DeltaWomen FEBRUARY 2013 ISSUE
Editor’s Note “I will try to make more choices, I will not let others choose my way.” That happens to be my new year’s resolution. As a woman living in a country where choices are already made for girls, Religion, Life-style, Education and Outfit, I am proud to say that I have changed many of my defined boundaries and I have begun a brand new life every year. We have a new column in the magazine called “Role Models” where our readers get to introduce their favorite woman. She can be a famous writer or a mother. As long as she seems fantastic to our readers, we love to hear about it. I want to ask for a big round of applause for Ms. Kirthi Jayakumar, our best friend here at DeltaWomen, who has made everything much easier. Our “Role Model” this month is no one but her. Elaheh Zohrevandi - Editor
Photograph by Eﬀat Allahyari
By Laíze “Läyeh” Cândida
A New Me… With Limits "Life is about laughing and living, in good and bad times. Getting through whatever comes our way and looking back and smiling." - Unknown. Dear Sisters, Before we start, let me say last year was very special for me. I'll miss my perfect Fridays. I'll miss my moments of laughter and music on Wednesdays. My routine wasn't so boring like the previous years. 2012 wasn’t the end of our Mother Earth. Thousands of intellectuals said 2013 would be the beginning of a new era. Were they right? Who will rule this era: the same actors or fresh new ones? Will this era be an age of prosperity, peace and happiness? Photograph by Eﬀat Allahyari
the more you do, the more you gain. It is really hard to predict our future, but the lesson you should learn, dear sisters, is the capacity of planning your tomorrow, thanking your yesterday and living your today. I've never seen better solution for sadness than it.
I surely answer you: No. By the way, I don't like Januaries. Decembers seem like happy endings, the "happily ever after" moment of our lives. January is a month of dreams and hopes, a month to finally start New Year's Resolutions! In my country, we normally say "the year begins in March". That's the truth! Maybe the first challenges really appear in March. And will you continue what you started? Do you believe in everything you've promised? Last month I wrote in my Twitter page about it. "Fly Higher" spirit means you're able to do it… with limits. Even if I make up my mind and rethink my concepts, I know that disasters happen, the Charming Prince isn't so charming, life is cruel with us and things won't change with a blink of an eye. If I could think like this two (now three!) years ago, maybe I would be stronger. In 2010, I lost a job, a boyfriend, a chance to graduate… I lost lots of things! I understood that it could happen with anyone. I should be thankful for having the chance of growing up earlier than the usual. I still want diploma, job and relationship, but it won't rule my life. I'm learning to live one day after another. Powerful women can't affirm their power if they're desperate. It comes naturally, patiently. The less you expect,
Last month you read my story. Do you want to know the result of my presentation? All the audience cried! I made homage to a person who loved me during all those years she lived, my great-grandmother. I promised her to sing on a stage when I was 5. She died after praying for me! Was she alive, she would be 99 in April 2013. One of her last advices she told me was: "Study, my dear, not to depend on a husband". Sincerely, I got the message in my heart and now I transmit it by this article. I wish for this year which began right now that you love your equal. Don't be influenced by marketing vision of love. It's sincere, pure and powerful. So, love your enemies. Love your life. It the door between you and the others is too heavy to open, open it slowly! If they don't want to hear your voice, speak louder! But understand you have limits. One day, who knows, I want to hear your voices, personally. I don't believe in revolution made by our hands. This world is so cold, sad… I am the first to recognize we should look ourselves in the eyes to share experiences. It isn't too late to practice it. It's a new age of relationships. That's all I want to say to you. Hope you hold my hand and raise the same flags I raise. Show me yours, too. I'm completely open to your opinions this year. 2013 is the time to see my sisters flying. Everybody in the air! See you next month.
By Christina Kim
Breath In Breath in for calamity And out for humanity Breath in for the melody Breath out Love will come in go for you Someday you will find whats true You can't give up because your lazy It’s up to you I see so clearly and I want to be What Laugh I'd be when I was young I gave myself a chance To put a little hope inside this heart of mine Because when I thought I could barely see Before I broke and hit the bottom I asked you to save me What is happening to me It’s happening so clearly I can be what I'll be I'll be so free so free
Photograph by Eﬀat Allahyari
By Nancy Williard
White Horse In the cool under the porch, Ann made dust trails with her plastic cowboys. They rounded up the wild horses bedded next to the campfire. Patterns of light, long and short, fell through the planks of the porch, zebra striping the satiny powder where Ann lay. The shade changed everything into one color, dark or light. She heard from above her the voices of her mother and grandmother drift down through the porch boards. “Oh, Mama, I never seem to get it right these days. You know what he said to me? He said...” Grandmother’s grunt stopped Ann’s mama’s shrill protest. The floorboards creaked as their feet shuffled and they settled.
