June-August 2012

Spanning the decades of the 1960s, 1970s, and the early 1980s, an aesthetic movement, Magic Realism, captured the hearts and minds of Latin American artists. Two Colombians, Fernando Botero, a painter, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a writer who consequently won a Nobel Prize for Literature, were icons of the times.

I’d like to believe that these poems were touched by such magic. Not because I consciously copied its style or contents, but because my real world was one of fantastic contradictions. “Long Odds On a Dwarf” was started while I was living in Mexico; finished after moving to Brazil. “Rogue Route” and “Sightseeing Over Scandinavia” were written in Brazil.


Long Odds On a Dwarf


Ditched in a dungeon
the dwarf looks lowly.
Litter rats
see him as leftovers.
They pick his toes
while  the candle dwindles.

His horizon couldn’t loom much lower:
a small window watches over him.
Bars top it.
Only a little light
fits in between.

Below a tight grate
crumbs show up.
Sometimes a wet sponge.
What isn’t dished out
is the key he keeps
raving about.

Downheartedly, the dwarf
wonders if he’ll
ever face
a sky again.
His shortcomings
have raised the odds
against it.
Every day, they
grow longer and longer
until, eventually,
even their ceiling’ll
be reached,
albeit when
he’s done in.

First published in Warrior Poet


Sightseeing Over Scandinavia


Not a road around.
Nor telephone poles.
Just deep green miles
of  pines…

Dirigibles make our pursuit
of transcendental truth
a moving experience.
We can cover lots of ground
while floating around, day
after day, at the same height
as any horizon.

Scandinavian forests are supposed
to be full of dwarfs.
So far we haven’t seen any;
only herds of reindeer,
and a preying wolf.

We’re heading towards the sea,
looking forward to the coastline
for a change of place.
There’s where the fjords are, and
maybe a mermaid.
Before running out of tides
or into unfair weather, we’ll
hover over each beach,
searching for a lagoon
that shimmers, sounds like
it’s singing.

Rogue Route


Goodbye, old gestalt
the  groom is getting away, out
of  his coronet, head  turned to wonder
after a rogue rider
who has convincingly stomped into no matter
his mind  field of inertia.

So, if it’s on these grounds–
that only a clone
has an inside chance
of a like motif,
then he’s already in the running.

What  a moving pair they’ll make,
now that wishful thinking’s coming along:
The more he imagines, the better off
his latest standing–
as much an eager dreamer
as a peerless pursuer.

Still, he faces an obstinate course, whereupon
high hopes, after sparking a heart start,
may be reaching a low-down.
His onglowing approach should show him
reflecting, beyond fire sighted eyes
about the blazen way he’s opted
for leaping out of a known circuit
into almost a stranger’s.

Further mulling over splits brainwaves
between contending peaks & valleys
featuring, all along, the rogue rider.
His idea of  progress, then,
should concentrate on staying
in sync, neither being sidetracked
by lighter or darker moments,
nor entertaining any motion
that  holds pondering  pointless.
He should be banking
on a learning curve becoming
a complete circle
once  it reaches a litmus ending.
True blue’s the test
in measuring  togetherness, like the sky’s
outlook after a storm,
though the match may be baseless, maybe not.

Likewise, by the last lap,
the  horizon could yield  another mixed reaction:
A spectrum of spectators–
friends, family, even neighbors–
those who’ve always been close,
begin looking away, which,
more than any mirror,
should reveal how they’ve lost track of him.
For them, a grown man
going around flogging a lasso
isn’t all there.
As for him, he’s out on a round trip,
soul searching in stride,
waving when the occasion arises.

First Published in The Montserrat Review 

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