Friday, April 4, 2008

Introduction: Sonrisas by Pat Mora

1)Mora, Pat. "Sonriasa." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. Comp. Paul J. Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. Ed. Peter Simon. New York, London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2007. 239.

I live in a doorway
between two rooms. I hear
quiet clicks, cups of black
coffee, click, click like facts
budgets, tenure, curriculum,
from careful women in crisp beige
suits, quick beige smiles
that seldom sneak into their eyes.
I peek
in the other room seƱoras
in faded dresses stir sweet
milk coffee, laughter whirls
with steam from fresh tamales
sh, sh, mucho ruido,*
they scold one another,
press their lips, trap smiles
in their dark, Mexican eyes.
--Pat Mora
From Borders, 1986.
* lots of noise

2) Sonrisas is a short poem where the speaker describes him/herself as living between two doorways. In one room a quiet setting of uptight women is described. They do not really talk or smile and stick strictly to business. In the other room a setting of loud women who are boisterous and happy is found, they are Mexicans.

3) I like this poem because it describes two different cultures through coffee, and the atmosphere women create when drinking it. I also enjoy the use of Spanish, the fact that it does not rhyme, and the image of different smiles in each culture's eyes. It made me aware of the way Mexican-Americans, or any mixed race, must feel in the world.

4) "Sonrisas" reminded me of "Living in Sin" by Adrienne Rich. The use of coffee to represent a woman's state of being/mind is a commmon factor in these two stories. "Living in Sin's" speaker let the coffee boil over on the stove top. This small neglectful element is very telling of her state in the poem. She could boil over from the patriarchal dominance of her culture. "Sonrisas" uses the coffee to explain the difference in two cultures in the same setting. In one, she shows, "quiet clicks, cups of black coffee, click click like facts, budgets, tenure, curriculum..." (3-5). Then, in the next setting we see, "sweet milk [being stirred] coffee, laughter whirls with steam from fresh tamales sh, sh, mucho ruido" (11-14). The use of image of coffee in both poems reflects the situations portrayed.

1 comment:

Desiree Goodwin said...

I really like the poem you chose! I love how the atmosphere is decribed by two women drinking coffee and how the culture is described.