Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

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Eating the Elephant

The Waiting

For a long time now, I’ve likened writing to therapy. It’s a cheap way to get my thoughts in a row, to temper the negativity of my life with the positivity. Through writing, I’ve learned new things about myself that I otherwise might not have ever uncovered. I’ve analyzed problems and worked through complicated, conflicted emotions. Writing has helped me take ownership of my many imperfections and to cultivate self esteem not only in spite of those imperfections but because of them.

Indeed, this very blog has at times been my virtual chaise lounge where I’ve spilled my guts, trying to figure just who I am. I’ve served as my own therapist, relying entirely on myself to unravel the knotted twine of my life, my feelings, and the problems I face.

But I’ve learned something over the past six or seven months that I’ve just recently become comfortable enough to admit and…

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Morenci Poetry

I’ve been writing poems about Morenci. I wake up every morning for the past week with a new poem in my head. What’s strange is that I retain most of the words until I can type it out. Sometimes later that same day, others in a day or two.

I’m trying out a new program called Blogo to see if I like it and want to buy it.

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Maybe what makes snow so special for me is that we don’t get it very often in the desert. New Year’s Day we walked out to a winter wonderland, totally unexpected but a welcome change. Our dogs, Tito and Lalo, ran around and reveled in it much like kids would do. Seeing the white stuff on the cactus lifted my spirits and I enjoyed sprinting after the dogs. Lalo is a black malte-poo so when we came in the house, his face was white from sticking his nose into the snow. Tito, is white, so it didn’t show up on him.

By noon, the sun had melted all of it. The only evidence left was the dripping off from the roof. Our house has a flat roof so it must have collected a couple of inches of snow. All our garden plants were well watered. As much as I like the snow, I don’t like the cold that comes with it. Several years ago, we went to Minneapolis for a family reunion at Thanksgiving. It snowed and desert dweller that I am, I froze. A couple of years ago, we went to Boston so I could attend a writing conference. It snowed. Even with a heavy coat, boots, gloves, scarf, and hat, I froze. I’m not used to the cold.

Living at the base of Mount Lemon, we can go up the mountain whenever it snows. We rarely do so. Instead, I’d rather appreciate it when it snows on the desert.

Snow on cactus

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Albóndiga Soup

The fragrant aroma of roasting meatballs permeates the kitchen! I spent the morning making 5 pounds of albóndigas for soup. I used to make albóndiga soup for as many as 50 people to serve during our Christmas tamalada while tamales cooked.

No more. The days of big parties are over. These albóndigas will go in the freezer and be ready for making soup and serving at small intimate dinners. If my guests are willing to listen, I’ll read them a selection from my short story “Albóndiga Soup” about the never-ending, life-sustaining soup that nourished Morenci people during a hard strike.

I like to roast the albóndigas. It gives them a richer, more nuanced flavor. This is how my grandmother did it. I also use cooked rice in them. I know some people put uncooked rice in the meatballs but I’ve tasted other people’s albóndigas and chewed on hard rice. I freeze the meatballs on the cookie sheets after they cool off, then when they’re completely frozen, I put them into a freezer bag. That way there’s no frost, and no fat. I make the soup stock from scratch using beef broth, onions, garlic, and cumin. After I add the water and bring everything to a boil, I add the albóndigas. When I’m ready to serve, I add fresh mint. The albóndigas already contained mint in them, but including fresh mint in the soup adds more flavor. I serve albóndiga soup piping hot with sides of limes, pico de gallo, and bollios. Yum! Who’s coming for dinner first?

As I made the albóndigas and smelled them roasting in the oven, I thought of my mother, Natividad Díaz Herrera who died on this date, 14 years ago. In my grief, I made albóndiga soup with my granddaughters, Gabby & Manda helping me to roll them out.

The night of the wake, with all the family gathered, I saw how this soup soothed all our souls that night. The menudo my brother prepared was barely touched. As people savored my soup and commented on it, more came to be served. It all went and I didn’t get to taste even a spoonful of it. But no matter. Seeing mi familia, mi Mama’s familia, feasting on this life-sustaining soup is a memory that will stay with me always, especially when I make and serve it.

At tamaladas, I’ve had non-soup eaters tell me, “Don’t give me too much, I’m saving myself for the tamales.” Inevitably they were the ones that came back for seconds and thirds! I don’t know what makes this simple soup so special but I wish I had the never-ending one I wrote about in “Albóndiga Soup.”

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National Poetry Month

I’ve participated in National Poetry Month for the past four years. Not formally on any other website except my own. I’ve always set my own goals but haven’t ever gone for a poem a day for the whole month. This is the goal I’ve set for myself this year. So far, so good, I’ve been able to keep my goal. Eleven days into April and I’ve written eleven new poems! I haven’t had to go into my files yet to start working on revising other poems I wrote last year after poetry month was over.


My calendar when I started in April, was pretty much clear, but now it’s filling up and only a few days are free from doctor appointments, lunches and dinners (to celebrate my birthday), concerts, poetry readings, etc. I like to celebrate my birthday for the whole month, sometimes even in to May when Kurt has his birthday! Getting busier means it’s getting harder to fulfill my goal of writing a poem a day. My back up plan is to bring out those older poems that need revision and work on them.


The new poems will need revising also, but I usually wait a week or two or maybe even three before I look at them again with a new eye. In the meantime, I feel a sense of accomplishment to have written these new ones. It seems like once I start writing, I get in the groove, and poems bubble up out of my subconscious. Most mornings I wake up with a phrase that gets me going or sometimes, better yet, a whole poem is waiting for me to write it down.


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New Website

Blog entries are now on my new website: http://elenadiazbjorkquist.com/.

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