Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sandra Narua Esteves: PRD #23 "Portrait in Raising Self-Esteem

This poem is flush with important images for me.

"Survival manna"- the nourishment that sustains us and keeps us alive;

"every car and plastic bag, a failure"- how do we ever have any sense of accomplishment or indeed, self-esteem when this is what society at large is telling us all the time?

"there are no joysticks to the inner life" connotes a feeling of lack of control.

I could go on- every line in this poem is rife with meaning. I love how she incorporates this desperate capitalist ambivalence into such a beautiful poem. ("who can harvest the stars around the moon") It really speaks to the predicament that we are all in, of recognizing beauty and the sacredness of everything amidst such shallow behavior on the part of society at large. That dichotomy is difficult to capture on the page, I think, yet Esteves does it with ease.

She ends the poem with "But for real." This is a modern colloquialisim, one I hear nearly every day with my junior highers, but stuck down at the end of this poem, it resonates as something extremely profound and poignant. Like if we all adhere to her receipe

"the names of all things are sacred
like thoughts breathing clean air
More than loving
living means giving
Like homegrown food
from the eternal harvest within"

it will actually come to fruition. I'm gushing, I love it. And I hope she is right.

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