Joan has been a guest blogger before on IdealisticRebel and she has just had a new book of poetry published. It’s called Fluency. Joannie and I have been friends forever, the kind of friends who last a lifetime. When her book came out she sent me a copy, and I read it cover to cover. Immediately, there was one poem in particular which I found to be very powerful and very moving, which I wanted to share with each of you. If I hadn’t gotten so sick with the deep bronchitis, I would have gotten this to you earlier. I’m still on medication and have doctor appointments coming up to handle this, and my blogging will be sporadic for while yet, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to share Joan’s words with you.
Joan and her lovely husband Paul have retired and are moving to be closer to their daughter and granddaughter. Joan has been through a great deal in life’s trauma’s, and she has been and remains a glowing light for what can be accomplished when you look up after you survive trauma in your life, and still retain your inner strength and beauty.
Here is one of my earlier photographs of her. We used to go on Sunday mornings to the beach and have breakfast, and play volleyball. I would leave and go home to shower an put on my nurse’s uniform while my friends stayed on to play.
Joan is also a wonderful musician and a classically trained vocalist, and often sings with her husband Paul Esiert as Fire and Ice, in and around Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.
Here are her words
Jing-o is the Name-o
Greasy dago Guinea wop
Spaghetti bender Mafioso
Class, let’s see if Joan can talk while sitting on her hands
Let’s listen to her sandals go wop, wop, wop
as the dagos go by
Look at that dago nose
John Metzger and David Duke grand idiot dragons
and wizards of the KKK – the jury’s still out on the eye-talians
they’re not really white
Back in the day Warren’s Eastside fathers warned their daughters
not to go past the railroad tracks
to the West End where all those dagos live
the Ghetto in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains
10% of 1st and 2nd generations Italian-Americans
served in WW II
Italian-American soldiers suffered
the highest number of casualties
Murders in the fine Italian New Jersey farmlands
The Man can’t have the wops working the soil
better than he does
All Italians are the mafia
Did ya hear the one about the dago and the…
or the wop and the…
Those shady Southern Italians with their beady eyes
and black hair
I’m not racist, but…
She must be Italian
Hey lady, the stork gave you the wrong baby
Are you a hooker?
What a sham, Mr and Mrs Papalia
Joan’s such a beautiful girl
Mrs. Papalia, disown your daughter
Did ya hear the one about the nigger and the…
Did ya hear the one about the coon and the…
She’s the one that married the colored boy
Joan’s invited to the party but not him
I feel bad for the children
Them babies should be put in a burlap bag
and down in the river
The apartment’s already been rented
I can’t babysit for you anymore
Retail security watching every move
An EMT’s failed drowning rescue — Dead?
Who cares – one less nigger around.
Amadou Dialo: New York City
killed by 41 shots in a doorway
reaching for his wallet
White hoods and robes in upscale Amherst, NY
Charlotte, North Carolina
(How much time you got?)
Ninth Ward, New Orleans – Hurricane Katrina
LWB Living while black
LWM Living while Middle Eastern
Living while whatever you are that they aren’t
(How much time have you got?)
I’m not prejudiced, but….
–Joan Papalia Eisert
from Fluency, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions