In this celebration of life in death, Mona Lisa Saloy captures the solemn grief, ongoing struggle, and joyous processions of New Orleans after the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. She Knows the music of the neighborhood, spoken and sung, in affirmation of what is genuine and hopeful, as well as the despair of destruction that nature and politics heaped upon The Crescent City. Saloy’s details of down-home activities and use of local expressions convey the many cultures and voices of this unique city. In this ode to New Orleans there is joy and hope, and a passionate call to join the resilient Second Line.
Mona Lisa Saloy is a poet whose words give as shelter. A poet who has feeding us always on her mind. Keep your starched white dinner napkins, for another kind of meal and for guests that eat in a hurry. Bring your hunger for a family that still kisses each other at the open the door and the memory that knows the storm will end and the sun will rise again.
In Second Lune Home, poet Mona Lisa Saloy captures the spirit and cadence of New Orleans. The book is at once a haunting poetic narrative of the horror of Hurricane Katrina and an uplifting, healing song of personal and collective resilience. Saloy tells of muck, stink, doors swollen with water, despair, and bottled-up hurt, while finding hope, sustenance, and solace in familial love, spirituality, and the Creole cultural traditions that nurtured her. Saloy’s artistry is particularly evident in her use of metaphors: “Broke his heart in half like a walnut split down the middle”. And she seasons her aesthetic with Creole vernacularisms such as hucklebucks (frozen drinks) and meliton (mirliton). And naturally, there is the inevitable remix of pulsating music for which the city is famous: Johnny Adams, Fats Domino, and Alan Toussaint. This is a collection of poems that must be read!
“Z’Haricots Rouge” – Red beans and black love. At the heart of Mona Lisa Saloy’s book is an act of interdiction, an interruption of one American language with another. In acts of simultaneous self-translation, these poems find those spaces among tongues where turns to truth, “tastes like more”.
Aldon Lynn Nielsen