I’ll admit it; I have a slight obsession with Sandra Cisneros. It started about four years ago, when I went to visit my eldest daughter, who was then a Sophomore in college. And one thing we did on that visit, which ended up becoming a bit of a ritual, was have brunch at Zoe’s Cafe, where the pancake portions were huge, the blueberry syrup overflowing, and the coffee hot and neverending. And not that bad burnt diner kind of coffee…

It was three of us that morning…my daughter, one of her best friends (who was studying poetry) and I. And since books are my love language, I brought books for these two lovely ladies, books I thought—as one who has struggled to find her voice, would be trusted companions on this journey.

I’d heard an interview with Sandra Cisneros a few weeks before the visit, and it was love at first hearing. Her voice exuded an owning of the self…and I started reading everything by her I could get my hands on. Well, actually listening…I loved hearing Cisneros tell her own stories.

So I brought The House on Mango Street and A House of My Own: Stories from my life to that first female power summit at Zoe’s. What do I know? I reflected, to my daughter and her friend, but I’ve simply lived a bit longer, and I know how easy it is to lose your voice, to let it get coopted by other stronger voices, how good it can feel to be a caretaker, so much so that we forget, but it never feels good in the bones.

And now I’m devouring Cisneros’ most recent book of poetry, Woman Without Shame, where she writes in the collection’s first entry,

It was easy to be half naked

at a gay beach. Men

didn’t bother to look.

I was in training to be

a woman without shame.

…Was practicing for

my Minoan days ahead.

Medusa hair and breasts

spectacular as Nike of Samothrace

welcoming the salty wind.

Yes, I was a lovely thing then.

I can say this with impunity.

At twenty-eight, she was a woman

unrelated to me. I could

tell stories. Have so many stories to tell

and none to tell them to

except the page.

My faithful confessor.

And upon reading those lines, I was reminded of just why I love Cisneros. Because her stories are real reflections of an inner journey. Because she speaks the truth unapologetically (shall we say shamelessly?) and in so doing, encourages her readers to do the same. And she reminds me just why I love poetry, because poetry, Cisneros says in a recent interview, is more my journal than my journalIt’s only when I write poetry that I explore. In a craft essay on poetry, she writes, That’s why I write poetry, it’s the one room in the house of the spirit where I am allowed to think anything want…Poetry is a refuge from the mundane, an invitation to the sacred.

Why else are we here, but to accept the invitation to the sacred? To raise ourselves above all that stifles our spirit, the autopilot, brain-numbing seduction of social media, the coaxing of the collective, and speak with our own particular still small voice? And sprinkle some seeds of sweetness along the way…

Published by Musings

Certified Life Coach Certified Nutritionist Certified Yoga Instructor Certified Naturopath

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