Everyday Gestures by Beatriz Badikian-Gartler
(after a photograph)
A mother at the ironing-board, a father
at the assembly line. Both bent over. She
with the old coal iron
in one hand, the other
straightening out the cloth, a lock
of hair drawing a question mark
on her forehead. Wrinkles smoothed out
on a blue and yellow flowered dress. Are there
screaming children on the other side
of the door from where light
barely filters in?
the drudgery of everyday, and
the return home, spent yet empty.
[From Beatriz Badikian-Gartler’s web site: Born in Buenos Aires, and a long time Chicago resident, it’s no wonder Beatriz is a world traveler.
Beatriz Badikian-Gartler earned her doctorate in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants in the language arts. Recently, Badikian-Gartler has been a faculty member at Chicago’s Roosevelt University , the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Newberry Library where she teaches literature, writing and women’s studies. Today she teaches at Northwestern University in Evanston, and was recently named one of 100 Women Who Make a Difference by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine.]
A 16 Year Old-Girl Who’s Standing by Woudóf Milé (Rudolf Miller)
translated from the Haitian Creole by Jack Hirschman and Boadiba, from Open Gate the bilingual anthology of Haitian Creole poetry edited by Hirschman and Pol Larak (Paul Laraque)
A 16 year-old
on the corner of Grand and Miracle Streets,
at 11 in the evening
in a tired little dress
A 16 year-old girl
who’s standing like an i
under and arcade
She’s not waiting for a bus
she’s not waiting for anyone
it’s just that at her house
her hungry mother
is about to die
she’d rather be standing there
at 11 in the evening
in the cold under the Grand Street
[Open Gate is the first bilingual volume of Haitian Creole poetry published in English. Seven years in the making, this anthology is the result of the dedication of its editors and translators, Paul Laraque, Jack Hirschman and the Haitian poet Boadiba, as well as Max Manigat, one of the first teachers of Creole at the university level.
The editors focus on contemporary Creole poetry that reflects the struggle for human rights in Haiti,. . .read more here. Paul Laraque is former secretary-general of the Association of Haitian Writers Abroad (1979-1986). He is the author of several poetry books in French and in Creole, the language of Haitian people; some were translated in Spanish, English and Italian. Camourade (Camarade/Comrade and Amour/Love), translated from French into English by Rosemary Manno, was published by Curbstone Press in 1988, with an introduction by Jack Hirschman. Hirschman, a prolific author of his own poetic works, also translates from 8 languages. He will open the Chicago Labor & Arts Festival on May 3 and 4.