gentleman

who confided he’d written a famous book

for a well-known West African writer

Then adopted a son

Kelefa Keita who came from Conakry Guinea

with a whole collection of African art

masks and gourds and staffs and wooden sculptures

ornate with bone and shells

You need to clean these things they give you asthma

all that dust old books yellowed paper remonstrated

my unimpressed mother who rang his bell

for conversation on her way up to our flat

But Monsieur Soulié laughed wide mouthed and ah ah  ah

until he choked three full minutes and laboriously began

breathing again while my mother fretted – Didn’t I tell you? –

And then he  recovered and began ah ah ah again

.

.

.

.

 

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

To Carmen, 1913-1992: by Liliane Richman

The car is a menace tonight
steering me to the edge
Bony hands my skinny companions
take me to solid ground run me to the kitchen
for a fat red cabbage
to shred against the pain of forgetting
for no matter how many times
I try replaying your death I lose it
your face and eyes staring above the hospital bed
beyond a sea of relatives’ faces
Of course it wasn’t sudden
but hadn’t you always recovered from worse?
Typhus anorexia a stroke three days in a coma

The surgeons scraped blood from your brain
and said you’d never be the same
Indeed your vision and hearing progressively failed
together with ambulatory motion,
as family members helpless but habituated
wished you a Hollywood ending
better luck better health
God didn’t you deserve them
after the concentration camp
four children five daily flights of stairs?

Pinch me harder this scene is in a play
written by a sadist
She lay sheet up to her neck
breathing hard no rehearsal this
and the gauze with water on her lips no relief
Still she didn’t convince me
Were I Moses in spite of God’s bidding
I’d say no it’s unfair I cannot accept this
No death for me nor can I believe yours despite the evidence
your face stonewashed cleansed of sorrows
draped in the bed’s whiteness
ogival memory receding vertiginously

 

Copyright 2013 Liliane Richman, all rights reserved

To find more poems by Liliane Richman, click HERE.