Boat Poem

A tender rendering of Jeronimo Whitemountain by Jade Carmen

Jeronimo Whitemountain is a grisly and tough old man whom I met at a fisherman bar in Seattle, which happens to be the grayest town on the west coast. He had just grabbed and thrown a man  by the collar of his shirt onto the floor, just after the man had poked fun at an accessory Jeronimo was wearing. The accessory he was wearing was the carcass of a wolf, from head to hind paw, which he fashioned as a shawl around his stout shoulders. Intrigued, I bought him a gin and asked him if he’d ever heard of Billy the Kid. We got to talking and after two more drinks he was spilling  his love  of Rimbaud into me. He told me of his years at sea and how most of his friends now sleep with the fish. I asked him if he ever considered writing a memoir about the ocean. He replied, ‘Memoirs are for pussies’  and after a few moments of silently staring into his empty glass, he said, ‘ I only ever wrote poetry and  I only ever loved Eleanor’. He then pulled out of a small briefcase a sheet of letter-stock with his name handsomely printed in royal blue ink on the top right corner. He held the sheet out for a moment in front of him, then handed it to me, rose from the barstool, and left without another word. As he bumblingly left the bar I noticed a thin stream of tears climbing down his face. I looked down at the faded sheet of letter-stock he had left me and this is what I read:

 

BOAT POEM/LETTER

For Eleanor From Jeronimo Whitemountain 

It’s strange, I know,
but sometimes I cherish the wind out here.
I consume my image of you, embracing its
grandeur in the pit of my stomach;
my salty dog-ette.
The wind growls some, its only folly being
the slight freeze that heckles the skin around
my trachea and turns the skin to
goose-flesh.

In the bowels of this sloop,
where my dollars are counted
in sea-life,
my waking hours prove a liminal  blur.
I recall a drunk January
with the stigma of snow…. &
we almost wound all the way down
into the icicle-ridden marina.

I remember always how un-remorseful
the sea can be
& falling in is forgetting everything,
toes gnawed on by the herring.
I wake up and reach for the shore
but it’s missing. I get up and tame my hungers
with a slim can of white-chunk tuna in water. That’s
all there is here.

I extend my heavy yearnings through
the sputter
of an aged udder. I know that I’m a hunter
only really visible in breaths but
I swear I’m still with you. I swear
over and over, rocking with this current
in twilights daze,
slaving to a net
slaving to a cage
slaving to a sinister crustacean.

Nestled between a crane and a cot
I imagine  myself a reptile
climbing up the mast
in reverence to your plea…
Ah, to crash into an
insurgence of leaves, burying
my frosty nose into your womanly pit;
this intrigues me, implementing
my scales on to yours. I will return soon,
a sack of marred bones, fiending a huddle
broken by sexual favors.
I will return more man than child.
I will return holding the dark waters
as my insufferable pet.

-j



A Night in Infierno…

…A rough memoir about my experience with the the Black Vine of Death.

Far away from my current confines, a cheap cafe where I’m bogged by coffee jitters but still droopy eyed; studying my own half-eaten soggy salad (a depressing pile of leaves most certainly better suited for some four-legged farm animal than for  young, carnivorous me); yes, far away from these Brooklyn doldrums, in a distant southern country known to weary entomologists for its sundry purple potatoes and to dusty historians for its ancient Incan gold, there lies a feral region of sanctified jungle mass known as “Mother of God”. Within Mother of God, there is a scarcely populated town known furtively as Hell (or Infierno, as the locals call it), and during the youthful haze of my 24th year I spent an unhinged October night there.

I came to this place after hitching a ride in a shabby car from a nearby motorcycle town called Puerto Maldonado, sardined in the back seat with a small band of ragged Peruvians and my future lover, Jade Carmen. I can still remember the swelter; the heat in Infierno, ubiquitous and dense, makes you feel as if you were wading through a pool of hot sticky mud or congealed sludge. As we stepped out of the Infierno Express, I remember noticing how we had accrued a thin veil of orange jungle dust over our sun-kissed faces, surely a result of spending the entirety of that tumultuous ride down rusty-dirt roads with our heads stuck out the windows like a couple of mangy mutts. I spent the next few moments brushing the dust from Jade Carmen’s elephantine eyelashes as the Infierno Express tore back down the road, engulfing itself in a whirlwind of orange dirt and disappearing into a syrup of heat.

