photo by maja trochimczyk
Dr. Maja Trochimczyk is a poet, music historian, and non-profit director born in Poland, educated in Canada, and living in California (www.trochimczyk.net). Her two books of poetry are illustrated with her own photographs (Rose Always and Miriam's Iris, Moonrise Press, 2008). She published three books of music studies (After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music, USC, 2000; The Music of Louis Andriessen, Routledge 2002, and Polish Dance in California, Columbia University Press, 2007), hundreds of peer-reviewed and popular articles, essays, entries, CD liner notes, and interviews, on music and culture. Her poems appeared in chapbooks by Poets on Site, as well as Magnapoets, poeticdiversity, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Poetry and Cookies, Southland Poets of the Fantastic, and are forthcoming in Quill and Parchment and Clockwise Cat.
Her photographs appeared in The Huston Literary Review, on music CDs, and in a variety of newsletters and music journals. Her next two poetry projects are anthologies: Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse (for 2010), and Meditations on Divine Names (for 2011).
I knew my river,
But my memory still mixes its golden sand
With the squeaky quartz crystals of the Baltic.
Vistula: a grey bandage of coolness
Dressing the wounds of a forsaken land,
Where Vars and Sava lived happily once
And a mermaid helped them
To defend the city from Germans.
With shield and sword
She rose from the depths
(Otherwise inhabited by the somber
And mustachioed catfish).
I know, that story is too old-fashioned
For today's bombs and bullets.
Parochial, receding into insignificance,
My childhood monster: rzeka Wisla.
But I flew away and above. I saw:
Muddy browns spread in wide ribbons,
Murky waters telling tales
Of Old Man Mississippi
Flood the new lands.
Green embroidery coiled around the meadows
Like emerald snakes,
More luminous than freshly watered lawns.
Concrete paths weaving in and out of the City:
Beneath walls of graffiti
A tiny trickle brings leftovers
From the other season in L.A.
The diamond surface of the stream
scattering riches on smooth pebbles,
to disappear amidst dry twigs
of suffocating, cricket-laden summer.
I should remember: this is California .
I should remember: I'm not at home.
On a late Sunday afternoon,
During an intermission of a concert in Claremont
I rest on a stone park bench with an engraved dedication to
Young Mrs. Williams, "radiant, fearless, immortal."
I like trying on other lives:
What would it feel like to be radiant?
What would it be like to be an
Old lady who has been playing her cello
out of tune for the past forty years?
Or how would I live as Mabel Bridges who
- Her parents wrote on her portrait-
"from the bloom of her youth
passed into the unseen."
And what would it feel like to be my own daughter,
Ania, writing messages on birch bark
To be left on the bench
For fellow pilgrims
Who will not notice?