Maya and Joya, Simply Phenomenal Women

Yesterday evening was a looked forward to occasion, a tribute to Maya Angelou from Mixed Magic Theater and the Block Island Poetry Project. What a wonderful evening to share.

But, just a week ago, our own phenomenal Joya Verde died. Maya Angelou was not the name Maya was born with, Joya Verde also gave herself this name by which I knew her since the first Poetry project session eleven years ago. Words written for Maya tender, witty, warm, resilient … words sparkled with humor and affirmation could be written for my friend. Joya’s partner Virginia and her family have been with her, and those, like myself, less near, can only say I suffer this much, this loss, I imagine yours, I am inadequate now. I was fortunate enough to live near enough to meet Joya. She is/was truly quite phenomenal, when she came into a room or joined us on a walk, all of us were gladdened: Joya is here. [I hope much of her writing might be collected as some of her short stories have been- she enriched so many days of listening.]

Joya felt present as we listened to the songs and words in celebration of Maya. You tube has many poems, this is Maya Angelou performing “And Still I Rise”.

joya
Joya Verde – taken from a facebook photo by Michele Solomon with thanks and sympathy

And this is me – inadequate but trying…

Summers end
And so the summer goes by like the swallow
darting and flitting
Memory flashes clarity tail forked wings slanted
Truth a confusion of other summers other times
This summer ends with loss.

Some days the waves rode high eight feet
measured by bikinied bodies
stretched out outlined in clear green
joyously crucified out of element
before the beach bound began counting bobbing heads
In the confusion of white water

Thought flits
She was sometimes crucified
by element incapable of holding
so grand a surge to life.
Swallow. Loss hits. No confusion now.
Life is, was, includes, remembers haikued time.

Remember Joya.

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Maya and Joya, Simply Phenomenal Women

    1. We are having a celebration for Joya this weekend on the island at one of her favourite places. Thanks for your words. You would have appreciated this woman if you had ever met – she was both loving and always incredibly funny, whatever she said we would end up smiling

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