When Diana Anhalt Was Eight Years Old, Her Family Moved From New York City To Mexico The Twenty Poems Collected In Her Chapbook, SECOND SKIN, Speak Of Coming To Terms With Displacement And Succumbing To Mexico S Magic In Time She Would Wear Her Second Country Like A Second Skin, Reveling In Its Spontaneity, The Warmth Of Its People, Its Natural Beauty, The Language When She Returned To The United States Sixty Years Later, She Was Again Faced With A Culture That Was Alien To Her Her Poems Refer Nostalgically To The Challenge Of Shedding Her Second Skin As She Readapts To The Country Of Her Birth To read the poems of Second Skin is to plunge into a riot of bougainvillea, tortillas fresh off the comal, clanging church bells, alleys called Little Street of Bitterness The slim, elegant book vividly evokes Mexico on a beautifully rendered landscape of nostalgia Diana Anhalt, who moved to the country in 1950 with her McCarthy fleeing parents and recently returned to the United States, could not resist Mexico s seductive pull its midnight serenatas, the street vendors singing of their wares, the markets overflowing with calla lilies, roses, carnations Nor could she escape the smog of Mexico City, the legions of dead who always managed to cast their vote in election years, the severed heads of drug cartel victims But Second Skin is neither a sentimental souvenir nor a political analysis It is a poignant, unflinching look back at the beloved country, imprinted on Anhalt s very skin then left behind To live without fuschia, January s sun, Spanish, smoke spewing Popocatepetl, the night watchman s warning whistle, driving both ways on a one way streetis impossible.Anhalt s strong craft combined with her insider outsider relationship to her adopted country allow her to bring us fresh lines, as in her Ode to Spanish So vowel happy, so full of yourself, so giddy on rhyme And to digress on the nature of belonging and change Roots are hardy travelers, adaptable, they float on water, cohere to wood Second Skin is for those who know Mexico and those who want to learn its essence It is for fans of lyrical, muscular poetry And finally, this important book is for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a place.
There s a song in Spanish No soy de aqu ni soy de all I m not from here, I m not from there I feel like that sometimes Transplanted from New York to Mexico City when I was eight years old, I returned to my native country when I was 68 That was a little over two years ago and I m still trying to adapt, to grow roots, and ironically, to feel at home in the country of my birth But the
- 30 pages
- Second Skin
- Diana Anhalt
- 10 January 2017 Diana Anhalt