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Noronha & Forrest – Feb. 15

Lalita Noronha and Allen Forrest traded art and words. Allen shared this image, entitled “Fair Trade Coffee Woman Working,” with Lalita:

FairtradeAllenForrestIn response, Lalita wrote this poem:

Fair Trade

But for the coffee beans, you could pass for an African queen,
your gown aflame like the rising sun on the Congo,
high cheek bones in an empress face.

Instead, you gulp plumes of caffeine smoke,
tuck in your belly and stretch your arms,
the color of dark Columbian grounds.

As you turn the crank,
green beans tumble, churn, rise to the top,

a few drop, scuttle and settle in holes on the floor,
as you reach over the roaster, scorching your fingers,
calling them home.

You grind through the day,
mark time by numbers of hoppers
of roasted green beans,
while the trees stand like sentries,
swearing and sweating in searing heat,

and your back curves like commas
in articles I read on
Fair Trade Coffee Beans.

* * * * *

Lalita shared this poem with Allen:


After “Young Girl on a Chair” by Giacomo Manzu, Bronze Sculpture, 1955, Baltimore Museum of Art Garden

Your tiny tight buttocks clench the wicker seat,
bronze legs and thighs,
straight as stilts
root your soles
to earth.

Your belly glistens below budding breasts,
bent elbows curved along your waist,
arms stretched,
fingers interlaced in prayer
cover that sacred place.

But it’s all there
in your face, insolent pout,
steeled eyes averted,
nappy hair pulled straight back
in a perky pony tail.

It’s clear you will not confess,
not repent,
content to do time,
and do it all

In response, Allen made this drawing, “Defiance”:


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