Monday, August 1, 2016



traje de boda by Aileen Ibardaloza
(Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena, 2010)

A lot of poetry seem to feign intimacy. But that is not the case here. The poem “Viand,” for example, is a poem of tenderness; it reminds me of my own childhood and that reminder is what good writing can achieve. Good writing is supposed to evoke a response in you and “Viand” does just that. Ms. Ibardaloza writes,

her husband
murmurs, “Viand,” she

more emphatically,
“That was what

called the
dishes we ate

rice when
I was in

grade.” “Viand,”
her husband laughs,

having encountered
the word before,

There is such sentimentality in these few lines, such intimacy.  Viand means literally an item of food—a choice tasty dish, according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary. Ms. Ibardaloza’s poetry brought a memory from her childhood. This famously was the same way for Marcel Proust. But it can also happen for everyone else.

In the poem, “The Hay(na)ku of the Broken Fourth Wall”, Ms. Ibardaloza writes, “Two births/ in the midst/ of/ a raging/ war, a ravaged/ city/ and white/ walls that were/ grimed/ then ground.” You can feel the desolation, the cruelty she mentions just shortly after, “Broken/ down/ pride and/ bladder before the/ bayonet.” This is taken out of context but it drives the message home. There is no civility in war and a poet will always tell the truth.

traje de boda is a beautiful and, at times, sad book. But it is very well written. And it’s well written through both sorrow and glorious times as in the poem “The Proposal”,

like bodies turning to water
like dust foregone. There is only water,
and what floats in it, love by love.


Chris Mansel  is a writer, filmmaker, epileptic, musician, photographer and a permanent outsider for some reason. He is the author of While in Exile: The Savage Tale of Walter Seems, Soddoma: The Cantos of Ulysses, Ashes of Thoreau, Interviews and two books of photography entitled, No Burden and Ahisma. Along with Jake Berry, he formed the band Impermanence who have released one album, Arito. He releases music under the name dilapidation Impromptu who have released four albums and have just released a new CD, The Strange White Odor of Octaves Becoming Animals. His writing has been published on the web in many sources. Recently he has been writing book reviews for Galatea Resurrects. 

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