Poems by Maria Varela

CASEY IN NEW YORK (late 1970s)

Lives in a warehouse
Upstairs loft
Not an 'in-crowd' loft.
A real warehouse loft.
2'x8' planks worn in the middle with big cracks between.
Other warehouses framed in windows.
A window box with a sad healing plant
And a small new shoot of marijuana.
It looked like tentative steps out of a hiding place.

She was thin.
I needed something to sit,
to grab hold of,
so I wouldn't stare.
I sat at the table
gratefully accepting a cup of coffee.

"We were refugees from the destruction of our 'beloved community'" she said
She was also a refugee from domestic abuse.
'because of the children'....

15 years ago
Remembering our long breakfasts
When freedom fighters
Took off battle trappings on Sunday mornings,
wanting some corner of peace in our lives.

Casey's blue berry muffins
Coffee filtered through paper towels
...And unburnt bacon.
"Northerners don't know how to cook bacon
They have no patience
(Heard to this day, every time I cook bacon)
Our Sunday morning attempts at some sort of normal.

But Today:
"I can't live here
I don't belong here
But I have no place to go back to.

Afterwards, I wrote
"Casey de Tejas
Cornflower blue eyes
A slender slip
Sprouting up between Manhattan rock
Keep your petals alive
Keep alive...

She found a way to leave,
eventually back to the Southwest
where healing plants thrive.

Last year
Casey sent me "The Blessings of Space Between us" (John O'Donoghue)
I read it
looking for the blessings in our spaces.

[In memory of Casey Hayden, SNCC]

Poems copyright © Maria Varela, all rights reserved.


Copyright ©
Webspinner: webmaster@crmvet.org
(Labor donated)