House of Children
I lived first
in the house of my mother,
not in-between walls
of stucco or brick,
but in the one house
of children, there,
in the uterus
that held and cupped
the fetus, the twelve
conceived—I only know
nine—the first child died,
they say, a few months after birth,
the one blonde fair one.
Then somewhere between
the numbers and the flush
of grain, two slipped
out before their time,
and died lined in blood
and filament. And of the living,
another dropped. Taken
by cancer—one disciple falling
at a time, like peaches
off a tree—too ripe.
And now, there are eight.
One third of your children
are dead, Mother—one large cut.
It’s as if I can remember
floating at the core of you—
a slow motion madness—
a wanting to come out.
I’ve always been
impatient—but then again, how
it felt to be cupped
in your juices—tied
to all that fed
you, perhaps this is why
I love water, because I was never
able to return to your one house
of children. How we waited,
like yearlings, to open
our slow, fleshy lids—
inside you, but never seeing
the color of your walls.
A Psalm for a Mother
Mother Mary, first mother, first light,
light in darkness, come to us. Our own mothers—
far away. Past light. Who is counting
the stars? A child, perhaps, will
remember the odd night where Mother’s voice
rang out as if afraid, or wounded. A call for us
to come. And I came, Mother, you standing
at the window—wonderment of a child then,
you there, surprised by light. Looking up
at a star you pointed out. Calling me
to see—Wonderment and worship,
the star woke you into light, after a night of fear,
after a night filled with the lost
look in your eye. Mother, the only things I know
that heal, include light, light from light, and stars
and the Maker of them. I pray with you here
under a lit sky, I know you are there, Mother,
From WILDFLOWER. STONE., Pecan Grove Press, 2011
It has also been published in The Pecan Grove Press Review
from SOMEWHERE BETWEEN MEXICO AND A RIVER CALLED HOME, Pecan Grove Press, 2004
The flat-topped hills
are not like you, Mother,
you are arched
—like the dome
of a rainbow—
where light colors
the sky—and leaves
us looking upwards
Ozona—and the light
here is beautiful
—and you are light,
Mother—you are light
and now, you span
the sky—and this mountain
is a steeple, and you are
praying there and you
From WILDFLOWER. STONE., Pecan Grove Press, 2011
Marian Haddad, MFA is a Pushcart-nominated poet, writer, manuscript & publishing consultant, private writing mentor, lecturer and creative workshop instructor. Her collection of poems, Wildflower. Stone., (Pecan Grove Press 2011), is the first hardback in the nearly-25-years the press was in existence.
Haddad's recent collection has been endorsed by Pulitzer Prize poet, Yusef Komunyakaa, who states that this collection, "...celebrates the observable mysteries of daily existence ... these poems have dropped all disguises, and each rides the pure joy of music. There are superb leaps and silences that deftly highlight the monumental in simple things." This collection has also been endorsed by award-winning-author, Denise Chavez, and by Glover Davis, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University, who studied under our current U.S. Poet Laureate. In Former First Lady Laura Bush's Spoken from the Heart, she references Marian Haddad's description of the light in El Paso.
Her work has been covered by The Huffington Post, and The Hallmark Channel featured an extended feature on Haddad's literary work. Haddad's chapbook, Saturn Falling Down, was published at the request of Texas Public Radio in correlation with their Hands-on Poetry workshops (2003). Her full-length collection, Somewhere between Mexico and a River Called Home (Pecan Grove Press, 2004) approached its fifth printing before the passing of editor/publisher H. Palmer Hall.
Her poems, essays, reviews, and articles have been published in a number of literary journals and anthologies within the US, Belgium, the U.K., and the Middle East; some recent publications appear in an anthology of Texas and Louisiana poets, Improbable Worlds(Mutabilis Press), Before there Is Nowhere to Stand, an anthology of Arab and Jewish poets on the Palestinian Israeli conflict (Lost Horse Press), and an essay about juxtaposing the music of poetry to the music and pacing of basketball, Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball, (Michigan State University Press) and HOT! A chapbook on climate change (Bihl Haus Arts).
An NEH recipient, she participated in graduate work in philosophy at The University of Notre Dame and studied The Prose Poem at Emerson College. She holds a B.A. in creative writing from The University of El Paso and an M.F.A. from San Diego State, where she was associate editor for Poetry International, Vol. III., an issue which first housed Merwin's translation of Dante's Purgatorio.
Her manuscript clients have placed in various national contests and won chapbook & book awards including: The Ashland Poetry Prize, The Texas Review Poetry Prize, and The Whitebird Chapbook Award, among others, and have been semi-finalists for The Crab Orchard First Book Award and have published with a number of other presses including Pecan Grove Press, Kattywompus Press (with affiliation to Pudding House), Mouthfeel Press, and Finishing Line Press, also winning single piece contests with Nimrod, The Barthelme Prize and more. She has also routed well-established poets and writers to various presses including Trinity University Press and has been invited to consult on manuscripts for those who'd already secured contracts with presses, including Syracuse University Press, among others.
Haddad has taught creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake and Northwest Vista College, and International and American Literature at St. Mary's University and conducts workshops and private consultations at her home and on-site at the invitation of various schools and institutions. Her works in progress include a nearly-completed collection of poems, In this City of Saints, and a collection of essays about growing up Arab American in a Mexican American border town, as well as ten additional working manuscripts. She has blogged under the invitation of then-travel-editor for the San Antonio Express on her 2008 travels to Syria on mysa.com, and hosted a blog for the same, entitled WORD UP, as one of the City Lights bloggers invited by the paper.