Photograph by Eﬀat Allahyari
The shadows under the porch moved as Mama and Grandmother rested themselves on the edge of the porch planks and shelled peas hit the tin colander with a high regular note. Grandmother’s bulk blocked a field of sparkling sunbeams. Ann’s mother’s shadow removed a ray of light filled with floating motes. Ann scooted back in the dust and listened. Grandmother’s worn voice came with a cough of breath. “That’s the way it is, honey. That’s enough worry for anyone. Don't borrow trouble.” Ann squirmed deeper into the clay powder. She willed her mother to be quiet. “But you know, I could, why Louise said the other day that she made enough to buy a new dress and ...” She paused but continued. “If I worked for the store, I might have a bit of something of my own. I could buy things! What’s the harm?” “Now you know that no real man would ever stand for that.” Ann heard the sharp change in breath with the rise in tone in her grandmother’s reply. Grandmother gave a loud sigh and spoke with a rhythmic church voice. “Remember Ephesians,’ Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.’ Be content with what he provides." “But, Mama – “ “Enough! He’ll be home soon.” Grandmother hissed as if Ann’s daddy could hear them. Hairs rose on Ann's arm. Peas pinged faster into the bowl.
“Yes, Mama.” Ann’s mother spoke a soft answer into the waiting air between the two women. Ann held her breath. Her grandmother sighed. “Now, why don’t you work on the quilting? Let me show you the pattern they’re using at church. I’ve got it in my bag in the house, come on now.” The boards creaked and shed dust as Grandmother and Mama went into the house. As the voices trailed off, Ann woke up the cowboys. “Now you are going to capture the fastest wild horse there is; a beautiful wild one that runs like the wind. The white one is all alone, see, and you will have to trick her. Watch out, white one! Don’t give up! Even if they capture you, kick them. Bite them!” Ann made more patterns in the dirt. The plastic cowboys rode furiously after the wild white horse. They couldn’t catch her. Ann was still running with the white horse when her father came home. The porch boards bent and the door slammed. Ann flatted into the dirt when Daddy’s voice started. There was a strong song feeling to the way her father cussed his way into the house. It sounded like a march. “Goddamn those fucking sons of bitches! If they think they’re going to have me working under that bastard Humphrey then, goddamn them, I ain’t going to! Godddamn, woman, there’s not a clean glass in this house… Where’s that little baby of mine? Ann! Ann! Get in this house, girl!” Ann heard from the kitchen window her mother’s gentle weeping drifting through the running water in the sink. She backed further into the 7
coolness, carrying the one white horse. No one could catch her. She would run like the wind to hide in deep purple canyons. Her shadow would dance light on the colorless sand. Ann hummed for her mare a swift-running brave-running song. Ann heard her father’s heavy footsteps creak the porch boards as he came out of the house. His voice changed into a softer, wheedling tone as he called. “Ann, girl, your daddy’s home. You under that damn porch again? Honey, come on out and get cleaned up. Don’t you want to say hi to your daddy? He’s brought you something. Come on, dumpling. Daddy loves you. Come on out of there.” Ann listened as his voice came closer to the porch. She could see his black steel toed shoes turn and point towards her. She clenched her horse and considered how far she had crept back into the underporch. “Ann, honey, daddy wants to give you a present.” Last time, he brought the plastic cowboys. Maybe it was a big horse to ride across the desert. One that would never be caught – maybe he had it. The Anderson’s had a horse. Maybe he had found one too. Ann lifted into her elbows and hunched closer to the light.