We stood for a few moments at the edge of the road, dazed and dumbed by our Mother of God sun, then began marching towards our ultimate destination: the home of Don Ignacio, a shaman of mythic proportion known throughout the jungle for his brewing of the Black Vine of Death, alias Ayahuasca; alter-ego Yage; scientifically Banisteriopus Caapi. We shuffled ourselves across the skinny road and down a wide path that eventually led us to his dwellings. After a short while the path opened up to a plot of hard dirt ground studded sporadically with tufts of grass; we had entered his property, a flat and open area surrounded by looming trees that speckled the ground with diaphanous shade. And the way the sunlight broke through the leaves and branches, the illusion of a tremulous leopard skin rug was created.

We continued on like a pair of lethargic bears, our eyes bobbling in all directions as if they had been replaced with broken compasses. I habitually applied petroleum jelly to my lips with the dependency of a junkie; the tin in which it came bore the effigy of some saint and I liked that. We dragged on for another minute or so and came upon a tousled hut.

The dingy wooden structure was divided into two rooms: the room to the left was without a door and revealed a kitchen in much disarray; the room to the right was also without door, but rather, had a dark sheet hung over the entrance. We surmised this to be the bedroom. The porch was in a state of utter clutter; empty containers strewn about, portraits of presumable relatives hung up absentmindedly, heaps of various objects sitting in corners, and a table on which the top seemed to be a graveyard of melted candles and where sat a bare-chested, saggy-skinned man arduously sharpening a machete on a hunk of raw stone. Within his arms reach leaned a shotgun and beside that a widdled stick for which, as we later found out, the old man used in his finicky way to poke at chickens who wandered to close to the porch. A radio that looked like it was from the seventies with the volume turned up too loud sat next to the old man, emanating static spanish voices. I stared at Jade Carmen’s face as she assayed our shaman and his bachelor shanty and I could tell her curiosity paralleled my own.

We approached with caution, making sure not to frighten the old guy into reaching for his shotgun, shooting us dead right there in the middle of the jungle. He paid us no attention until our three-step ascendence up to his porch roused him from his machete work. His eyes were deep-set and beady little things that reminded me of peppercorns. He scanned us without wary and greeted us wordlessly, as though he’d been expecting our arrival all along. “Don Ignacio?” I asked, and he gave a slight nod. We sat down across from him and silence ensued as he sat there staring at us with ultra-weary eyes. It appeared to me like he hadn’t had a good nights sleep in weeks and I seem to remember noticing his head bobbing around slightly as if he were delirious, though It’s tangible I was delirious myself. I wondered about his age. He could’ve passed for a haggard 50, but after a closer study of his face, the canyon wrinkles and the crows feet spreading like wild weeds from the corners of his peppercorn eyes, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he was closer to 85.

I broke the silence by introducing our names. I told him we were from the United States and that we had sought him out to try Ayahusca. He hardly spoke, mostly just replying with the nod of his head. He never broke eye-contact with me but he never made eye-contact with Jade Carmen. We later pondered this and thought it strange, his aversion to her gaze. Perhaps he just felt uncomfortable around a beautiful woman.

He informed us that the ceremony would be held at eight o’clock that evening, during nightfall, in a hut across from his relegated specifically for ceremonial purposes pertaining to ayahuasca. It was one o’clock. We had some hours to kill. He raised himself from the table and ran his fingers through his soft, ashy hair. He led us off of the porch and to our guest quarters; another loosely built wooden structure, across from his, containing a pair of tenuous bed-frames and nothing else . He brought us a couple of wafer-thin mats to lay across the anatomy of our beds. He instructed us to rest and then gave us a banana-eating grin and shuffled out. His movements reminded me of an old and tired lizard.

We surveyed our encampment for the day; a nondescript wooden room with barren walls, complete with a collection of scurrilous spiders tucked into the rafters above. We stretched out supine across our diminutive beds, and as my head touched down upon a non-existant pillow, I noticed the carcass of one unlucky arachnid dangling like a somber pendulum directly above me.

In preparation for the ayahuasca we had fasted for a day, and the only thing that kept us from sleeping (aside from the unrelenting heat) was the roar of our own stomachs. They sounded like monster trucks dancing with thunder. Unable to sleep, we immersed ourselves in our respective books, both Nabakovs (mine, Ada; hers, Details of a Sunset; both, wondrous!). This kept our thoughts diverted from discomfort for about an hour, until the torrential combination of dense heat and inconsiderate insects drove us mad and out of our beds. With a handful of sun-drenched hours before the candle-lit vigil of our ayahuasca ceremony, we decided to meander around our surroundings and interrogate Hell, but the heat proved too fatal and we found ourselves back on our beds within the hour, sweating puddles.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon moving minimally, reposing in shade. We watched the flow of the Tambopata River,  perched on stumps at the back edge of the property. Piranhas deterred us from swimming. We gawked at chickens and watched butterflies, and when we were lucky, a Blue Morphus (morphus menolause) would float past our field of vision in a mesmerizing and dizzy line of flight, gracing us with its elusive and delightful presence.

