I worked with Melinda Palacio years ago at The Arizona Republic when we were both features clerks. I hadn’t seen her in years, but we recently connected on Facebook and discovered we have a lot in common these days! Writing! Melinda is an award-winning poet and writer, and her first novel, Ocotillo Dreams, debuts out next year. Visit her web site to read her blog, and even hear her read her work out loud!
I asked Melinda if she would contribute one of her poems for Inspiration Friday and I’m so flattered she agreed! OK, here goes:
Written by Melinda Palacio
I’ve always received my inspiration from the women who raised me, my grandmother and mother. My mother Blanca was a young mother who treated me like a sister. One of my favorite things to do as a child was accompany my mother to her college classes at Cal State Los Angeles. She was an Art History major and she took me to every art museum in Los Angeles.
When my mother passed away fifteen years ago, I experienced profound grief and didn’t think I would ever recover. The old saying Time Heals All Wounds turns out to be true. Although I spent several months, and years in mourning, at one point, I decided to live my life to the fullest and to honor my mother by remembering her tremendous optimism, resourcefulness, and love for life’s adventures.
I wrote the poem “Laughter” when I was coming to terms with leaving behind my pain and celebrating all the joy I was bathed in since my birth. My mother instilled so much positive qualities in me and my grandmother reinforced her love by telling me stories, both happy and sad ones. In this poem, there is a muddying of sadness and joy and of my mother, grandmother and myself, a mixture of all the voices who have carried me along during darker times.
“Laughter” was published last year in Black Renaissance Noire.
by Melinda Palacio
The story of my mother touches the wind and rattles me off balance, raises the small hairs on my forearms, my skin no longer feels my own. I long to be cradled by a cloud, suspended and sheltered. I listen to the words of the Grandmother Spirit. My elder says look beneath your skin and you’ll the see the loneliness in your veins. I hear drumming, a familiar wail of pain. The drums stop. The story of my mother is as ordinary as once upon a time there was a happy woman who lived a short life before dying, leaving behind a daughter. The pages between the beginning and the end are filled with laughter. A girl with wild hair the color of the Río Grande sinks her feet into the muddy river and says, you laugh like my grandmother. I laugh harder because the wild woman is my mother.
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Peace, love, and glitter!