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All the Long Gone Darlings

May 19, 2007

From Ivy is here, January 8, 2006

Newly-minted poems: Three Women and Sisters.


Today, I was thinking about my oncological family history. It’s quite extensively branched on my mother’s side of the tree—grandmother, great-grandmother and ‘all the long gone darlings.’ Breast, throat, thyroid, stomach, liver, bowel, ovaries and blood… It makes me wonder what lurks in my genes. It makes me think on my ancestors from Spain and China, what they brought over from their countries into the Philippines, their bodies’ secrets.

Some of them have the most beautiful names, so mellifluous. Maria Milagrosa, Rosa, Faustino, Olympia, Generoso, Adelfa Rosa, Zenaida, Ponsing, Isias, Renato, Casimira, Candido, Mauro, Pomona, Matea, Conchita, Milagros.

Milagrosa means miraculous. She is the only one who has survived.

by Ivy Alvarez

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  1. May 19, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    I find this so beautiful. Names mean so much.

  2. May 20, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    I was very touched by this prose piece, Ivy, and also by both of your new poems linked here. They’re all moving expressions of strength in the face of things that could easily defeat us as women, as humans.

  3. Ivy
    May 22, 2007 at 3:40 am

    Thank you, Teju. I was recently pondering the significance of names when I reviewed ‘The Name Poems’, a chapbook by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright:

    “A name serves to identify and also, to mark out the space of the person it represents. Notably, the chapbook’s cover image is composed of initials, presented as cut out letters in the style of a ransom note. The initials represent the dedicatees, who all have a sonnet or two dedicated to them. Perhaps, in a way, a name also holds something to ransom, by withholding the person in exchange for the name, so that before one meets her, the name has created several expectations of the person behind the name.” Link: http://tinyurl.com/2ho4g3

    And thank you, beth. ‘Sisters’ is part of the next manuscript I’m working on, for which I also need to draw on a lot of strength to write.

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