Monica Raymond


"At lunch she eats cauliflower and pork," the notes say. "Asked what she is eating, she answers 'Spinach.'" Mrs. D. complained to her doctor: "I have lost myself."

               Stephanie Saul,"Taking on Alzheimers"
               NY Times, June 10, 2007

I have lost myself. Maybe among the pines
that line the hospital walk, you may see her:
a woman in her forties, diaphanous,
divorced from the stolidity of her body.

Or maybe along the hospital walk
a woman like me in every particular
only not divorced from the solidity of her body
pocket watch round as a goldfish in a pond of time,

happily splashing, a woman exactly like me.
She takes off her dress in the orchard and becomes the moon,
a silver fish in the black pool of time,
her arm outstretched becomes ripples on the ocean.

She remembers taking off her dress in the night orchard,
the pears luminous reflections of the moon,
her arm outstretched for them, desire an ocean—
I see this as a cartoon on a silk curtain.

Stewed pears in the cafeteria daubed with light.
The doctor asks what I am having for dinner,
his face a florid cartoon on a silk curtain.
He has a piece of spinach stuck in his teeth.

The doctor asks what I am having for supper.
Doesn't he see it's cauliflower and pork?
He has a piece of spinach stuck in his teeth.
"Spinach," I tell him. I imagine him underwater.

What's for dinner, darling? Cauliflower and pork
and spinach, always spinach, and in spinach bowls,
spinach my words. I imagine him underwater,
dining on seaweed, spinach fish nibbling him.

Race, nationality? Spinach. Religion? Spinach.
In the orchard, the medals on his uniform glazed with sun
melt into seaweed, spinach fish nibbling him.
The breasts in a way are medals of the body.

In the orchard, the medals on his body glaze with sun.
We award this touch for meritorious service,
breasts glistening like medals of the body.
Medals, metals, or hearts? Gyrating in ecstasy…

We award these truths for meritorious service:
all who die in the war lie down,
purple hearts gyrating in ecstasy.
Take a breath, move quietly into the next world.

All who die in the war lie down
in the forest of spinach, in spinach town
take a breath, move quietly into the next world
through the deep green curtain of spinach, silk.

In the forest of spinach, in spinach town,
a woman in her forties, diaphanous,
feels her life slip as through a green curtain,
an alley of pines. I have lost myself.

Villanelle in Winter

My heart leaps like a brown sparrow
in a brown bush, not a leaf on it—
a sidelong leap, like a twisted arrow,

or the slippery dip of a wheelbarrow,
sliding on ice and then caught by grit.
My heart leaps like a brown sparrow:

though straight the line and straight the furrow
and straight is the gate of the straitjacket,
a sidelong leap, like a twisting arrow

is the infinity I borrow
from arabesques of the infinite.
My heart leaps like a brown sparrow

that flits through the wide mesh of sorrow,
and grieves shorn winter not a bit.
A sidelong leap now can miss the arrow!

Gray sky, bare brush, and the singing marrow
the puppeteer lights in the puppet—
sidelong, it leaps, like a twisted arrow.
My sleeping heart like a brown sparrow.

Slippery Pantoum

The dead don't shovel their walks.
So when you go past the graveyard
look out, you're walking on ice!
Do what you can to balance.

When you go past the graveyard,
take care, try not to fall.
Do what you can to balance
what's here with what's unseen.

Take care, try not to fall
in front of the narrow stones.
What's here and what's unseen,
both of them watch you now.

On the crystal verge of the stones,
the other walkers pass.
Both of them watch you now.
You wonder which sees more.

The other walkers pass.
They seem oblivious.
You wonder which sees more,
but you guess it is the stones.

They seem oblivious
but they alone know the end.
You guess it is the stones'
dream of the life beneath:

they alone know the end.
Look out, you're walking on ice!
Dream of the life beneath.
The dead don't shovel their walks.


Monica Raymond is a poet and playwright based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her play, The Owl Girl, won the Jewish Play Project 2015 Boston and was deemed one of "ten best new Jewish plays of 2015." It also won the Peacewriting Award, Castillo Theater prize, Clauder Competition Gold Medal, and was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award (best play in English by a woman). Her short opera, Paper or Plastic (music Charles Turner), premiered at the ART's Outside the Box Festival 2013. A MacDowell Colony Fellow, Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Dramatic Writing, and Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow, Raymond has taught English and interdisciplinary arts at Harvard, CUNY, the Boston Museum School, and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. From 2000 to 2010, she did a ten-year experiment in living carbon neutral in a contemporary US city.


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The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Jane Kenyon by Susan Spear.

Gail White and Nausheen Eusuf are the recipients of the 2017 Mezzo Cammin Scholarships to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Alice Mizrachi is a New York based interdisciplinary artist working in the mediums of painting, installation, murals and socially engaged art. Her work explores the interconnectedness of individuals and community through the dual lens of compassion and empathy. Through figurative work that reinforces both personal and community-oriented identity, Alice aims to inspire creative expression and a sense of shared humanity through art.

Alice has worked as an arts educator for nearly twenty years for a variety of organizations including BRIC Arts, The Laundromat Project and The Studio Museum in Harlem. As a pioneer in the field of socially engaged art at the local level, Alice has been recognized and selected to develop arts education curriculum for organizations such as HI-ARTS (Harlem, NY), Dr. Richard La Izquierdo School and Miami Light Project. She has also been a panelist discussing community-engaged art for events at Brown University and The Devos Institute of Arts Management.

As a painter, Alice maintains both a studio practice and an extensive body of work as a muralist. Her work have been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, UN Women and the Museum of Contemporary Art in DC. She has been commissioned as a mural artist for projects in Amsterdam, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and across the United States by organizations and museum including: Knox-Albright Museum, Buffalo, NY; Worcester DCU (Worcester, Massachusettes); Wall Therapy (Rochester, NY); La Mama and Fourth Arts Block (NYC); Miami Light Project (Miami, FL); and, Chashama (Harlem, NY), among others.

Alice's mural and installation work has been constructed in galleries and public spaces as part of site-specific arts education and community development projects. Her work often engages local neighborhoods and reflects positive visual responses to social issues. Her process activates a shared space of love, hope, optimism and healing as a means to connect with participants. Frequent topics include identity, unity, migration and the sacred feminine.

Alice and her art have been featured in a variety of publications including the book, 2Create, Outdoor Gallery: New York City, the New York Times, and Huffington Post and The Architectural Digest. She has a BFA from Parsons School of Design and was an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in 2015. Alice was also the co-founder of Younity, an international women's art collective active from 2006-2012. She has received grants from The Puffin Foundation and The Ford Foundation. Her recent projects include a residency in Miami with Fountainhead, a residency with Honeycomb Arts In Buenos Aires and a mural with The Albright Know Museum in Buffalo. Alice currently holds a studio space at The Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx. Her upcoming projects include a workshop/ panel at Brown University and a book release in Summer 2017.

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