As bewitching hour grew near, our Mother of God sun began her surreptitious descent into Hell’s horizon, painting the sky a beautiful array of sundry colors. The crystalline azure of the cloudless sky morphed into a fleshy-pink haze and then burned into a deep and glowing fusia. And as she dipped beyond view, the sky burst into a vast indigo streaked with golden beams of deteriorating light. This most brilliant of sunsets was soon swallowed up by darkness and the stars began to flicker into their nightly existence, signaling the orchestra of nocturnal beasts to begin their play.

It was nearing eight o’clock and our Mother of God night was in full disclosure. The colossal fireflies loomed above our heads, flying in swirly paths; flashing off and on. Jade Carmen said it was as if they were trying to disguise themselves as burning stars, and I smiled in the dark.

We decided it was time to usher ourselves into the ceremony hut and wait for Don Ignacio. The room was mostly bare with a small bed hiding in one of the corners. In the middle of the room lay two mats, parallel to each other. In front of them was a fold out chair, which we presumed was for the shaman. We sat like Indians and waited anxiously as Don Ignacio set things up. He wore no fancy headdress or tribal paint; just a pair of weathered shorts and his bare chest. After gathering a few small items for the ceremony (a rattle made of dried leaves, a hand rolled cigarette of black tobacco, and a two liter plastic bottle full of muddy looking liquid), he sat down in the chair facing us. The entire room was dark save for the light resonating from a single candle stuck to the ground in-between us and him. He took the cigarette to his lips and lit it with a match. After his initial pull, he stuck out the tip of his tongue and spit out bits of stray tobacco, which he continued doing throughout the duration of the cigarette. He reached down to his side and picked up the plastic bottle of muddy looking liquid; ayahuasca! After a brief and careful shake, he opened the bottle and filled up a mug. He examined the contents, took a drag of the black tobacco, and exhaled the smoke into the mug. He mumbled a few incomprehensible words into the concoction and then offered it to me. “Ralph”, he said, and nodded for me to accept the drink. It tasted like the primordial roots of the earth, steeped and simmered in mud for an eternity; it was thick and sludgy like the heat; it was Mother Earth’s bile. I drank it down in three large gulps and passed the mug back, wincing. He repeated the cigarette blessing and handed the mug to Jade Carmen. She swallowed it down in two gulps, like it was cranberry juice, without expressing the slightest bit of disgust. Don Ignacio then helped himself to a to a drink; The Great Ayahuasca Swiller.

Then we sat, fat with silence, our faces illuminated by the lone light of the of the dancing candle flame. My stomach felt like a blimp. My field of vision began to sway; I felt like I was on a boat. The candle light began growing more and more resplendent with every passing minute. And then, without warning, Don Ignacio licked his index finger and thumb and pinched out the flame, completely inundating us in total darkness; complete black.

As soon as the light was out, with my sense of sight severed, the volume of our surroundings was instantly blasted up. Mother of God blared her feral reveille and all at once I was aware of every creature of the night , like they had all come together in revery and begun their crashing symphony at the same time. A million hums and buzzes, shrieks and howls, whistles and hoots and croaks; every noise infiltrated my eardrums, reverberating and bouncing around the boundaries of my skull like a million electric ping-pong balls. I couldn’t t tell if what I was hearing was really real or if it was just my cracking minds own invention. I surrendered myself to absurdity, letting all of the intrinsic parts of my sane consciousness melt away. And then, as a relentless cicada echoed inside one ear and a pale-feathered nun bird serenaded the other, my visions of ayahuasca began.

