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The Cento Zoom Edition for April 7, 2020

First Tuesdays went virtual for National Poetry Month! We held our reading over Zoom and it was, by all accounts, a success. Sokunthary Svay, our featured reader, shared an essay about Cambodian food and culture that was also a lovely meditation on identity. She also read a couple of poems for us from her book Apsara in New York.

One of the virtues of going virtual was that we got a chance to see and hear from people who might normally not have been able to attend First Tuesdays. Lynn Oestreicher, who was a regular way back when we were still meeting at Terraza read during the open mic, as did Celest Woo (a future feature), whose (and-not-just-because-I-blurbed-it) lovely book, Frost Fair Dance, you should check out.

We also managed to compose our usual cento, which this month comes from the work of: Peter Marra, Marty Levine, Dan Fleshler, Celest Woo, Barry Fruchter, Lynn Oestreicher, Bob Ward, Chris Robin, Patricia Carragon, David Siller, Norman Stock, Henry Sussman, Micah Zevin, Susan Weiman, Liz Lara.

The Zoomed Cento

I
As we approach the shadows of banshees from the marble buildings,
he might get into tricks
or, God forbid, politics.

II
The masked woman who fearfully,
carefully delivers my mail,
letting music buoy each movement,
still marveling at wintry wonders
immortal as roaches,
and many times more determined.

III
Hot tears drip south.
He looks through the peephole, and doesn’t see the grim reaper.
He says, That’s not enough!
This daddy needs new shoes

IV
The kitchen or the toilet,
not sanctuaries for escape.

It is difficult, this menu of many choices.
That’s how it is. That’s how it is.

V
This slow simmering ragu, people and Gaia,
they cling to fear like packing tape.

VI
Tattered blue cover with stained ink:
the smell of earth startles me.

Many thanks to David Siller for acting as our Cento Scribe.”

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