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Issue 19, Poesía | September 2016

     

A Week’s Reading of the Newspaper

—April 30, 2016

Colonel Richthosen sucking sauce off ribs
worries that the condor’s blue shadow 
is on his ceiling again, snippets 
of morphine broken on the floor 
with the dead carpenter’s bare light bulb
showing images of luftwaffe plucking 
from the firestorm the very lungs 
of the children of Guernica—   then, of course,
Picasso in gaslight smuggling gold 
for the Germans.
Paint ain’t costly, Ma, is it? 
One potato, two potato, three…
Ma?
Xi’s homage to Mao is an eccentricity! 
Ma? 
The shadows of the camels on the mud wall 
suggested sea monsters to my daughter—
James Baldwin telling her this is a certain predictor 
of a future violence. He was seen
eating soiled carrots in Provence. (The smoke of gernika
leaving his very precise ears.) Suddenly in the overview, a red ceiling
fan and a pig reading a catalog 
reminds my daughter of the polar bear 
eating a vanilla ice cream cone 
on a slowly watched train. 
The bear is a wax effigy with a spasmodic 
inner radiance, its stained 
ass is like cubes of ice in a glass of scotch. 
Richthosen sipping there! 
It is of course tragic that my daughter
and I have spoken twice in five months. The giant
Virgin in Piero’s scarlet cassock, 
wings spread, 
balancing a bowl of grapes
on her head. In Rimini,
they think nothing of noble solids of geometry
detailing a woman who squats to pee …
a fair-skinned boy, Piero remarked, is leading the darkness
down the long hall, all four hands also
very white and small. 
Piero saying it is something 
I can never forgive my father for having done.
Something he shouldn’t have, not
to his own son. Then
there is a detail that is missing…
one potato, two potato, Ma.
A Week’s Reading of the Newspaper