Winners, Palolem

I have just finished reading Winners: A Retrospective of the Washington Prize, published by The Word Works. I read it with a bit of need, as I am on The Word Works Board of Directors, but also with a lot of joy, as reading great poetry of any kind always is. I certainly recommend this anthology to anyone in need of some poetry. It highlights poems from Washington Prize winners as well as poems from judges and readers of Washington Prize submissions.

I read it while vacationing in Goa, at Palolem Beach. I was in Goa 18 years ago as well, further north in Baga beach. I already have some ideas for poems swimming in my head. But here are some impressions I have in the first week of being here, including the train ride in.

  1. Indian train chaiwalas have gone form selling chai in clay cups that people and throw out the train car window, alowing the cups to break and disintegrate back into the earth they came from, to selling chai in paper cups that just turn into trash and litter. O horrible, horrible, most horrible. This is poem topic #1.
  2. In Baga 18 years ago we ate a local delicacy: toast. But thus was a special kind of toast — our favorite was Onion Garlic Cheese Tomato toast. Yum! They cost rs.16 each (about 50 cents). Today the toasts still exist. They now cost about rs. 90 — about $2.00.
  3. Global warming is here. I don’t dispute it. I only dispute how and why it is here. People who live here at Palolem have witnessed the water coming closer and closer to them in the past X number of years (I don’t know how many). The prediction is this beach will be gone in 2020 — I doubt the year — so far global warming predictions seem to not hold a lot of water (no pun intended), as 2014 is a year away. But, the water is coming in. So if you want to see the beautiful slice of paradise, book tickets soon. This by the way, is poem topic #2.
Palolem Beach cafes, taken from the water line,  in Goa, India.
Palolem Beach cafes, taken from the water line, in Goa, India.

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