At fifteen, her dreams were of Fidel
blue-black nights of romance,
nor knights in shining armor.
She wanted to fly on the back of a Quetzal,
soar like Icarus on melt-proof wings
among white doves,
and corn blue Mexican skies.
She wanted to march
con intelectuales y campesinos
down ancient streets once paved with gold
now bathed in blood
Centro Cultural turned slaughterhouse
a few escaped
clutching dreams of peace
Above Big Sur
you cling to craggy soil
your sinews remember
your lace canopy...
cherry blossoms in the air
A distant flute trills.
The little kimono—aqua and melon—
flutters under glass.
A baby doll brought from Tokyo
rustles in his case.
Home is in the air,
and, so as not to scare anyone,
you wait until late at night
when winds are still and
fog veils the coastline.
You pull up your ancient roots,
tip-toe inland and
graft yourself onto American soil.
You travel in the mist like thatÉ
implant yourself before dawn like that,
then rush back to your perch
on cypress covered ridges
and coastal morning fog.
It rained tonight.
The amber streetlight,
the feathery leaves of mesquite,
the soft wisps of rain.
Were talking again, he said, me and Samia
They broke up when she laughed over 911
Is that good, I said. Did you smooth it out?
Yeah, he said, but I dont know,
she brings up this love thing again.
Howd you do that, I said.
I dont know, he said,
picturing the rain in her hair
5000 miles away.
Sedonas the only landscape of red
and the summer tide, the only sea of red
Hes sound asleep by 9.
Peter Jennings sports a 5 oclock shadow
round the clock these days.
His once honeyed voice drones and cracks
over pictures of a fairy tale gone wrong.
Bastards, Steve says,
Lucky, I said, that youve gone this longÉ
Perhaps, the Sikh killed in Phoenix yesterday,
means less than Wall Street crashing today.
Just ask the women in Juarez.
Mindfulness is trivial
when collective passions
The president might be tempted to declare war, I said,
Find any excuse, I said.
You always have to be so negative, he said.
Larrys worried about me.
Cant you just avoid talking about it, he said.
Avoid it, I sighed.
Carmen snuck out of Santiago into exile
in the middle of the night
Rene slipped back into El Salvador into the awaiting arms
and Ches skeleton is missing both hands!
I called Irma last night to talk.
Do you want to meet, she said.
The tension is familiar.
I grew up half-breed among fair-skinned girls.
I learned English with a twisted tongue and forked pen.
I was born on the border where folks meet in mistrust.
I traveled secretly to Russia.
I cannot be too careful.
Only in my dreams, do I speak freely in my own home.
This first day of the eleventh month
is overcast. In crisp autumn air and corn blue sky,
I swaddle memories of the dead.
My heart quivers with gratitude
Swells with blessings
I have no reason to mourn.
He came from a long line
of ilusos, provincial folk,
never expecting to be
shot in the back
in the middle of the night
by his own brother
or father. I forget
whose crosshairs he walked into
who just followed orders that night
whose heart exploded like watermelon
fallen from a truck.
His grandfathers did
he studies pictures of Emilio
of my father in the drivers seat