His grin widened. “Not till you come out.” Ann looked at the dirty white plastic horse in her hand and with gentle care buried it in the cool dirt. She crept towards the daylight. Halfway out, her father grabbed her and flung her up to the bright sunlight, stunning her eyes with the colors of the world. Ann looked down at his bold grin from the height of the sky. “Where is it?” She asked in her small daylight voice. In a rush she was back on the ground looking up into his disappearing smile. “You women always want something more. Aren’t you satisfied just to have your daddy home?” His faced closed. “Aw, go help your mother.” Plunked onto the ground, Ann watched her father turn and march and heard him goddamn into the house again. Ann dusted her dress and ran past him into the kitchen, her face set. She stood beside her mother at the sink and took a dish to dry and the running water covered the humming of her own song of the white beam of moonlight following her as she raced across the barren desert astride the white horse.
“What is it?” Ann spoke to the black boots. Her father’s head came upside down under the porch. His face was shadowed. His smile upside down was unreadable. “It’s what you’ve always wanted.” His voice slid under the dark porch. Ann inched up closer. “Show me.” 8
Nancyâ€™s home is over 7600 feet above sea level in the mountains of California. She rides a Harley and does Tai Chi. Nancyâ€™s work has appeared in Southern Women's Review, Black Earth Institute, Helmet Hair Magazine and Long Story Short.
By Moham Monifi
The Snow White Raped by the Seven Dwarves "For All Women Raped in India" The snow begins to leave it abode: To assuage the turmoil of the earth. So soft, so fluffy, where it is created. To disturb the sleepy seeds in the warm hearth. My mother says" Come. Touch me, I want to sense. Water of paradise, run through my veins to wake. No one walking had your justice, your kindness, So calmly you fall, so quietly away you walk." The voice of the Indian girl still alive among the sand. Whereas her body kept, you water the dead. I long for thee: your birth in India's land. You are the first snow, the girl's sounds you heard. The clouds gone, the streams run, shines the sun. Spring resurrected after drinking the snow of paradise. The mud dried, the land cracked, the birds singing as if they won. 'Tis the beginning . Come, Girls, rejoice everything nice.
Artwork by Kirthi Jayakumar
Polka Dot Dress Days I sometimes think that the family time I insist on is in fact overrated. I know it’s probably just the Sunday lunch talking but the truth is right now I’d love to be able to disappear upstairs and submerge myself in a bubble bath, to feel the suds wink across my skin and the heat of water spread over me like melted butter on hot toast.
‘Nee-ow,’ says Benny racing around the room, arms outstretched, an aeroplane looking for a place to land. Crash land. Against me, it seems. ‘Mummeeeee, I neeeeed you,’ calls Sam from somewhere.
‘I’ll be there in a minute, I just need to clean up this mess,’ I say wiping the hair out of my eyes with the back of my soapy hand. ‘Not in a minute, I need you now. Mummeeeeeeee.’
There’s something about the way he says, ‘Mummy’, how he stretches the word, the Screech in his voice, is there anything more irritating? I think of writing to the government to suggest using nine year old boys to interrogate terrorist suspects. He shouts again and I scowl at Jeff who lounges in his chair, carefully oblivious. My mother had an expression that I’ve never really understood until now. ‘My polka dot dress days have passed,’ she used to say as I hopscotched around her while she tidied up, washed up or whatever else it was she was up to. Yet the funny thing is she always looked sorry for me as she said it. Looking back, I think that maybe she’d accepted it for herself but knew what was in store for me.
Thumping music, though I’m not sure how they can call it that, comes from Amanda’s room upstairs. She’s getting ready to go on a date. She’s been trying to look bored all day, but I’m not fooled. I recognized the way she glanced at the kitchen clock all the way through lunch, how she couldn’t keep her knee from jiggling under the table but most of all how she could hardly eat a thing.
I remember that feeling, of wanting to eat but not being able to swallow because my belly was so full of excitement. Of wishing the time away so he would be here sooner. Of my legs dancing long before we would be. The cat tangles around my ankles and as I sink my hands below the surface of the grimy water, I think back to another type of tangle, long ago, when I was someone else, somewhere else, when I still had polka dot dress days.
Just 17 was open on my lap and my gaze flicked down to it and then back up to the mirror as I tried to copy the model’s eye make up. Somehow what looked exotic on her was a smudgy mess of blue on me; maybe I should have tried the pink on the other page. Instead I sprayed Charlie behind my ears and then once again to make sure it was strong enough, I wanted him to be able to smell me from across the room.
