Lisbeth Coiman
January 2022
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Lisbeth Coiman is a poet, educator, and cultural worker born in Venezuela. She received a BA in Modern Languages from Universidad Metropolitana, Caracas, and a Master of Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Coiman’s wanderlust spirit landed her to three countries---from her birthplace to Canada, and finally the USA, where she self-published her first book, I Asked the Blue Heron: A Memoir (2017).  Her poetry and personal essays are featured in the online publications and in several anthologies in print. She dedicated her bilingual poetry collection, Uprising / Alzamiento (Finishing Line Press, 2021) to the freedom of her homeland Venezuela. An avid hiker, and teacher of English as a Second Language, Coiman lives in Los Angeles, CA. For contact information, visit https://lisbethcoiman.com

PARCHITA / PASSION POETRY

 

To all those forever condemned to a life of tasteless fruits

Apples that can only adorn a pig’s mouth

or be thrown at a doctor’s head

Needy of spices for a semblance of flavor in a pie

Pears unworthy of my taste buds

unless bathed in hot syrup with the aromatic clove in it

Strawberries seasoned with the sweat of

undocumented labor in California’s fields

 

To those who have never enjoyed the heat of the tropics

I offer my hand

pregnant with the perfume of

a tropical vine growing wild in my homeland

Parchita     daffodil-yellow and oval           the size of a duck’s egg

withered in appearance when ripe  

 

Cut in two       it releases a

a cornucopia of flavors           citrusy and tart

Scoop a teaspoonful of its

slimy bright orange pulp       entangled with abundant black seeds

Pour aged rum            distilled burnt sugar

into the Sweet Cup     will make a sibar of you

Blended and drained   the Granadilla juice    will refresh a worker in a hot afternoon

Add it to cream to make the most exquisite of desserts           Mousse de Parchita

a longing that haunts my dreams       

bittersweet     like a lover saying goodbye after a night of vibrant sex

creamy yellow in the center   soft     like clouds in September

 

Take it between your hands                bring it to your lips

Be delighted with the way it tantalizes your taste buds

the explosion of colors sparking in your mouth

Caribbean Sea

canopy of the jungle in Canaima

snow of the Andes

pasture of Los Llanos

soil of Barlovento

south slope of El Avila in April

sun over my head at high noon

 

Drink from its shell

A supernova of aromas will wrap itself around your hands   your mouth

even your breast where it will drop its desirable viscosity

intoxicating     like the smell of cocoa beans freshly harvested

reassuring        like the scent of coffee at four am

earthy moist cloud rising from the hot soil of the gardens after a sudden shower in May

interrupting the afternoon impromptu baseball games in the neighborhood

iodized salty foam of the waves softly eroding the sandcastles of my childhood

essence of the homeland I can’t return to

 

García Marquez’ guava got nothing on the smell of my parchita

 

Take my hand so the curly sprouts of the exuberant passiflora lilikoi 

wondrous flower         can lace themself around your fingers

until you          too       can offer the fragrance of this magnificent creation

to all those forever condemned to a life of tasteless fruits

EL GUAIRE

 

“You’ll drink water from El Guaire” 

        Hugo Chavez Frías, 2006 

 

Before I was born 

A pristine future

streamed down from El Ávila tributaries

Into El Guaire

Families lounged on its shores

Boats sailing southeast 

pastoral landscape

Of a small un-barreled city

 

Pride for 

First constant source of energy

In the subcontinent

 

Unplanned growth and expansion

Of a 167 square-mile city lacking sanitation

Applause for canals draining sewage into the river

prone to flooding

the beginning of entropy

turn to gestures of disgust

 

oil boom of the 70s

caraqueños cover hills

asphyxiating crowd & stagnated traffic

El Guaire converted into a torrent 

of human and industrial waste

 

Late Jurassic rocks 

only reminders of the river’s splendor

 

Who needed clean water?

 

oil revenues a constant flow down the street

Infrastructure projects

Celebrated with cocktails

of corrupt allocations and nepotism

 

He who drank the blood of tigers

in the gardens of the presidential palace

To secure passage into eternity

Promised to clean the sewage

return it to its pristine past

                And the red seals clapped

 

Vulnerable protesters jumped into El Guaire

to escape tear gas

 

               The promise has been delivered

               People are bathing in El Guaire

 

On social media 

Only reliable news

from my dystopian homeland

El Guaire miners go underwater

to recover discarded metals

                to trade for food

 

Hundreds of citizens slide down the sewage

carrying plastic containers

 

To quench their thirst

With the waste of a country gone awry