What We Talk About
when we talk about tejones:
trauma survivors, yes, but man oh
man – him. But this is not the place
to go into that and the bare telling
would not be a telling, removed
from the ifs and buts; the tejón
the damned tejón – got into his sugar.
That’s why there’s no sugar for
coffee. He didn’t eat all of it, he says,
but he was in it, and I mean, I knew
you didn’t want no tejón-licked sugar.
The tejón: grunts and snorts
and sleeps in elevated places
and, like us, walks
plantigrade: which means
what’s left when you take away
the crutches, and how
to do this simply
using both of them.
but if you call me that
you have to say it
with a hillbilly twang
as though coon or coot or billy
cart hound-dog gator.
Well, J.M. –
you’re not that
with your rumpled feathers
tortoiseshell in your chair until
you lift your wings, up
and then you are a macaw
plunging through the jungle pass
with blue-topped wings
and trailing yellow
blaze, and how
you tell me, it’s a big world
out there; you don’t know that yet
the drugs they don’t tell you that
but J.M., she does, she does.
But Let’s Talk About
Avernus, Mephites, entrance to Hades
putrefaction in the feathers
melanosis in the feet
the light bringer, the dawn star
the energy in the match head
this smells contradiction:
in gunmetal grey
shoe polish on chrome
a Molotov cocktail
and beyond: Santorini truck
garrafones; cap wrappers
sapphire and prismatic pigeons’ wings.
I went through there once
on the train. It was shimmering
palace and palm and
bright and jutting and
I wanted to stop; why didn’t I?
Why don’t we stop? Because
we are going somewhere else like to
San Luis Obispo? the horseshoe
curve, or hellbent on
San Francisco, Portland,
Santa Barbara B.:
just come from the Malecón
it’s a shit way to live; it’s
embarrassing – but someone
gave him bread and milk
he shows us the bag
best drink that
says Monterrey P.;
else the heat. In the container
like us in our chairs, Sello Rojo
one liter, grey sweat thrums
down the side and the bread loaf
a snapped arm, he was, of course
that other wino wearing your shirt
bear shirt, bear slouch, bear skin
bare grey: When I was using crack
then I had a reason
to get up you know?
Now with just the booze
I can’t get it. A couple of days
sober, and then what?
What is there for me?
I apologize for saying it, but I feel
like such a motherfucker, you know?
Such a motherfucker.
Santa Barbara B. (and in his own way):
he does, he does.
Rose Hunter was born in Australia, lived in Canada for ten years, and then, after various stops along the way, settled in Mexico. She is the author of to the river, a book of poems that reads, as her publisher, Artistically Declined Press, puts it, “like a travelogue in verse.” You can find numerous links to her work online via her website/blog, Whoever Brought Me Here Will Have to Take Me Home. She is the editor of YB, an online poetry journal.
what a great treatment for these poems, and what stirring poems. well done all the way around!