Poem by Andrei Guruianu, a Romanian immigrant

Alien Authorized To Work

-by Andrei Guruianu

 

 

“Legal for one more year, my father’s voice
like an excited child on the phone
tells me his papers have come,
the papers, the papers,
all I ever heard growing up
with the weight of expectations,
playing the good immigrant son,
learning to anticipate
those envelopes from the government
more than the arrival of Christmas morning.
The papers came today, my father said,
and it means he’s legal for one more year,
made real by a document,
not by the worth of his mind,
the sweat on his gray, receding brow,
a broken body defined by two words —
legal, alien — the internal rhyme
of a working immigrant man.
And because his taxes are good enough,
his muscle and blood is good enough,
he’s allowed to work to pay
for the name that scars like a firebrand,
the number and the letter A engrained
in the skin that cannot be washed clean
and printed under laminated shifting holograms
that for a price renews the burden every year,
should he ever dare forget
that indeed he comes from somewhere else.”

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Colorado Immigrant Poet’s Resume

 

   Dear Arts Educators:

Ms. Solomon is available as a featured poet/speaker and workshop facilitator at American high schools, colleges and universities, churches, libraries, women’s groups and book clubs for pre-arranged fee and transportation.  

Publications: Anushka Anastasia Solomon is an Evergreen, Colorado poet and freelance columnist/contributor to The Denver Post, Op-Ed/Colorado Voices (2002-2003), Canyon Courier, Her Letters To The World, The Asia Literary Review, MalaysiaKini.com, Mascara Literary Review, Mountain Connection, Colorado Serenity, Progenitor of Arapahoe Community College, Relief: A Christian Literary Expression etc. Her creative non- fiction essays have been accepted by Chrysalis Reader.

She is the author of  Please, God, Don’t Let Me Write Like A Woman, Finishing Line Press 2007 and  The Hindu and The Punk, Pudding House Press 2009.

 

Amnesty International: Ms. Solomon’s poetry was read by Amnesty International at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scotland in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

2007: One of 12 writers/journalist featured in Amnesty International’s Imprisoned Writers, At Risk or in Exile Series. Selected poems read from Please, God, Don’t Let Me Write Like A Woman, Finishing Line Press.

The 12 include Cuban journalist, Pablo Pacheco Avila, Iranian 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Nigerian Chris Abani, Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, Chinese journalist Shi Tao, Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was murdered in 2006, imprisoned Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi the, Palestinian refugee writer in Scotland Iyad Hayatleh, and Tibetan writer Woeser whose works have been banned in China.

 
2008: One of 8 women featured in Amnesty International’s Heroes and Heroines Exhibition. The 8 women featured included: Anna Politkovskaya, Lydia Cacho, Shirin Ebadi, Arundhathi Roy, Wangari Maathai, Aung San Suu Kyi and Woeser.2009: Amnesty International read Ms. Solomon’s poem, Of The Indian I’m Not. She was featured at the Glasgow Women’s Library, International Heroines Exhibition for speaking up against human rights abuses in the face of repression. Scottish writer A. L Kennedy read excerpts of the women’s work.Awards & Recognitions:  2009: Anushka Solomon won 3rd Prize in the Denver Woman’s Press Club (DWPC) In-House Writers Competition for  “Gegen Klimt”, an ekphrasis poem.

2007-Current: On the panel of poetry judges for DWPC’s The Unknown Writers’ Competition.  

2007: Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts nominee, Denver, Colorado, Office of Cultural Affairs.

2007: Writers On War: How Do We Write The Political In A Time of War? Presented  literary readings and discussion into the cultural experience of war with Nick Arvin, author of Articles of War and Rawdon Tomlinson, Colorado Book Award Winner in Poetry at an event hosted by Chris Ransick, Denver Poet Laureate and Dr. Kathryn Winograd, at Arapahoe Community College.

1995: 3rd prize winner of the IV Malaysian National Short Story Competition sponsored by The New Straits Times-SHELL.

 

Background: 

Poetry and Creative Writing  for  Ms. Solomon is a  tool to utilize, understand, adopt and embrace new ideas that  develop a strong sense of individual identity amidst a complex, mercurial and disturbing modern world. Ms. Solomon re-imagines, carefully observes, listens and envisions the world afresh. The result is a powerful transformative message rendered in poetry, affirming the life giving properties of poetry, art and literature – it’s power to heal, empower and engage the student of life.

Ms. Solomon ‘s work  reflects her multicultural/multilingual background, and American college education at diverse schools – University of Missouri-Columbia and Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. As a Malaysian-American, a legal immigrant to the United States, Anushka Solomon is  a unique voice.

Prior to fleeing Malaysia, her country of origin, in 1998, Ms. Solomon taught English As A Second Language, Critical Thinking and Listening/Speaking Skills  at two different Malaysian institutions ITM, (a Malay-Muslim institution) and INTI College, (a college set up by Chinese Malaysian businessmen to address existing racial educational opportunity disparity in Malaysia).

