Lana Hechtman Ayers
Lana Hechtman Ayers nació en Nueva York, de padres estadounidenses. Creció en Queens, pasó quince años en Nueva Inglaterra, y luego se trasladó al noroeste del Pacífico, donde sigue viviendo.
Poeta, novelista, editora, y una entusiasta de viajes en el tiempo.
Es una asesora para manuscritos, promotora de talleres literarios, editora de poesía del Crab Creek Reviewy editora de Concrete Wolf Poetry Chapbook y de Late Bloom Poetry Series. Es autora de dos libros, Chicken Farmer I Still Love You (D-N Editores) y Dance From Inside Her Bones (Editorial Snake Nation).
Mi mente es un horno apagado
Síntomas alarmantes del Alzheimer:
Preguntar la misma pregunta una y otra vez.
¿Qué día es hoy?
Tener dificultad al realizar tareas comunes, como preparar la comida.
¿Cómo es posible que el pastel de carne esté crudo después de una hora?
Olvidar palabras simples u olvidar el nombre de algunos objetos.
¿Han visto mis… esas cosas metálicas que abren las puertas?
Extraviarse en el propio barrio y no saber cómo llegar a casa.
¿Ha estado ese semáforo siempre allí?
Tener problemas para entender una factura.
Cinco y siete son… llevo dos.
Olvidar con frecuencia donde dejamos las cosas o colocarlas en sitios inadecuados.
¿Cómo llegó el reloj a la nevera?
Volverse muy pasivo, tener la necesidad de ser impulsado para involucrarse.
No. No gracias, de verdad.
En el viaje de cinco minutos a casa,
los nombres de las calles
como un baile sencillo
y me pierdo,
giro a la izquierda, izquierda, izquierda,
antes que el barrio se enderece
y estoy de vuelta un dos tres
al frente de la casa.
La cara del reloj me esconde el tiempo
a medida que la cita con el médico
acelera su camino hacia el despeñadero.
Los neurólogos le dicen demencia,
pero mi formación en matemáticas,
me hace escuchar dimensiones, dimensiones,
topologías imposibles de n espacios
tan complejos y vastos
que están alfombrados con botellas de Klein,
trenes en los rieles de Mobius
que nunca llegan a su destino.
El horno está apagado.
No hay cena.
¿Quién iba a pensar
que hacer dieta
podía ser tan fácil?
Traductor: Armando Ibarra
kenai, part V
Sometimes things end before they truly begin.
Sometimes endings lead to new beginnings.
For believers in fate, the end is where one begins.
And every breath (every exhalation, moves one
closer to that end which is already slated,
though not known, and every breath feels restrained
somewhat) is tethered to the end from the beginning.
However, breath is also voice and voice is freedom,
for not even the expert speaker can put into words
all the emotions and experiences she has.
Every expression is a beginning and an end,
every poem a birth and a death. And every action
rolls the dice, a breath of life, will it be a sea cruise
to paradise or flight that ends in flames: we take a chance.
We live in the living:
let the breeze blow over us.
We die when we are dead:
the breath of death cannot be unsaid.
The moment in the park and at the towers
are of equal weight. We are people with history
time can redeem, for history is a design
of changing stories. For now, the light holds
on a winter's afternoon, by the sea in a small town.
Our story is now and in the universe.
Call upon the love within you, let love be the voice of
May we never cease from opening ourselves;
from the beginning of our opening
we release oppressive doctrines,
add infinite possibility to our lives.
Over a bridge, through the remembered moon gate
when the first of love was new to discover
was one of many beginnings
and endings in the wheel of time.
The directive of the park official
amid the profusion of tourists
(so many, so hard to ignore)
but heard, half-obeyed, in the unstillness
of two beating hearts, held breaths.
Quick now, here, now, always—
the condition of endless potential
offering not less than everything.
Regardless of life’s hypocrisies, we will evolve.
We will evolve and be extraordinary
when hope and faith are disentangled
by our capacity for unconditional love
and free will and fate are one.
Despite how mystically moonlight snakes a path across the lake tonight, and because love is the property solely of country music, and since Plath’s bell jar of pain runneth over for all eternity, I will write only of a toe—a plain enough thing—the fourth toe on my mother’s right foot and how each day, despite my bathing it, my application of greasy salve, the wrapping and rewrapping to apply just enough pressure, it continued to blacken, the toe like a banana past sweetness to the other side of neglect, or salt beef dried to jerky, tenderness abandoned to gristle, so I write this about my mother’s toe, how the doctor tells us it must go as if speaking of an ingrown hair or a splinter, as if it were nothing important, nothing a person spent her whole life walking on, on grass, over damp-mopped kitchen linoleum, dancing backwards in high heels over slick-waxed ballrooms floors, or in babyhood grabbed for all googley-eyed and occasionally even sucked, this dried-up toe that oddly causes mother no pain, and yet when the doctor says the toe must go, this woman who was a marble column at father’s bedside during his failed chemo, who later presided over father’s grave, stolid as a granite headstone, and not long after, this woman who sat composed as Rodin’s “Bather” as another doctor spoke the word mastectomy to her, and all through radiation wore a Mona Lisa smile, this woman does a thing I’d never seen her do, my mother cries, sobs, weeps, exhausts all the tissues in the doctor’s stainless dispenser, and keeps crying over this very small rotten toe, this calamity of losing what one least expected to lose.
