When space is silence…

Words, sounds, and space…


A path to freedom

From left to right: Marina Nemat, Kimberley Motley, and Irwin Cotler. Panel discussion on Women and the Law at the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum. © Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

From left to right: Marina Nemat, Kimberley Motley, and Irwin Cotler. Panel discussion on Women and the Law at the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum.
© Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

It is Ayatollah Khomeini’s early days. Marina Nemat is only 16 when they arrest her, after leading a strike in high school. Sent to prison, she is tortured, and sentenced to death. The sentence is then changed for life imprisonment. The payment is to marry her interrogator, lose her catholic faith (become muslim), lose her name, her body, extend the pain. She has no option, refusing means jail or even death to her family and boyfriend. She endures. Days pass by. She requests solitary confinement. She can not look other prisoners directly into their eyes. She is sleeping with her interrogator! Being raped by her interrogator, to be more precise. She feels guilt of having been saved when her friends were killed. She feels embarrassed. She is sinking, only the goodness of few saves her spirits –there’s a birthday cake one day, for her, made of pieces of bread (saved during several days). Time continuous its path, she endures. The interrogator dies. His family helps her. She is released. Her family rejects her… She mentions the word dishonour, and I can only question the pervasive blindness of so many humans.

Marina tells the story with a calm rhythm that contrasts with the brutality of her experience. Marina’s face shows pain, her eyes project the sadness of telling and reliving memories. She says she gave up saving the world long time ago. She now keeps her expectations real. She is part of the panel discussion Women and the Law, organised by the Oslo Freedom Forum 2016. Janine di Giovanni moderates the panel. Kimberley Motley and Irwin Cotler share their experience advocating for human rights in troubled countries, in a troubled world. Kim mentions the dilemma of releasing a woman from prison to send her to prison –her home or a shelter. Kim, as Marina, tries to be realistic. She brings awareness to her clients, represents their interests, works to meet the goal they want. Irwin questions the red line, the times the world has said “never again” (to genocide, for example), and how that red line transmutes into pink advice. He speaks with reality in his words: “we cannot save all political and conscience prisoners, but we need to let them know that we are trying”. A member of the audience questions how much the ICC is really doing; another asks how to get our “human rights” voice passed the Kardashians and US politics. Kim states that it is not only about fighting for a cause, one has to sell it. “Do not lose faith” says Janine. Marina adds that initiating change does not have to be complex: “If 10 small voices speak up and influence to save one person, I am happy!”. Advocacy is much easier today than 20 years ago: it is one click away through social media and the internet. Marina closes the panel with a poem.

I shake Marina’s hand. I try to convey the overwhelming feeling of admiration her words inspired in me. We talk about poetry and blogs. She says how writing poetry is therapy for her, how the process soothes and recharges her. I echo her words, with a smile. With not even a close comparison to Marina’s life experience, her humanity and her way of freeing her mind make me relate to her in a new way. Writing poetry is what keeps me sane through the worst and best of times.

In awe
the skies of Oslo cry
— words show the path

_____Adriana Citlali

© Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

Janine di Giovanni moderating the panel Women and the Law at the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum
© Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

Inspired by the real-life heroes, speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum 2016. In response to Again, what do you do to truly rest and relax? –question asked by Toni Spencer today at Haibun Monday #14 – “Too Many Mind…” | dVerse. A Haibun is a text composed with a combination of relatively short prose and a haiku.



Memory cave Tangolunda Bay, Huatulco, Oaxaca, México ©Adriana Citlali Ramírez, 2014

Memory cave
Tangolunda Bay, Huatulco, Oaxaca, México
©Adriana Citlali Ramírez, 2014

The entrance to the past is here. What’s inside? The snake that once enchanted you? Will it bite you this time? I wonder if its venom will evoke colours and visions, or just pain. Maybe the past will show itself as it was meant to be. Memories trapped in oblivion might be relieved. Were they good?
Is past worth traveling for?      –Close  your  eyes…

The memory cave
lies on a sandy beach
… awaits pristine


_____Adriana Citlali

For Haibun Monday #8 | dVerse.


Dark, bleeding, noiseless days

Monday was dark  
         scented with coffee  
         as northern fog  

         –you said
can let those colours bleed
         –I stared

Today is noiseless
         only peaceful whispers
         with inky voices

_____Adriana Citlali

The words I just wrote are my first try at tenWord poetry –a form invented by Brian Miller.

In Brian’s words:
“I call this one tenWord, because after ten words no one is listening anyway, or already formulating their response…and what can you say in ten words…”



The refusal (PrimeNoPo version)

Today at dVerse we are combining mathematics and poetry, as it is done in the OULIPO form (Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle) introduced in 1960 by French mathematician Francois de Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau. The OULIPO is a playful form in which one takes an existing poem an exchanges each of the poem’s nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary.

I decided to invent my own form, the PrimeNoPo (Prime Noun Poem) in which one substitutes the prime nouns. In other words, each Nth noun in the poem (where N is a prime number) gets substituted by the noun appearing N nouns away of the original in the dictionary. Pronouns are not substituted and, as in the OULIPO, the substituted noun has to be a word with a different root, not a derivative of the original noun. Ahh! Nouns in the title are also counted.

I chose to try the PrimeNoPo form on my 2012 poem The refusal.… smiles … Here is the result:

The refusal

A ghost-fact against the silicate that keeps playing that song haunts me…
Is the musketry an effect of the vision? Or does the sop draw this ethereal face note by note?
I close my facility seeking quietness, darkness.
The song acts as a sniffle biting its own tail.
I break the silence with my voice: Aaaahh!
… No chapel …
I know the ghost. It is you and it is me. Or you and not me.
I try to forget this colossal mentality, again.
The song refuses to end.

_____Adriana Citlali



On trueness and reality

Claudia:    How real do you get in your poetry?  

I craft poems as a reflection of my instantaneous reality  

My poetry evolves with feelings evoked by old memories 
                                         mixed with recent experience
                                         sparkled with salty tears
                                                       or  fugitive     laughs

Anell:      How true is it?

Some poems are so true      they hurt
Some are transparent with a secret
                 accurate through an image
                 obvious just to some

You:      Can a metaphor be true?

Like the sweetness of salted chocolate!

Amelia:    Can a dream become a poem? Are dreams always true?

… just always real

_____Adriana Citlali

Inspired by today’s Pubtalk– How real do you get in your poetry? | dVerse .