‘I believe in you…’ The Giants sang through my brother’s walls as if serenading me. I was a believer, in those days I believed in love at first sight, soul mates and happy endings. I didn’t think beyond ‘happily ever after’, I didn’t question what came next; I don’t think any of us did. That’s the thing about polka dot dress days; they’re all about the now, not the next. 12
I heard my father open the door for my date and rushed downstairs, fluffing up my crimped hair, before he had a chance to bombard him with too many embarrassing questions. ‘Bye Dad,’ I said hurrying out of the house leaving the inevitable ‘is that supposed to be a skirt?’ hanging in the air between us. Jeff held the car door open for me. A bruised Honda. Racing green. I felt racy that day, pounding hearted and out of breath, sure but unsure of myself.
Sam hits Benny and makes him cry. The dog throws her head back to the ceiling and howls, she doesn’t like to be left out. The cat walks along the windowsill knocking over the bottle tree that I helped Benny plant this morning and it splinters to the floor. I close my eyes and exhale slowly. ‘Deep breaths’ my mother used to say. I’m not quite sure why, they don’t seem to solve anything. The children are still fighting, the dog’s still yowling.
The party was in town and I’d worried that we’d be stuck for conversation on the drive but in fact, we didn’t stop talking. Our voices wove in and out of each other without dropping a stitch. I was getting to know someone I felt I had always known.
Amanda comes down the stairs; I can smell her perfume from here. I start to say something about it being too strong and then stop myself. She wants him to smell her from across the room. These days they wear their hair straight and their eye shadow is rarely bright blue, but they’re still mini skirted. I open my mouth to say, ‘it’s a bit short isn’t it?’ since her father is snoring and unable to do so himself, but again I stop myself. ‘You look lovely, darling,’ I say instead. She isn’t listening though, a car has beeped outside and she runs to the door before I can get there first. I want to tell someone that things change yet nothing changes, but there’s no-one here to listen. Instead I tell the cat that my polka dot dress days have passed.
My memory of the party is murky though I do recall the metallic taste of the cheap red wine that we drank out of paper cups, the couples snugging on the sofas, the girls smoking in the kitchen and the music beating so loudly it reverberated in me. Love Shack is a little place… ‘Let’s dance,’ he said pulling me close. I remember that, his hands working down my back, my skin fluttering under his touch. Where we can get together... He kissed me. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ he said and we did.
Jeff grunts in his chair, he’s fallen asleep with his stomach’s hanging out. ‘Where are my tongs? I’m going to be late!’ shouts Amanda either to herself or to us, I’m not quite sure. 13
Victoria Slotover Victoria Slotover writes fiction for Mumsense Magazine. Her short stories have been published on The Writerâ€™s Hub, Short Fiction Collective and in the Ham & High as well as being accepted for publication by Smashed Cat Magazine, Bartleby Snopes and Families Magazine.
By Christina Kim
Beautiful Surprise A beautiful surprise Hit me when I wasn't even looking You filled my heart When it felt empty You taught me more When I was there I thank you every day For those things those memories It was a beautiful surprise When I thought the world A smaller view You showed me When I open my eyes I saw this surprise And you took me there
By Leila A. Fortier
Pauses Her Truths are Meticulously inserted Within pauses~ Invisible bookmarks Of emphasis~ The contrast of a white page That swallows print~ Revealing her heart within Untraced spaces~ Segued from the throngs of the All-too-consumed~ Those that peer into words Only to miss the silences~ She refutes the Dissection of her intimacy and ~Quiet femininity~ In Subtle Articulation And unquestioning tone~
Sometimes I long to proclaim her Soulâ€™s imprints~ Reveal her confessions within The spatial interludes~ Wash over her transparencies In the bold of crimson reds- The colors they need to see To understand her~ Yet, I restrain my lips in honor of her Unspoken~ Tie my tongue into a thousand soundless Words~ Convict my mouth to the valor of her Testimony~ My eyes envelop her spaces ~Like an emerald womb~ The Conjugation Of confirmation softly Unfolds~ Giving birth in-between Lines into a delicate understanding~ For I know her as only water knows the air and Air that knows the water~ In the name of Abstraction and all that is without ~ Boundary and formless~ ~You are that. I am. We are~
