Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier Oct 10, 2008 15:55:19 GMT 2
Post by thepoetslizard on Oct 10, 2008 15:55:19 GMT 2
Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier was conceived in Baguio City, the Philippines, and born in Los Angeles, California. She has taught writing for many years, and has traveled extensively throughout Asia as a journalist. Among her works are the novella Seeking Thirst (Firstfruits, 2003) and the novel Autobiography of a Stranger (1990). Carlene has contributed short stories, poetry and reviews to Our Own Voice and other venues.
"after the dance"
Valerie wasn't beautiful.
Her hair was beautiful:
long, black, thick, silky.
Valerie was strong. Not defiant. Strong.
When she was 12 and I was 10
I cut her hair.
It fell, like a spell,
Her mother had been beautiful.
She was jealous of Valerie
of her hair, of the way people
were just naturally drawn to her.
That night we'd gone to a dance
in East Los Angeles.
Valerie's mother had a lot of what
she called "cocktails," but
she smelled like stale beer.
We tried to ignore her.
Back home. In the kitchen.
Valerie ordered into a chair.
Valerie's mother hands me the scissors.
"Cut it," she said, almost off-handedly,
as if she's said, "Brush it" or "Braid it."
I couldn't move. Wouldn't take the scissors.
Started to cry.
Valerie grabbed the scissors
from her mother,
Thrust them into my hand and,
for the first time ever,
yelled at me.
"Cut it," she screamed.
her mother fell back as if Valerie had struck her.
I cut her hair
whatever it was
that had held us together.
Playing, like God, nicely.
I look and see her back.
She's seated cross-legged and intent,
flowers around and accepted.
I don't know what she's imagining
but I see she has no need to turn.
She's made spires out of mud
Tall enough to sit upon her shoulders,
epaulets of earth water-formed.
Her arms fold under her head,
an ankle placed upon a knee.
She breathes the heavy sweetness of no cares.
She can rest.
I can love her.
Not for me or anyone
She stretches her arms,
Curls comfort—full into herself.
A thousand castles,
A million queens,
crumble in her company.
That's how she starts the day.
Our Own Voice, January 2003
The Wandering Self: Luisa A. Igloria's review of
Autobiography of a Stranger by Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier