After Viewing Art with Four Strangers
After I left you, I walked towards the avenue. It was the wrong avenue, and I walked back and I passed you. You didn’t notice. I walked north on Eleventh and turned on Twenty-Fifth street to find the garage where I’d left my Honda Civic. The attendant was Hispanic. I was glad for the comfort. Ticket, payment, and car in my native Spanish after walking in uneven rain to galleries that the poet had picked out for us in Chelsea, after meeting you, four strangers. Though there was history in your faces. At the first gallery I felt the loaded brushstrokes on boxes thick on my skin. Drawings of waves and tablets and sky pleaded: Truth. Moby Dick spread a green blanket at our feet. I stared at a “Black, Spanish-American family,” a mother and well-cared for children. Blue dress, a fragment of lace, the braids on the girls, lipstick on the woman. Portrait of motherhood and dignity. To blue. To ruffle. To braid. To red. To black. To love. We were at a world-size party. So many voices. So it came as a relief six hours later to arrive at my car, punch in the ignition, already out of the habit of turning a phantom key. I made it home on autopilot, and when I arrived I found the door unlocked. I shook my weary umbrella. I went to the kitchen where I found an oatmeal scone bought days ago. I cut it in half. I cut a slice of sheep’s milk cheese with rosemary ground into the rind. I ate standing at the sink.
Marlena Maduro Baraf
Marlena Maduro Baraf has a knack for raising orchids. She immigrated to the United States from her native Panama and her writing is coloured by this dual identity. She has been interviewing Latinos from all walks of life for a series titled, Soy/Somos, I am/We are. Her work has been published in Sweet, Lilith, Lumina, Read 650, and Latino Voices at HuffPost. Her memoir, At the Narrow Waist of the World, is forthcoming in the fall of 2019
Eileen E Palma
1/13/2019 07:42:07 am
I was moved by Marlena Maduro Baraf's poetic and lyrical take on her experience with this painting. Her story telling style is haunting and rich with unexpected details. Looking forward to experience this beautiful writing style when her memoir comes out this year!
1/13/2019 10:31:47 am
Beautiful and haunting--wish there was a "love" button
1/13/2019 07:00:11 pm
1/14/2019 11:54:50 am
Evocative and beautiful.
1/14/2019 12:33:11 pm
I love this painting, your writing, and looking at art with strangers
1/14/2019 12:52:47 pm
So expressive. I read it again and again
1/14/2019 10:32:17 pm
So many rich details in this beautiful and moving piece.
1/15/2019 04:20:25 pm
Its a testament to the power of art to break the sense of cultural isolation.
7/27/2020 09:56:04 am
Beautiful story, perfect images, lovely!
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