This excerpt was submitted by Susan E. Woods ’70 from a lovely, unique book published by Susan and her mother, Helen H. Woods, MD ’36, entitled Guacamole Conversations: Mother Daughter Reflections across Time and Place.
I’d like to coin a new phase: guacamole moments – named for way my Mother expressed that word to capture all she was missing of her former life on the Texas Gulf Coast, when she practiced medicine and my father was alive. Guacamole moments are unspoken moments of recognition, appreciation, regret and connection that fall below the surface of everyday interactions with those we love. They are the shared understandings we realize between the lines of explicit events but most too fail to express.
Tamara M. Fricke (2010) is a Frances Perkins Scholar and is the 2010 co-winner of the Gertrude Claytor Award of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Springfield, Mass., and currently serves as the vice president of the Massachusetts Chamber of Business and Industry.
In a wasteland of booze,
hapless, pie-eyed patrons
guzzle pints of fermented yeast,
groping for a complicit embrace.
Hapless, pie-eyed patrons
ride somber beech steeds
groping for a complicit embrace
through a thicket of bluesy need.
Astride somber beech steeds,
women wilt with frost sheaves on their glass
through a thicket of bluesy need,
men splinter like rotted branches with each shot.
Women wilt with frost sheaves on their glass,
stale music entices labored pulses,
men splinter like rotted branches with each shot,
as lust fuels beer-drenched flesh to motion.
Stale music entices labored pulses,
heavy heads nod and sway along.
Lust fuels beer-drenched flesh to motion,
while hungry eyes scavenge the room.
Courtney McDermott received her MFA in creative writing, with a minor in gender studies, from the University of Notre Dame in 2011. She has been published in the Iowa Source Poetry Anthology, Italy from a Backpack, the Berkeley Fiction Review, Highlights Children’s Magazine, and online at the Raving Dove and the Daily Palette. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Lesotho, and currently teaches high school English in St. Louis, MO.
Through the Looking Lens
I met a man who searched for names of odd little towns on the Iowa state map. Jericho, Macedonia, Paris. Rome and Defiance. He looked at the alphabetical lists provided in the indices of atlases so that he wouldn’t know where – exactly – in the state they were. He’d imagine how they got their names and designed the downtowns of each in his brain.
I’d say, “I know where Jericho is!”
And he’d say, “Shh. Don’t tell me.”
Then when it was a spring Saturday, he planned to get in his truck and go to a few counties and see what weird-sounding towns each county had to proffer, a grab bag of funny hamlets and stolen European capitals. He decided he’d photograph the blessings of each, and I’d compile them into a book.