Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The Worm

Let us give thanks for our poverty, said the guy dressed in rags.
I saw him with my own eyes: drifting through a town of flat houses,
built of brick and mortar, between the United States and Mexico.
Let us give thanks for our violence, he said, even if it's futile
like a ghost, even if it leads to nothing,
just as these roads lead nowhere.
I saw him with my own eyes: gesturing over a rosy background
that resisted the black, ah, sunset on the border,
glimpsed and lost forever.
Sunsets that enveloped Lisa's father
at the beginning of the fifties.
Sunsets that gave witness to Mario Santiago,
up and down, frozen stiff, in the backseat
of a contrabandist's car. Sunsets
of infinite white and infinite black.

I saw him with my own eyes: he looked like a worm with a straw hat
and an assassin's glare
and he traveled through the towns of northern Mexico
as if wandering lost, evicted from the mind,
evicted from the grand dream, everyone's dream,
and his words were, madre mía, terrifying.

He looked like a worm with a straw hat,
white clothes,
and an assassin's glare.
And he traveled like a fool
through the towns of northern Mexico
without daring to yield,
without choosing
to go down to Mexico City.
I saw him with my own eyes,
coming and going
with traveling vendors and drunks,
shouting his promises through streets
lined with adobes.
He looked like a white worm
with a Bali between his lips
or an unfiltered Delicados.
And he traveled, from one side to the other
of dreams,
just like an earthworm,
dragging his desperation,
devouring it.

A white worm with a straw hat
under the northern Mexican sun,
in soils watered with blood and the mendacious words
of the frontier, the gateway to the Body seen by Sam Peckinpah,
the gateway to the evicted Mind, the pure little
whip, and the damned white worm was right there,
with his straw hat and cigarette hanging
from his lower lip, and he had the same assassin's
glare, as always.
I saw him and told him I have three lumps on my head
and science can no longer do a thing for me.
I saw him and told him get out of my tracks, you prick,
poetry is braver than anyone,
the soils watered with blood can suck my dick, the evicted Mind
hardly rattles my senses.
From these nightmares I'll retain only
these poor houses,
these wind-swept streets
and not your assassin's glare.

He looked like a white worm with his straw hat
and a handgun under his shirt,
and he never stopped talking to himself or with whomever
about a village
at least two or three thousand years old,
up there in the North, next to the border
with the United States,
a place that still existed,
only forty houses,
two cantinas,
and a grocery store,
a town of vigilantes and assassins
like him himself,
adobe houses and cement patios
where one's eyes were forever hitched
to the horizon
(that flesh-colored horizon
like a dying man's back).
And what did they hope to see appear there? I asked.
The wind and dust, maybe.
A minimal dream,
but one on which they staked
all their stubbornness, all their will.

He looked like a white worm with a straw hat and a Delicados
hanging from his lower lip.
He looked like a twenty-two-year-old Chilean walking into Café la Habana
and checking out a blonde girl
seated in the back,
in the evicted Mind.
They looked like the midnight walks
of Mario Santiago.
In the evicted Mind.
In the enchanted mirrors.
In the hurricane of Mexico City.
The severed fingers were growing back
with surprising speed.
Severed fingers,
in the air of Mexico City.

-Roberto Bolaño

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The Bottom

I stopped drinking on my way down the hill
to the liquor store when two guys pulled up
and tried to drag me into their pickup. I crossed the street
then ran in the opposite direction, puffing
against the incline. The stranger thrust into reverse
and, when I wouldn't talk to him,
threw a bag of McDonald’s trash at me,
Stuck up bitch. I stopped drinking
when I realized I was fighting
for the vodka at the bottom of the hill
more than I was fighting against the terrible
things that could have happened to me
inside the cab of that rusty Chevy. I stopped drinking
before cell phones. I stopped drinking
after Days of Wine and Roses. I stopped drinking
even as I kept walking to El Prado Spirits
and the guy behind the counter who recognized me
asked if I was alright. I didn't tell him
what had happened because he might have called
the police and then I would have had to wait
for them to arrive to fill out a report, delaying my Smirnoff.
I stopped drinking even before I had that last sip,
as I ran back up the hill squeezing a bottle by its neck.

-Denise Duhamel

Monday, July 11, 2011


The Interrupted Concert

The frozen sleepy pause
of the half moon
has broken the harmony
of the deep night.

The ditches, shrouded in sedge,
protest in silence,
and the frogs, muezzins of shadow,
have fallen silent.

In the old village inn
the sad music has ceased,
and the most ancient of stars
has muted its ray.

The wind has come to rest
in dark mountain caves,
and a solitary poplar—Pythagoras
of the pure plain—
lifts its aged hand
to strike at the moon.

-Federico García Lorca
(Translated By W. S. Merwin)

Friday, July 1, 2011


Changing A Tire By The Missouri River

Turning the nuts one at a time
at midnight on a country road
the cold clear black air
pours into my body

and a mile away the invisible
Missouri River slides along.
You stand in the headlights yellow
corridors of light

wrapped in a blanket
impenetrable fields on either side
where farm dogs call and
the distant coyotes answer.

We have one child asleep
in the car another turning
with stars in your body.
On the giant billboard a dreamy

cowboy is lifting a slice
of bacon to his mouth.
I see my hands glow
with the lovely moment
of changing this tire.

The four way wrench slowly revolves.
I am entering my life.

__Harley Elliott