Anika Paris is a double platinum award winning singer/songwriter with songs in major motion pictures and television. She is the only female composer for Warner Brothers Telepictures and has composed for Off Broadway's Novel, Morpho-Genesis, The Judas Tree, The Island of No Tomorrows and Temple of the Souls, which received four HOLA Awards in 2012, including Outstanding Music. She teaches songwriting and performance at Musicians Institute in Hollywood CA, and is a newly minted author with her book Making Your Mark in Music published by Hal Leonard. As a poet, she has appeared the Kansas City Star, Helicon Nine Editions, Gival Press, Whirly Bird Press, Half-Shell Press, Anthology of Kansas City Poets and most recently with Scapegoat Press in a three generation anthology Woven Voices, nominated for the 2013 International Latin Book Awards alongside her mother and grandmother.

 

Border Line

Puerto Nuevo or New Port in English
 is 40 miles from the border of Mexico
 it's Saturday and there's a slight
 overcast on our venture
  
 ¿Quieren comida? they say, courting us
 with brown sugar smiles and honey-glazed eyes
 Men like paparazzi perched outside their restaurants
 begging to cook us a meal
 pleading to serve us anything
as we glitter their muddy streets
  
 The salty air hangs heavy
 on my conscience,
 on the roof of this restaurant,
 on the rim of my margarita,
 bittersweetly blended in chartreuse
  
 We sit over-looking the village
 and sing out to the mariachi band below:
 “La cucaracha, La cucaracha, ya no puede caminar
 till all twelve trot up the stairs
 playing guitars, horns, drums and violins,
 bursting at the seams of indigo blue
 wearing shiny sombreros and sequined desperation
  
 I trace the sound with the tips of my fingers
 and lose myself for a moment
  
 Yet, on the brim of our echo
 I can't help noticing across the street                                           
 a woman on the roof of a tenement that's
 burnt to a seaweed crisp                                  

 its coffee-stained sheets unable to hide
the naked rooms inside                                                       

 This building sagging slightly to the left
 barely held together with wire hangers
 pouts over the junked cars
 climbing its doorway like spiders
  
 And amidst all this American novelty 
 and façade of celebration
 the woman washes her family's clothes
 scrubs each shirt, each pair of pants
 each mud-stained sock
 unable to rinse out their future
  
 “Se sirve el almuerzo,  
 langosta deliciosa para todas
 las señoritas hermosas,” the owner says
 unfolding a blanket of food
 his wife and children catering to us like royalty
 filling our cups till they overflow
 basting our plates with homemade salsa,
 succulent lobster in melted butter
 rice, beans, and warm corn tortillas
 individually wrapped
  
 The mariachi band is still playing
 my friends are laughing and clapping in rhythm
 dancing on the rooftop
 even the sun decides to finally visit
  
 But I can't eat

First published in Poetic Voices Without Borders 2, (Gival Press, 2009)

 

Synthesis

for Gloria and Bill

Climb the spiral staircase
to the playground I built for you in heaven
where I laid down a magic carpet of artificial grass
planted Cacti in boxes
and collected just enough lawn chairs
so we can see beyond the power poles
twisted wires and polluted air

I built it while you were away
Now we'll talk at sunset
without being blinded by the western glare
turn our backs on the ominous ocean
a few minutes a day
watching the birds fly overhead
here in our make believe world
two stories closer to God

Perhaps we’ll even fall in love
all over again

First published in All in the Family Dec 2010, Spillway Publication

 

Daisy Rae Black

from Jardine’s Jazz Club, Kansas City

I couldn’t help noticing her at the corner table
taking in song, sipping on tea,
sitting in her white dress with matching gloves,
Pillbox hat and cherry smeared lips

 “I’m Daisy Rae Black,” she shouts,
I come all the way from St. Joe, Missouri, to hear jazz”
Every Thursday she drives an hour and a half
and stays till the very last note
“I’m 90 years old, and I play a mean organ”

She sits like a question mark
and talks to the band
their rosy cheeked friend singing along,
tapping her tiny bent fingers 
swaying to the melodies peeling back the years
untwisting her fate
so she can breathe again
 
I imagine her putting on her Sunday best,
filling in the lines where her youth once stood
with baby blue shadow and pink sun blush,
teasing her white sea of bobby pinned curls,
shining  up the past of her patent leather shoes
escorting her diamonds and pearls
and  improvising her way back,
to Jardine’s

Woven Voices, Scapegoat Press 2012 

 

Anika Paris at Moonday Poetry West

 

 

2013 Anika Paris


 

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