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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chronicles of Oblivia, pt 1

Rodent-infested altiplanos
of the commonweal,
monotonous and breath-taking!

The keels of our warships
lick at their salt-basins
and tomorrow, we say, the Pacific
will wash the dirt from our feet.

I naturalize the word
enclaustramiento in English,
the straitjacket of the open
plains and no horizon in sight.

O patria mia:
for proof of agreeableness
see national anthem, stanzas
one through four and six through eight.

O patria mia:
bought and sold for the price
of a few copper mines
and Indian trinkets,

a retired maestro
of our border skirmishes
wiping the blood
from his moustache

this fine morning
over a madeleine
in the Café Excrucior.

The ten réis coin
he presses into the waiter’s hand
is adorned with the national flatfish,

goggle-eyed and delicious.
Where there is salt is no water
and where there is water no salt.

The tide’s roar rises
to deafening on my ear-drum
but my boots stay dry.

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