Address To Myself Across Decades
Stricken as you were with silence—the fall-out from that troubled Celtic island—
you were dumb, voice held as if in solitary
I remember you taking flight
from Dublin, fleeing the dole, the lone
twenty-four old you were.
You heaved that great bag, the
huge heft of it all
across continents to Tokyo.
The oppressive September heat of the East, heavy and thick held
you in place, no breath
of wind to stir your tongue, your thoughts taut still.
Silent, you pushed through that new city,
the furtive stares of the people: foreigner—
signaling the need to know yourself.
I see leaves of trees animated
the God I came to know releasing breath
gently bowing boughs
blowing blessings to all who listen.
Were I able to reach you then, from decades’ distance,
I might say,
“Go to the trees,
twine around trunks
press your palm on bark
a pine—lay supine
draw in the mystery of tree
Your silent stasis will pass.”
Might you have heard?
Written By: Bette Mc Donnell
About the Author: Bette Mc Donnell is from Dublin, Ireland but has called San Francisco home for many years. She’s returned to poetry after a long hiatus. Bette works for habitat restoration in the City (www.natureinthecity.org) and enjoys hiking, dancing, and learning about biomimicry.
Visual Art “Days Catch” By: Erick Orihuela
About the Artist: Erick Orihuela is an Ethnic Studies and Film as Literature high school teacher. He grew up in the Mission District after moving from Mexico City. For him, teaching is a means of showing people his favorite philosophers: Frantz Fanon, Silvia Federici, San Te of the Shaolin Temple, and MF Doom. Takes pictures to better balance work and ludic activities.