This week, a fun poem, because I'm wishing you all a pleased and sleepy feeling on the day after Thanksgiving. 
This poem is the execution of a premise, an extended imagining of the mother as action hero. The action hero traits and circumstances pulled forward by the poet, Luisa Muradyan, are for the most part campy, over the top, even in their original contexts. "my mother hunting the Predator with a cigar lodged in her mouth." The poem jolts the reader into realizing—why do I find these images so additionally strange with the insertion of the word "mother" when they were already nonsense to begin with. Also, it's just fun to imagine the various scenes with your own mom. 

My Mother as Tom Cruise
By Luisa Muradyan

Or as every other late 80s action hero
my mother successfully jumping off of a skyscraper
onto another skyscraper my mother hunting the
Predator with a cigar lodged in her mouth
my mother saying sonofabitch in the coolest
way imaginable my mother ripping a mask off
to reveal she is not in fact the president of the United
States but that she is in fact my mother
my mother somehow knowing how to pilot
a helicopter my mother pulling her abusive
father out of a bath tub my mother slamming
her fist down on the table during an arm
wrestling tournament my mother registering
her hands as lethal weapons my mother pleading
with her mother to leave before things got dangerous
my mother watching things get dangerous
my mother holding the green wire and the blue
wire and figuring out which wire to cut
my mother covered in her mother's blood
my mother my mother my god my mother
walking away from a burning
car my mother an action hero
that self-destructs and yet she's still
my mother sitting in front of a villain
calming explaining to him that death
is almost here without sharks without
bombs. My mother pale as the moonlight
my mother watching him
die slowly, in explosive peace
and immeasurable quiet.

This poem was published in the Threepenny Review in Fall 2020. 

Sonia's Guide to Gifts for Herself and Other People (Part 2)

The gift guide goes on! Happy internet browsing. If you missed last week's tour de presents, click here. NB - Prices don't reflect Black Friday deals.

My gift giving philosophy can basically be distilled down to—luxurious things you wouldn’t bother to buy yourself. In that spirit, how about a high quality nail polish in fancy lady colors like Carob or Agnes from J. Hannah ($19)? On the other hand, I’ve never finished a bottle of nail polish in my life, so something like this beautiful set of minis might be a better idea ($54). 

An actual piece of art that I can’t afford is one of Helle Mardahl’s candy inspired glass vases. I especially like this one, Bon Bon Medi Violet / Apricot (€485). 

A trio of best-selling spices ($36) for someone chef-y or wishing to be. “Diaspora Co. was founded to create a radically new, and equitable vision of the spice trade, decolonizing a commodity back into  a seasonal crop, and a broken system into an equal exchange.” Also, the spices are great and come in a beautiful box and you could additionally buy this fancy yellow tote-bag ($30).

Speaking of spices, how about a spice grinder for a friend who watches a lot of culinary YouTube videos ($39.95 from Williams Sonoma). Or this extremely aesthetic salt and pepper grinder from Hay for someone whose kitchen looks like an Instagram set ($39).

For your friend who wears tights, something I, frankly, aspire to: a pink and white checkered pair from Lazy Oaf ($23).

For your dad who thwarts the entire process of gift-giving by wanting nothing, a pair of classic flannel pajamas from L.L. Bean ($69.95). Also, a pair for yourself because they are quite nice. This heritage Irish fisherman’s sweater also has both dad and me personally vibes ($179). 

Alcohol is a great all-purpose gift; you don’t need me to tell you about alcohol. Less often considered is hot chocolate—one of winter’s foremost beverage luxuries. The true classic American mall experience is Williams Sonoma ($19.95), which you can also buy in a set with their fancy marshmallows ($34.95). Dandelion Chocolate is a more artisanal choice ($18). I drank a cup of that stuff in person at the San Francisco location with my cousin. We had roughly 20 minutes of creative jubilance and then an hour of existential doubt, which is how sugar is really meant to be experienced. 

A subscription to one of my favorite literary magazines, The Believer ($48 for a year). A luxurious literary experience, full color, large format, excellent writing, plus interviews with cool people (like recently Jenny Slate) and gorgeous, meditative graphic-art style comic strips

And tell someone to sign up for Sonia's Poem of the Week, obviously! 


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Sonia Feldman · 2529 Detroit Ave · Cleveland, OH 44113 · USA

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