A poem from "Fear of Moving Water". The poem won honorable mention for the 2005 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize.
I plan on posting these on a regular basis - kind of a drip-feed virtual poetry reading. This way, you don't have to leave home and sit in a noisy coffee-house, you don't have to sit through the open-mic and the sales-pitches - and if you don't like it - well, you can get up and leave any time you like and nobody will think you're being rude - or you can curse loudly and say what you really think about it. I also don't have to drive from town to town peddling my wares. Doesn't that sound like a perfect model for a poetry reading?
I thought so too. The podcast lasts a little over a minute - here's the link - just click.
Dreaming in Gethsemane
Then one of the criminals who were hanged
blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ,
save Yourself and us." (Luke 23:39)
He dreams of undiscovered Cuba or El Salvador,
their seductive anonymity and promise
of disease. He will evaporate slowly there,
one breath at a time, and watch the paint of his life
dry on some colonial wall. He will hang
suspended from a rope swing, wearing his empty
hat, and watch thin fingers of cloud drop
a red ball into a noiseless ocean. He will feed
the starving appetites of youth again, taste the moon
on his tongue, feel the stars swell in his belly.
In the local baro, swarming with late-afternoon
barflies and sunlit dust, the men who huddle
in corners will invent the colors of his past,
and talk in whispers of this dark-skinned gringo
who has caused Don Sibrento’s widow to eat guava
again. Together, they will rewrite the history of love
on a grain of sand, and talk of their lives in future
tenses. His heart will swell again, bigger than any saint’s,
and when he passes, the people of the village
will throw black roses from the graveside.
They will compose songs of youth in his honor,
and name a feast-day for him, and in time
his memory will fade and mingle with the dust
that blows into the eyes of children and cattle,
and no-one but Dona Sibrento will recall his name.
Causes Alex Grant Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center