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Tag: Creative Writing

La Recoleta

Convinced of impermanence
by these noble declarations of dust,
we stop and quiet our voices
among the rows of mausoleums,
their rhetoric of shadow and marble
a promise of what we desire:
the dignity of death.
Beautiful are the graves,
the naked inscriptions and death dates,
the interplay of flowers and stone,
the courtyards, cool and reposed,
and the many yesterdays of the past
today fixed and unique.
We confuse this peace with death,
longing for the end,
when what we truly desire is sleep and indifference.
Vibrant in arms and in passions
and slumbering in the ivy,
only life exists.
Its forms are space and time,
magic instruments of the soul,
and when it ceases to exist,
space, time, and death will also cease,
just as the darkness of midnight
annihilates the mirror's simulacrum,
which the dusk had already begun to erode.
In the benign shade of the trees,
the wind alive with birds and rustling branches,
souls pass into other souls,
impossible that they should cease to be,
an incomprehensible miracle,
and yet its repetition
insults our days with horror.
Such were my thoughts in la Recoleta,
in the final place of my ashes.

Translated from the Spanish of Jorge Luis Borges.


Unemployed Fragments

Footbridge over creek, pond-formed dam.
No. The reverse---
turned inside out again.

Wait to hear what can be heard.

An ice-cream truck roving distant neighborhood,
the tack tack tack of beak on bark, and then
sudden snort of a dog ("adda boy!") eating dust.
Late morning with the boy (the elder)
"Fifth and Seventieth" just read, he's digging
animal facts---what they eat
the size of their teeth.

Last day for freedom. Tomorrow knowledge.
Diamond painting the marvel
universe---table top & tools of the trade.

The boy (the younger) in panic:
"Oh no! they didn't give me enough bags!"

Window open breeze
flushing strong
incense through the room.
Impossible not to see (these streets
sleeping rough under Congress w/ neon
crowd out for weekend run and I
a saunter) the bright sigh of earth---
Mid-morning speech
sleeping bats, dreaming of flight and insect
feast--- drainage from street to Colorado.

in the darkness

A squeal.
A squeak.
Hours left to sleep---
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Unemployed Fragments

Feelings of exhaustion
passed person to person

ears clogged and Advil PM
a condition
only lying prone can fix
New vision --- a hawk
still, asleep in the tree

a truck idles nearby

no movement, no hawk
my eye - it misunderstands the shape it sees

And then a dove, as if from mist . . .
Gnats amuck in my keyboard
seeking refuge, a place to nest

in this tangle of silicone & light
A cardinal, confident in the brown of its feathers
leaps from mirror to mirror

A moment, a fraction ---
and then up and out and back
The water black at dawn, a diadem:
stars die in the light.

The chirp of the frog. The hiss of the owl.

Open your mouth.
Take in a breath --- and out
of all things gold.
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It’s Best to Die in a Warm Bed

You have to ask yourself, what’s the point of killing? What’s at stake?

They sat behind mirrored glass, watching pedestrians scuttle by through faded brush-stroke letters. They sat, legs crossed, drinking a strong blend.

Ask yourself, how will your life change?


Or death. Consider how your death will change.

He flipped a cigarette onto his lip and struck his lighter. It was tarnished brass, descended from a grandfather killed in war. He refilled it every month. Wiped it clean, but never polished. He touched the end of the cigarette to the bouncing flame.

Aren’t you planning your death yet?


Sure you are. Think. Smoke curled around his swollen, dimpled nose. Everything you’re about is gearing up for the end. You wanna lay peaceful and warm when you die. Maybe nibble at a little soup. You know that. There’s nothing romantic about getting shot down.

Nobody is going to shoot me down. I don’t even own a gun.

You don’t need a gun to be shot down. Think for a minute.

Well, the other said, leaning into his coffee. He slurped. Nobody is going to shoot me. And I’m not planning my death yet.

There’s no glory in dying bloody. You know that. It’s best to die in a warm bed. Somewhere familiar. Somewhere private. You don’t want strangers watching.

They sat a moment and peered out at the street. People rushed along, their faces blurred by rain. The storm had been rolling in for days, in off the ocean.

He was hungry, but it wasn’t time. He would wait until dark, and then he would gorge himself. Cantonese noodles, pepperoni calzones, fish and chips, steaming meats from sidewalk vendors, meatball subs, corned beef and sour kraut on rye, mixed plates from the international buffet, olives and cheese and wine, hotdogs and hamburgers, lamb skewers, spinach pie, curried chicken, California rolls, jerked pork, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, Korean barbecue, double fudge brownies and ice cream. Maybe even a couple of Romeo y Julieta’s and a bottle of Colt 45.

But now, with the storm draped across the afternoon, it was unfiltered cigarettes and strong coffee.

He nudged the other and grinned. I know what you’re thinking. When I was young, before things were so good, I used to ride the rails with a man who killed.

I’m not going to kill. I don’t even own a gun.

You don’t need a gun. You know that. He beat them. He choked them dead.

The other crossed his arms and stared out at the rain.

He would sneak up on them and beat them so they couldn’t get up. I remember it so well. And then he’d choke them.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve got nothing to do with that.

Yes you do. Because like you, he wasn’t planning either.

Nobody plans for death. It just gets you.

Not so. We’re all planning. It’s just that people like you don’t know what they’re planning for.

He took a final drag on his cigarette and dropped it into his coffee. Ain’t that something? He’d choke them dead.

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Unemployed Fragments

How to explain the nothing feeling
of early morning drive to school?

Still dark in the sky
the boy takes a stand on Hawking's particle (the elder)
and how all black holes are doomed to evaporate.

The other one -- the younger -- silent throughout
the arrival . . .
Old Argos
dying on a heap of dung
your nose once aflame for prey

Odysseus has returned at last
after twenty years away
Allen took a trip down South
hoping for shamans/ god-death visions
and the expansion of his mind

But found instead... an anteater
nosing the wall, its enclosure
---Santiago Zoo
two woodpeckers and a hawk
six turtles lazing in the sun

tacos and tap water from the market we passed along the way

I see transparent minnows
swimming against the current
and a lost pencil -- (how here?) --
babbling down the rocks . . .

Minnows don't care
woodpeckers and hawk don't care
turtles at rest in the sun---

both boys off for more
tacos down Copperfield Trail.
cold morning/ central Texas
snow now melting
a likelihood of summer
by end of day
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Unemployed Fragments

Game day. Cool. Blues sky.
A headline in the New York Times

"For better or worse, Trump will get his favorite things
on Super Bowl Sunday"
Christmas on Earth 1963:

When the music was good
people danced in full
body paint and top hats
At home with the boy yesterday
the elder

Such comfort -- under the blanket
with cartoons on the television

a parent close at hand
Dirty dishes and drums roll
through keys and brass

Books lie waiting--- thoughts
of sunflowers and California markets
decades past

House of the Lord
in stone-clad storefront

flecked skin of industry
bleeding into patchwork
of unified floor plans
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Good Morning, Sunshine, It’s Minority Rule! (DNI Edition)

February 20, 2020

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