Here’s a farewell to glued-on seashells
and glitter-frosted plastic leaves
and all the instructions on “making things your own” —
We. Own. Nothing. Not even when we pay for them
or when we pet or polish or pray
our longings into titles and possessions,
much less when we press our names or initials
into their layers with ink or fire —
this world is not our home,
our images like water, even as
they freeze for long minutes on our screens.
Here’s to the clutter of bins and warehouses
and here’s to the wind that sweetens the sky
even as it stings our cheeks
on its way to whipping more things away.
I wear the sun on my arm to say
Nothing can be true or total all the time:
Ink blurs and bleeds, features fade,
and I have been called a thousand names
that weren’t my own, sometimes with malice
and often within a miasmatic memory’s
failure to ever-fix my mark among its grooves.
I shall not be greedy. Two hundred years hence
we all shall be writ in water and fire —
dead light lacing the streaks of diamonds
plummeting into planets no plutocrats can plunder.
What is a treasure no tyrant can touch
or tax — what shall we call currency
that cannot be spent or shared? Under my pillow,
I press my palm to a coin from Taiwan,
tracing not the actual engravings —
a dictator’s face, a palace-museum
I played within but have no precious
recollections to cherish, precise
or otherwise — I finger the metal,
trying to melt into sleep, the better
to stay alive and sane, the better
to be not constant nor correct for all time
but often enough — just often enough,
just enough, often just, often adjusting —
you see how it is? Let me not
to the marriage of minds
deny the truth of impediments:
I am no compass, but I am the moss
that glows jewel-green on even mundane days
and coats the trees on trails,
a mute map through midnights.
Violence Suffocated a Father’s Poetry, but Not His Voice
The two passages that leapt out at me:
[After reading a poem about his murdered son,] Mr. Sicilia, one of the country’s most acclaimed poets, told those who had gathered that they had just heard the last poem he would ever write.
“Poetry doesn’t exist in me anymore,” he explained later in an interview.
He said he did not belong to any of the major political parties — “I am an anarchist, in the good sense of the word” — but had participated in demonstrations before, mostly for causes dear to the left. Until a few weeks ago, he did not even have a cellphone, but one now trilled incessantly as he made plans for the next step, including a caravan to Ciudad Juárez, the border city that is Mexico’s most violent, next month.
He admitted to being anguished that he had never received this kind of notice for his works.