Leila A. Fortier Leila A. Fortier is a poet, artist, and photographer currently residing on the remote island of Okinawa Japan. Her unique visual poetry is the specially crafted formation of abstract designs, often accompanied by her own multi-medium forms of art, photography, and spoken performance. Much of her work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, German, Hindi and Japanese in a rapidly growing project to raise global unity and understanding through the cultural diversity of poetry and literature. Her work in all its mediums has been published in a vast array of literary magazines, journals, and reviews both in print and online. In 2007’ she initiated the anthology A World of Love: Voices for Carmen as a benefit against domestic violence and in 2010’ composed a photo book entitled Pappankalan, India: Through the Eyes of Children to benefit the education of impoverished Indian children. She is also the author of Metanoia's Revelation through iUniverse. A complete listing of her published works can be found at: www.leilafortier.com
By Christopher T Garry
Photograph by EďŹ€at Allahyari
One can't deny that on the whole I have made a choice that certainly has led to a good life--far better than the one that I left behind. However, just in the past month I have re-established contact with him. Six months ago, not knowing where he was, I called my grandmother and relayed my whereabouts. There were months of silence and then a phone message came from a hospital here stating that he was a patient. I learned that he was actually a psychiatric patient--he had suffered a breakdown. What led to his breakdown, I am not sure of yet. He is recovering quickly, but it turns out he is still lives a lifestyle comparable to the life back home--only welfare, food stamps and bad luck with holding jobs. I discovered that one of the keys that led to his state was guilt. He had become self-destructive in the amount of self-reproach.
I have no neat solution, no good judgment, and no words of wisdom or experience to guide me. I know logically that I can't really blame myself for what I did, but in my private moments I do. I shouldn't blame myself for his breakdown either. It happened almost five years after I left. I know that at the root of all my self-doubt may even be some of the original thinking that I learned as a child that says, "I'm not really worth much." It's hard for me to take care of myself and what's important to me because I second-guess and think too much. Then I remember the secrets. Will I ever let myself be free and let it contrast, if it has to, with my brother's fate?
When we were younger, he was tyrannical in his power over me. There's no doubt that what I did, I did out of a sense of selfpreservation. Nevertheless, I am left with a sense that I may have been wrong in what I did. Emotionally I tend to link my leaving him with his subsequent breakdown. I struggle now with the terrific urge to overstep myself and try to make up for what he might have lost in his life and that I have gained. It's a horrible dilemma. In my present endeavors with an unstable marriage, my husband straining under his job, and my pressing need to build a career through school, I have precious little emotional energy and time to spare to rebuild my ties to the past, even to the apparently penitent ones. 19
By Daniela Silva
Beginning: Receiving this Gift and Learning to Live A new year begins again. With it, come new plans and dreams as expectations are redrawn in our lives. The feeling of being a blank page gradually gives way to a wish list, which mostly ends up becoming the impetus needed to turn a dream into a reality.
Photograph by EďŹ€at Allahyari
Thinking about it, here are some suggestions for a start full of life: - Look for an activity that gives you pleasure: invest all your gifts and talents in practices that you identify yourself with. Be proud of your achievements;
- Learn from your mistakes: Convert errors that occur in your life into positive inspiration for points to improve. Seek to overcome their challenges. The error exists so that we may learn from them!
- Donate things and help people: By the end of the year or semester, do a triage in your wardrobe and donate the clothes that you will no longer use. Donate clothing, love, affection and attention help warm the heart and soul.
The beginning forms a very important part of our life. It exists to give us the opportunity to do what was not done, say that was not said, forgive those who do not forgive, bring hope to people who have no hope of life. Above all, the beginning exists to give us a chance to love again.
- Develop teamwork: Work as a team. It improves our interpersonal relationships, teaches us to deal with different people and thus teaches us to respect and deal with the differences that we all have. Work towards becoming less selfish and centralized, and develop the ability of listening.
- Make a habit of self-knowledge: It is only by actually knowing who we really are, our limits, talents, values and beliefs of life that we learn how to align our dreams with the people we really are;
- Plan your activities: By establishing goals and objectives: make a plan of action with your everyday tasks. This will help you to plan better; 21
Laíze “Läyeh” Cândida
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar
Photographer Effat Allahyari Parama Bal
Victoria Slotover Leila A. Fortier Christopher T Garry Daniela Silva
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Published on Feb 12, 2013
“I will try to make more choices, I will not let others choose my way.” That happens to be my new year’s resolution. As a woman living in a...