Greenburgh Arts And Culture

         "We celebrate the creative arts!"

Sarah Bracey White, Executive Director. Advisory Board: Kevin Morgan, Town Board Liaison;  Gwen Cort, Carolyn McNair, and Barbara Mohr

   

Featured Poet: Ruth D. Handel

Ruth D Handel is a poet, writer and professor emerita, Montclair State University.  She is the author of Momentary Stays (Dos Madres Press, 2017), No Border is Perrenial, (Dos Madros Press, 2015), Tugboat Warrior (Dos Madros Press, 2013), and Reading the White Spaces (Finishing Line Press, 2009). She teaches poetry courses and workshops in poetry writing, gives poetry performances, and manages the Poetry Caravan.  To reach Ruth for more information about the Poetry Caravan, email her at Ruthhandel@Verizon.net.

                      

                              Hope

Eight at a wooden table, some in hospital gowns,

others in jeans, flowered blouses or tee shirts

with logos like Ramones, Kiss Me, and H.E.L.P.

One woman sits arms folded tight, others sprawl

in the chairs and one lays her face on the table

and I can’t tell if she’s resting or crying but it’s time

to begin so I greet them all and say now we will

read an Emily Dickinson poem called “Hope.”

 

After Marissa says she has heard of that writer

in high school and there is discussion of metaphor

and someone says “the thing with feathers is a bird

of hope,” Anna calls out she once had a bird. “Joey,

my parrot, sat on my shoulder.  When I went bipolar

they took him away.”

Then Anna is weeping. Muriel

shushes her. Velma, the silent one, holds her hand.

Maybe I’ll cure myself

From this illness,

(Anna writes )

Maybe I’ll go home on Friday

With a lot of awareness.

Maybe you’ll teach me

How to be my own mind. 

[from Momentary Stays by Ruth D. Handel, Dos Madres Press, 2017


                Isabel’s Dancing Hips

                         (after reading Lucille Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips”-

                                    Good Woman, BOA Editions Ltd., 1987)

she is getting up and saying

that the lines are swinging fine, 

she reads out Lucille Clifton’s poem, 

says she feels divine.

she’s a goddess, she’s an actress, 

she dances around the table, 

tells the women clap their hands 

hard as they are able.

 

getting up and flaunting

all the beauty of her form,  

she swivels her big hips around

as if the world’s new born.

she’s a whirlwind, she’s a rap star

and all the women laughing.

gaiety lights the shabby room;

Isabel keeps on dancing.

[from Momentary Stays by Ruth D. Handel, Dos Madres Press, 2017]


                 Proxies and Permissions

Is it their meds,

the supportive ethos of the place,

the poems that give permission

for their openness,

their disjointed phrases

of hurt

hope, longing?

 

They don’t have to share.

Most do,

as if prompted by poems

that put words

to a formless galaxy 

of feeling.

 

We need these proxies,

more fluent than ourselves.

 

[from Momentary Stays by Ruth D. Handel, Dos Madres Press, 2017]