They started out like calm waves. The blackness that lay before me narrowed and I began to drift like a buzzing blue aerolite through a hallway in space. And as I floated weightlessly, not knowing exactly if my eyes were open or closed, a series of glowing, geometric patterns began raiding my field of vision; flash-flooding the darkness in torrents of schizophrenic sequences. A kind of subconscious kaleidoscope projected across an infinite silver-screen. But the tremendous and perpetual kaleidoscope was not just limited to shapes and abstractions, for the patterns were also made up of semblance’s: neon indians shooting snakes from bows into ancient horizons; endless lines of holy horses radiating white light and galloping, entranced, to the whip-lashed edges of my eyes; motorcycles gliding; bouquets of yellow moccasin flowers bursting into flurries of phosphorescent butterfly petals; unknown divinities pulsating in and out of sight like fountains of dying stars; an arabesque of belly dancing courtesans and aquiline sword-fighters, diamonds and decayed monuments; everything washed in shimmer and brilliant in hue; and above it all, in the upper-right corner of my peripherals, my Pachamama; my Mother Earth, watching over me, protecting me. She took the form of a nimbused peacock perched on the Mother of God sun, her plumage emanating glory and aw and pouring from her tail like a mystic snow. And as her feathers poured down in an endless stream, they touched my face, cleansing my skin with an occult wash that had me tingling to the core like some super-active dynamo of the flesh.

As I sat watching the picture show that my Pachamama stoically orchestrated from the pulpit of her sun, my body recoiled into the depths of an imagined moon-bath. And then the purge: I turned my head and threw-up everything foul inside me; every trace of festering toxic that plagued my innards came out on a few brute waves of ayahuasca, shooting out of my mouth like a fire-hose into a plastic bowl. Catharsis begun. Twenty seconds after I finished throwing up sludge, I heard the purge of Jade Carmen, violent and eternal. It sounded as though she were dying.

I laid back and propped myself up on my elbows. Once again, I found myself a blue aerolite drifting through a hallway in space. But this didn’t last long. All of a sudden I became aware of a rattle. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from but it was always close by. It sped up and made my eyes vibrate and narrow; it slowed down and everything seemed underwater. And then a warbling voice began chanting; The Black Vine of Death Song! Don Ignacio sung it in a heavy, gurgling, vibrato which added to the underwater effect. It was warm and healing, softened by time like an old leather glove. His language was alien to us, but somehow still seemed to make sense. The song sucked me into its portal and ran it’s fingers through my hair. As I laid back, calmed and hypnotized, a new series of hallucinations began. My life- its past, its present, its players, its events, its accidents, its triumphs, its trivial nonsense- all of it, began cycling before me like cloudy scenes from an old super-8 film. It happened like this: a frame would appear, at random, depicting some aspect of my past or present or even future life. It would float there in front of me, wavering like a flag, giving me time to inspect it and figure it out as if it were a puzzle. But they were always fleeting and would dissipate like smoke whether I was or wasn’t finished ruminating on them. They continued flashing before me in a vivid succession of forgotten and familiar dreams and realities. Some of them made me laugh maniacally; others evoked sad tears and made me weep.

As the ceremony continued, Don Ignacio continued his warbling chants until the effects of the ayahuasca began to slowly taper off. The visions eventually seized completely and we were left drained and weak. We fell asleep, there on the floor, and dreamt nothing. We slept for unknown hours in pure sleep and regeneration, and awoke at dawn. During the night, a runt puppy had made its way into the hut and curled up with Jade Carmen as she slept. We played with the little stray upon waking and then made our way outside, leaving it sleeping in a puddle of blankets.

We walked to where we could see the river, both of us in a tacit equilibrium with ourselves and everything around us. We didn’t speak; there was no need.

As the sun bloomed into the sky, we returned to our camp. We saw Don Ignacio returning to his porch with his shotgun slung over his shoulder; he’d already been out hunting that morning. He gave us tea and we all drank in silence. After tea we thanked him and began making our way to the road that had initially brought us there. We waited for 15 minutes at the side of the road and were picked up by a car headed for Puerto Maldonado. There was no room up front so we hopped in the hatch-back trunk. We returned from hell in a trunk! Upon arriving to town, we walked straight into a cafe, where we proceeded to order two sandwiches, two orders of scrambled eggs with bacon, causa, potatoes, two mango juices, two coffees, bread and butter and a wedge of cake– we finished it all and smiled at each other like bad kids, and the waitress looked at us like we were young godheads.