“The Toe” appears in the e-book anthology Fire on Her Tongue (Two Sylvias Press, 2012).
What the Wolf Told a Bartender About
Red Riding Hood
I was alright 'til I fell in love with you.
I wasn't out to devour her.
She was the kind of woman
who couldn't find herself
in a mirror.
How could I foresee
she'd end up consuming me.
Now, I can't see myself
The Wolf Reflects
On His First Meeting With Red Riding Hood
it was red, as red as the Swiss flag,
yes, it was red, as red as chicken blood
She wore that red cape like
a bandage, like bloody bondage.
Who wouldn’t want to save her
from the boredom of happily ever after,
which never really was or else the Brothers Grimm
wouldn’t have stopped there, would they?
Red was off the path picking flowers, so to speak,
witnessing art up close for the first time.
And what painting should set her to fainting
than the one she most resembled? Salome.
Had Red’s mother cunningly showcased
this daughter’s wares for her own gain?
I could only guess, yes, she had, for Red’s eyes
were fair sorrows, untried amber.
I smelled trepidation, so I vowed
I’d make a feast of her salvation.
Gretel Advises Red Riding Hood
It didn’t matter what my friends say.
I just want to see you so bad.
Red, you’re like a sister. Though I’m no
expert on sex, despite my conquest
of every one of the seven dwarfs
before sleazy Snow White
moved in on them
(and Sneezy still says he prefers me).
But the way I see it, it’s just honey.
Better to be buzzed by more bees
than give up all your pollen
to one hungry fellow
no matter how furry
or feral he may be.
Besides, you’ve already
got that wooden drone at home
do you really want to hitch yourself
to an artsy alternate?
Red, spread your clover all over
as I do. These woods are busy with lovers.
Baba Yaga Gives Red Riding Hood an Earful
I was tired of being a woman,
tired of the spoons and the pots,
tired of my mouth and my breasts...
I've pulled the plow
by my teeth, fed souls
of unborn babes on the marrow
of my own bones.
I've called clouds down
from heaven, swallowed the stars
while in my raven guise.
I've charmed snakes,
sung to wolves,
hummed thunder and
spit rain. No one can claim
I've had a dull life.
I'm nobody's wife
and no one's Grandma.
Don't come by my roost
looking for fresh-baked pie
or warm cookies.
I'll give you fire if you bargain
fair and even a lock
of my steely hair
but you won't get a hug
from me. Don't come whining,
looking for someone to wipe
your snotty nose.
I'd sooner make soup
of your toes. I don't have time
to waste on complainers.
And men, I loved one once.
He was a woodcutting dunce
like yours, looking to marry
his mother in a younger body.
I told him to take a hike.
and when that didn't work,
I cut out his eyes and sent him
toward the pike. That Oedipus has not
been seen or heard from since.
Don't wince, honey.
Take my advice,
put foxes in a trance,
teach your chicken-legged
house to dance.
A man will just keep you down.
How are you going to patrol
the gateway of the dead
wearing glass slippers
and a ball gown?
Trade in that red cape for
an even redder dress.
Live your story,
your own—not mine.
Never say yes
when you mean no,
and mean no
all of the time.
Whisper, He's Driving
A gray chamois shawl enwraps the morning sky.
She's thinking of what her grandma used to say
whenever it rained like this,
"It's a good day to be a fish," and she smiles.
For a moment, she studies him, his hands, knuckled
to the steering wheel, then closes her eyes. The downpour
against the windshield, sounds something like November
leaves crushed underfoot, like oil spattering from a pan,
but reminds her most of the clatter
of her string of cobalt glass beads,
broken, scattering across the oaken floor,
last night, when he hit her but didn't mean to,
his hand a blunt board,
his ring snaring the clasp, tearing
the whole thing from her throat.
This weather shushes her heart, that she imagines
glows with smudgy incandescence inside her chest,
much like the blurred necklace of halted taillights ahead.
"Could a person drown in all this rain?"
she wonders aloud, but softly,
whisper, he's driving.
Around the shoulders of the highway,
she notices that all the maple trees are bare but one,
still clutching its clusters of leaves like yellow bouquets,
like roses one offers in sympathy.
Of This Yellow
of this yellow the falconer cries foul
when the field is bloodied
of every delicate breath
of this yellow the president boasts progress
unemployment down retirement up
just look at those flags people
of this yellow an old woman
removes her shoes and leaves them
at the bank of Blue Gully
before joining her trout ancestors
of this yellow I have a knot
in my gut
of this yellow a tiger
of this yellow Whitman yawped
and my mother warned me
of this yellow my Uncle Louie spits
pulls a blade of tobacco from his teeth
and lights his cherry-bowled pipe