April 2014


I have my Pappoo’s fingernails, Yia Yia’s eyes.
I have my Poppy’s anger to fuel my passion,
Matera’s guilt to counter action,
Tochayo’s spirit possesses me.
I have no shoes to fill and a long journey to take
First born in the New World
not so New anymore
An honest mistake, lovers’ proof of sin
Something that grips within
and stalls—the standstill
that stops steps to something sublime.
Grandfather’s words of wisdom
Burned into my brain
Grandmother’s hugs Seared into my skin
Barriers to the fury waged by them
In violent love as a result of their sin.
Tochayo, she was herself.
“¡No toque mi pelo!—Don’t touch my hair!”
“Fea,” my name to keep Evil at bay
The sin that sorted my bones no matter to her.
“¿Dónde está tu novio?” pregunta primero,
Her gypsy soul blessed the anger & guilt,
fingernails and eyes, a forward to
Life’s Great Surprise
Antidote to Deceit and Lies.
I am my own woman- The first of my line-
Started by my mother to defy and define
Tradition, submission, choice.

For Tochayo, Yia Yia, and Manamu,
For Pappoo and Poppy
My gift, my voice
Shout it loud and shout it proud
I face the storm face first with strength-
A fist waving in the desert wind.

—Gloria Manthos

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