Anushka Anastasia Solomon, B.A (Hampshire College, MA)

Poet/Educator/Motivational Speaker

Author Website: http://www.atthewindow.us

Email: solomon_rex@hotmail.com

Faith In the Midst of a Hailstorm.Job 38:21-23

Faith is living out the unanswerable questions of faith with our very lives. On Friday, June  there was a hailstorm that began at 3pm, the hour of great mercy, it lasted 11 minutes and flattened the gardens. The aspen leaves fell to the ground and small perfect balls of ice pelted the face of the earth. The beautiful scripture that came to mind is: Job 38:21-23.

21. Knowest thou it because thou was then born? or because the number of thy days is great?

22. Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,

23. Which I have reserved against the day of battle and war?

Will upload pictures later.

Queer Lot

“Taking us by and large, we’re a queer lot. We women who write poetry.”

-Amy Lowell.

Everything is Beautiful -sung by Marie Osmond

For sometime now, a song or a single lyric floats into my head. I notice that if I let that song set the tone for the rest of the day, I am good. Today after Daily Mass -when really a lot of happy things happen, no matter what is going on in the world outside -I came home, happy!

This song lyric floated into my head. So I googled it..thank God for Holy Google! Found several versions on You Tube. Dolly Parton and Willy Nelson sang it and Marie Osmond. I post this version because I grew  up in Malaysia listening to Donny and Marie Osmond.  Donny and Marie whether they know it or not are my brother and sister. I have begun to walk on a path that seeks an undeterred good. ….I have 6.5 billion relatives…if someone persecutes me, I’ll just run into the arms of those who will shelter me…carry on that way till I get to God and that home in heaven God has promised me.

The Osmonds were not censored in Malaysia – what was there to censor? It was good clean music. That is what I see from my end of the window. I pray to God for the grace to see good, to rehearse it, sing it and play that in my mind, like a prayer.

The Summons by John L. Bell

I heard this song, The Summons, at Christ The King today at Sunday mass. As my eyes followed the lyrics written in the hymn book, and my ears heard the music and my lips sang the song, God it seemed was answering me.

I am human. After 11 years in America experiencing apparently needless poverty and persecution, I wondered why. Afterall the three of us came in legally, well-educated, speaking fluent English, why? why? why?

The words of this song answered me as if God, Himself, had sung to me, His Summons. My answer now  – Heaven, yes!

The Malaysian born poet’s point of view

There are a lot of broken things in my life right now – computer, vaccum cleaner, mixer, dishes, dishwasher, fireplace, the bank, my heart…..and of course I am broke ….but in all this the song of the broken heart is joy! In my broken things, I find poetry! My friend Tristen gave me her old computer and I am back online. I don’t feel bad about poverty because as my husband assures me ‘it is a temporary cash flow problem’…indeed this is how immigrants in America make it – we persevere, we endure and we press on.

America is a great country, like the American born politicians and pastors like to say, but we, the immigrants, are who bring the fresh blood in to invigorate the economy and resuscitate the dying with the sheer poetry of our contributions. So a little poverty and the broken things, no longer affect me or frighten me as it once did….if in God we trust…

By the way, go to Janet Glovinsky’s art gallery http://www.glovinskygallery.com/ and  look at this huge painting there …..she did not have my family in mind when she painted it…but it is a beautiful icon and contemporary symbol for our great nation of immigrants.

My MalaysiaKini.com editor told me a poor poet is an oxymoron and he is right! I made the other day, what my husband called ‘a poor man’s tiramisu’ to cheer up my son. He said, “wow, mom”. I felt like I had won the Nobel prize for literature.

Here is the recipe made from what was in the fridge:

Old bread but not too old, whipped cream from Thanksgiving frozen, thank God, so not fresh but not stale or  ‘off’, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Cut into triangles , sprinkled with cocoa powder and powdered sugar on a pretty glass plate with a silver dessert fork from Walmart – the poet is made rich!

Last Sunday I was at this poetry event http://www.glovinskygallery.com/

with other poets and my cup runneth over. I met many of my poet friends who are family. They give me welcome….Veronica Patterson, Lynda LaRocca, Janet Glovinsky, Anita Jepsen Gilbert, Julie Cummings, Jen Bosveld and Gene Bradford….and many poets who bring home to me the great generosity and honesty that really is found among American poets and the poets of all nations.

Sometimes I think there out to be a panel of poets advising governments on the best course of action. We ought to hire soldier  poets – I know one, Major Jay Yancey  – to be on this committee to create  cross cultural communication and international relations. Of course I recommend myself for this committee and insist that we all be paid a living wage. It is a pity when like the German poet Rainer Marie Rilke we cannot afford our own work.

I hate the hypocrites – religious, political and corporate -who take art and poetry into their drawing rooms and lose all knowledge of the true passion of the heart, that walks and rests on the streets of the nations.

I’d stop blaming people in Washington by the way. I’ve begun to dislike the snippy, sarcastic speech of some American politicians. They are snuffing their brother and sister’s candle out so their own can shine. What school, bible or parent taught them that?