Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Perfect Job

What's your perfect job?  Mine would be sitting at my computer and writing each day.  Well, since I do that but still have to earn my living, I am now on the eve of attending the TESOL conference. TESOL means thousands of people from all over the world, hundreds of talks, and very few jobs posted. What's always shocked me is how a profession (ESL) that is filled with low salaried jobs holds its yearly conference in pricey hotels with high conference fees.
 The last time I went began my Spanish odyssey, first with an interview for a job at ACHNA in Madrid.  Gary interviewed me and he was so charming, I immediately took the job though there were others that were higher paying.  He was a great director and unfortunately was lost to AIDS. 
   Madrid was one of those defining moments in my life.  Many of the friends I made stayed with me and the job teaching adults English was great with an endless supply of stimulating materials. Madrid itself was fun too but I moved on (and stayed) in a more peaceful Barcelona.
   I don't expect any life defining moments at this conference except to reconnect with old friends and look and see if that ever elusive perfect job is out there.

TESOL- teaching English to speakers of other languages

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Old First Ward

The old first ward in Buffalo is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.  It's where the Irish first settled when they came to the city to work in the grain mills that are now imposing hunks of metal shading the small houses.  Since the neighborhood is still home to Irish bars and neighbors, it's the place to be for St. Patrick's Day with its annual neighborhood parade.  Nothing could be more welcoming than seeing the mix of floats commemorating deceased community members, police and firemen unions and a variety of other organizations that remind that Buffalo is still a union town even in these times.
    Attending the parade makes me realize everyone except me and my friends know everyone in the vicinity, and greet each other effusively as they march by.  I have a flash of that feeling I know so well, that of not being a part of a place.  And that leads me to the disturbing story of a Congolese refugee and his family who moved to the First Ward and were victims, not once, but twice, of arson. 
  A long time resident of the community was indicted for both incidents of arson.  There were the usual expressions of disbelief, and fortunately, great sympathy for the victim who had survived the horrors of Congo only to suffer in the First Ward. 
   This crime tainted the sweet camraderie and charm of St. Paddy's Day in what is called, the old neighborhood.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Today I was pleased to read my friend Raquel's FB post about IWD in Latvia- she said women were carrying flowers on this beautiful day.  In China, women have the day off!  Here we are moving backward in a frightening way.  The state of Virginia just passed a requirement of ultrasound for woman seeking an abortion.  And we all know about the horrors of Rush Limbaugh.  So much hatred  against women. 
   This is a poem of witness I wrote that appeared in my first chapbook:


Past knots and tendons,

I look

through bone

and see,

in centuries past-

my face shrivel

as flames rise higher.

The point of a sword

slashes my belly.

Today, head to toe in black,

I barely breathe,

walk the required

steps behind.

The open hand

of my husband

reddens my cheek.

In  India, China girls

form the Greek chorus,

and chant,

Never born,

Never born.