Sarita Loquita De Infierno

Sarita Loquita de Infierno is the pseudonym of a woman I came across in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. On the verge of suffering a scurrilous heat stroke, I blindly stumbled into her ice cream shop on the corner of some dusty avenue. She instantly noticed my dazed and pale demeanor and rushed over, sitting me down in a dirty-white, plastic lawn chair. She then proceeded to nurse me back to health with a combination of dried coca leaves (which she procured from her bra and insist I chew) and papaya ice cream, quite a wondrous combination, have you ever the chance to try. She sat across from me, reciting from memory poems by Peru’s patron saint of poetry, Caesar Vallejo. Her voice was was soft as summer’s clouds and in listening to it recite these beautiful lines, I slowly began to convalesce, all the while her her two-year old son surreptitiously watching from around the corner of the ice cream cooler. Whenever Sarita would get up to help a customer, I would sneak funny and putrid faces at her little boy, who gazed back with wide and terrified eyes. I finally did manage to rob him of a smile with one particular dog-like face and then we were friends. He let me drag him around the shop on a little piece of scrap cardboard, laughing maniacally like only a child of his age can get away with. Sarita watched us play from behind the ice cream cooler, standing akimbo and smiling with her strawberry lips. I could tell by the way I kept catching her glowing glances that she liked me and I’m sure I could have made her purr like a docile kitten had I not been already yearning after another.
I sat back down on the lawn chair, and she joined me, this time seating herself on my lap. Her son (whose name I learned was Keith Richards Garcia! Ha! Brilliant!) watched with innocent eyes as his mother began smooching on my neck. Not in the mood for this type of behavior, I craned my neck away from her vulturous lips and asked her if she wrote poetry herself. Instantly, her eyes lit up like a couple of fireflies and she scurried into another room and returned with more ice cream and a sheet of loose-leaf paper with which a poem had been typed upon with her Olivetti typewriter that she kept in the back. With her summer-soft voice she recited a cute poem about her son, Keith Richards Garcia. What follows is a translation of her poem.

KING

Keith Richards Garcia, my Kafka of la selva
Little golden raisin-
My radiant son….

I birthed you in a pickle
While thirsting in a distant
And northern dessert.
I held hands only with the
Dehydrated stars,

We must have looked like
Eels out of water
Or mud-sharks.

I pushed you out
With a lizards tear
Descending the trellis
Of my cheekbone,

A cheekbone that you will inherit.

When you finally plopped out,
The indians thought you
Nothing more than a tumbleweed,
For you were premature and
Rolled out like a rustling sphere

Of wheat stalks.

I considered placing you back inside
My womb
To roast a little longer

But the witch doctor wouldn’t have it.
Instead, she blew a cloud of black
Tobacco smoke into my organ,
As if it were a ceremonial chalice.

In the coming days
Your eyes blossomed open
and I knew what the Indians
Said was true: you were
A miracle child.

You have changed me;
Here I am! Selling ice cream
In this stuffy coffer of a shop and
Sleeping with strange men
So your life will be blessed
And well dressed.

We run with felines and
Fly with cicadas,
You and your mom,
and one day you will be king

Holding me in your arms
And feeding papaya ice cream
To my gyspy lips.


Cajamarcan Minamalist Poet

Dear Shelter,

I’m waiting for a bus in Cajamarca right now with Saige. That bus will take us to Lima, a city where the smog and exhaust is so prevolent that it has stained everything from the white-wash on buildings to the fur on the stray city dogs that shit freely in the middle of busy streets downtown. It’s that bad, in a good way. From Lima, we’ll be heading to the Amazonian state called Madre de Dios (Mother of God) to further our Peruvian divigations into the jungle, where we’ll risk catching yellow fever (having failed to get the shots) and go pirhanna fishing in green rivers with banana captains.

In Cajamarca I met a native (albeit in dreams) who called himself Juan Ramon and recited  strange poems. He called himself a minamalist and didn’t believe in writing things on paper. He whinced when I showed him a pencil. I think he may have been a lunatic. Here is a reciting I have translated from dead memory, it’s not good but it’s something.

Dinner Party

What if you served this at a dinner party?

Let me think about it……

It’s kinda like trying to shave with a banana peel.

Green wine projectiled on the wall and if asked what the stain resembles

 I reply:

Saint Apolonia on the steps of a butterfly dive.

 


Masturbation Confessional

Confess your masturbatory sins tonight at the Shelter Catholic Guilt party!!! Caitlin and I will be your priests. Get nasty. We will also be taking photos.

 

        Walking the One-Eyed Dog

                          for Caitlin Enwright –  “I’m all dried up.” 

