Sunday, March 14, 2021

Women's History Month: Sunday, March 14, 2021: Viola Weinberg's Two Poems "I Have Fallen" and "Don't Drink the Water"

I Have Fallen

Not for the first or last time

not gracefully for a person

of my size, age or hair color

not predictably, yet not surprisingly


But deep and hard, as if

the painted concrete floor

was love itself, as if I were young

and rubbery, tough as a buttress


Those who jump to my aid,

the three men who lift me, seem

unaware of what good men they are

rescue dogs, they grin like Labradors


Unfortunately, I have fallen and

My face is scarlet red and my friends

worry, and my sense of dignity

is blue as the goose egg on my skull


Sore as Lucrecia held by the nape

Angry as Conchita and her rolling red cape

beaten but not defeated, an elderly Joan of Arc

with so many deeds incomplete and unspoken


Lifted by three strong men, I grumble like

a bag of crackers as it meets the rolling pin

Entirely mortified as I come up, sudden as a helix

one man says, more than once, “Do you stand?”


Yes, but where I stand, I do not know


©2020 Viola Weinberg


Don’t Drink the Water


Deity, legend, mother tree or wayward cloud

Don’t take her now, not Auntie who concocted cakes

that made men cry by poking holes in the top

and drizzling chocolate syrup, waving it like

the flag of a fertile woman against the unknown


She who got me in the habit of

convertible rides in the heat of night

Wonderful auntie who took me merrily

to the little graveyard where she laughed

about the unthinkable day she would rest

there, “Bring a picnic! Bring a lawn chair!


Come for a visit, but don’t stay long!”

Then, as we walked among the graves

of her forebears, gritty pioneer women

to a one, some who died in fires—

some who died behind a groaning plow—

women who fell in brutal childbearing


Some who fought death, one burned as a witch


I wore a huge black hat when her turn came,

An old man sat casually on the family stone and fell

As if a well of bones closed around him and everything

locked around her: our bones, the good times gone

the charms on her gorgeous wrists tinkling, her good looks

sad and beautiful, as if the melting snow


© 2021 Viola Weinberg

Viola Weinberg was the first Poet Laureate of Sacramento, CA, serving as a literary ambassador to sprawling Sacramento’s schools, libraries, parks, museums, government lunch hours and nightclubs. With ten books written, Weinberg also founded
The Tough Old Broads, a group of four women with 200 years of writing between them. Together, they wrote Tough Enough, available on Cold River Press.
In her working life, she worked in radio and TV news, before joining a think tank and conducting private foundation grantmaking. She retired to rural Sonoma County where she writes in a yurt. She is a Glenna Luschei Fellow.

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