Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT September 22nd 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read “The Sign in My Father’s Hands” by Martín Espada, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about learning something no one told you.”

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

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Please join us for our next session Friday September 24th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

"The Sign in My Father’s Hands" by Martín Espada

         —for Frank Espada

The beer company
did not hire Blacks or Puerto Ricans,
so my father joined the picket line
at the Schaefer Beer Pavilion, New York World’s Fair,   
amid the crowds glaring with canine hostility.   
But the cops brandished nightsticks
and handcuffs to protect the beer,
and my father disappeared.

In 1964, I had never tasted beer,
and no one told me about the picket signs   
torn in two by the cops of brewery.
I knew what dead was: dead was a cat   
overrun with parasites and dumped   
in the hallway incinerator.
I knew my father was dead.
I went mute and filmy-eyed, the slow boy   
who did not hear the question in school.   
I sat studying his framed photograph   
like a mirror, my darker face.

Days later, he appeared in the doorway   
grinning with his gilded tooth.
Not dead, though I would come to learn   
that sometimes Puerto Ricans die   
in jail, with bruises no one can explain   
swelling their eyes shut.
I would learn too that “boycott”
is not a boy’s haircut,
that I could sketch a picket line   
on the blank side of a leaflet.

That day my father returned
from the netherworld
easily as riding the elevator to apartment 14-F,   
and the brewery cops could only watch   
in drunken disappointment.
I searched my father’s hands
for a sign of the miracle.

2 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT September 22nd 2021

  1. Write about learning something no one told me~~~

    It came on a dreary day in late winter.
    The dark, grey clouds hung low in the sky and there was a subdued feeling in the air.
    It was the day my mother was to pass from this earth after her long, courageous battle with cancer.

    Emotions followed whose intensity I was not prepared for.
    A physical aching in my heart,
    a sense of immense loss,
    a sense that the world had stopped spinning for me,
    but somehow not for others.

    The passage of time would heal wounds, but unfortunately,
    it was a feeling that would be returning again.
    Death, loss of loved ones, profound sadness … it doesn’t get easier,
    a lesson difficult to learn.

    But time moves on, other lessons to be learned.


    • Pam

      I’m Still Learning…

      No one told me that growing up would be such a tricky business
      I was a bouncy, grinning, curly-haired kid, able to see the good in nearly everyone

      No one told me it would be so hard to find the truth
      In glinting smiles, deceptive looks and promised successes

      No one told me how important community would become
      As I grew older, wiser, and yet more foolish as well

      No one told me to alway listen carefully, pause and consider
      What you can agree with, how to voice dissent, and when to tiptoe lightly in the world.


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