 

Masturbation*
Masturbation is
Masturbation is gratitude
Masturbation is perfect
Masturbation is hiccups
Masturbation is dead
Masturbation is insurance payoff
Masturbation is worship
Masturbation is libation
Masturbation is God
Masturbation is A Very Pretty Girl
Masturbation is dressing up like the mailman
Masturbation is putting mayo on the knuckle sandwich

Masturbation is a dog we picked up
From the pound. A pure-bred Greyhound
With bulging ribs and a broken leg and
99 problems t’boot. He even had a poked out
Eye from a teenage fight. But we
Took him in and fed him all our scraps
Until he wasn’t a pitiful runt no more. Now,
Masturbation is one of us. Some even say
Masturbation saved our family.
Masturbation gave us something to want.
Masturbation brought us closer together.
Masturbation was sent from above.
Masturbation made us new…..

*masturbation is walking the one-eyed dog.


Redneck Bedtime Stories #1

Beau Jefferson Cash on the left.

I will be searching for awesome, trashy-tinged, American poems for a series of posts called Redneck Bedtime Stories. The inaugural poem for this series is by poet Beau Jefferson Cash (1966-2001). Not much is known about him. He was born just outside Hannibal, Missouri and spent most of his life there. He studied literature, albeit briefly, at Arkansas State University before dropping out due to homesickness. He married a 16 year old girl from his hometown when he was thirty in a backyard ceremony that the state never recognized as legit, though they lived together for the five years following their “marriage” until his death at just age 35. For reasons that remain unknown, he jumped off the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge on April 2nd with a bolder tied to his ankle and the name “Casanova” painted in white on the boulder (April 2nd is Casanovas birthday, and if you don’t believe me ask Raton Rose! Ha!). Anyway, here is a poem:

IMAGE

When I was a kid
Summers were hotter than death;
My lips were all morose and plum purple,
But still palpable at that.

When I was a kid I’d leave a few prayers
Under the bed and sometimes an egg too
Or a voodoo doll with two kernels for eyes
Secretly hoping some illuminated demigod
Emanating Robert E. Lee through Arabian rags
Would come by one demilune moon night
And fertilize these things, making them capable of life
And brotherhood, a real, malleable friend;
I would’ve named him ” Little Haunches”
And we would’ve experimented at night.

When I was a kid I’d hide in the thicket near the Little River
Watching the kids from town fuck on the cool evening rocks.
I never jeered at them for fear of being discovered, chased,
And then killed.

When I was a kid my dad had a ’76 Ford F250
And he could run over any dear ripe deer in his vision.
He’d say three Hail Mary Queens over the carcass
And then cut off the head, always with the same bowie knife
He used to peel his apples.
When the head was properly sequestered,
He’d toss it to me and Confederate Chris, his two cute scavengers,
For something to play with for the rest of the afternoon.

When I was a kid I’d wear the dead deers’ heads
On top of mine own and walk to outside of Jolene’s house,
Where I wasn’t allowed into, and
Hover beneath her window to listen to her
REM moans. I touched myself and tasted deer blood for her
But we never kissed though.

When I was a kid I only kissed my cousins and
We were barefoot and best friends too!
Confederate Chris would take turns also, for
His spittle was, for some reason, intrinsic with ours.

When I was a kid I was always burnt and taciturn,
I swam with chicken bones between my teeth
And the other parents said I was a danger, a defiler,
Redolent of a sinners sweat and ham-hocks,
The nighttime always nipping at my achilles,
Like an old yellow bitch.

m


I SINNER


The "anti-poet" circa 1939

I have discovered a poem, I Sinner, by the Chillean “anti-poet”, Nicanor Parra (1914-20??), who sought to reject the belief that verse holds any mystical power. This man is good. Read him.   -m

I Sinner

I imperfect gentleman
I dancer at the abyss’s edge,

I obscene sacristan
Prodigal child of dumpsters,

I nephew – I grandson
I thick-soled confabulator,

I lord of the flies
I quarterer of swallows,

I football player
I swimmer of Estero las Toscas,

I defiler of tombs
I mumps-sick satan,

I remiss conscript
I citizen with voting rights,

I devil’s shepherd
I boxer beat by my shadow,

I distinguished drinker
I priest of the good table,

I cueca champion,
I absolute tango champion,
Guaracha, rumba, waltz champion,

I protestant pastor
I prawn, I family father,

I petty bourgeois
I professor of occult sciences,

I communist, I conservative
I compiler of old saints,

(I luxury tourist)

I chicken thief
I dancer immobile in the air,

I maskless executioner
I egyptian demigod with the head of a bird,

I on my feet on a cardboard rock:

Let there be mists,
Let there be chaos,
let there be clouds,

I born delinquent
Surprised in flagrante,

Stealing flowers in the moonlight
I ask forgiveness left & right & center
But I do not declare myself guilty.