Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Land of Failed Fathers

I’ve known men, I swear,

Whose children tended toward honor.

Gringo men, with frozen hips,

Genetic enemies of tropical moves.

Well, maybe I lie. Probably they were

Really Latinos, holding the hand

Of a golden child on a tropical sidewalk.

A child, straining upward, so proud of her meaningless father.

What is it that goes wrong

Just north of here? What makes

The same child in northern version

So indifferent? So Jesus I don’t need you cold?

A few degrees of latitude and things go to hell.

When I die, I think, you’ll miss me

But the truth is to the north.

The truth is no, not, never, in this life.

I never got your approval, was never

Good enough. But you were, I insist.

There are geraniums above on the balconies

And heaven somewhere above those.

And there, maybe there, I will dance for you

Hips loosened as if by surgery. Heart open

As if I could fly to that iron-railed balcony

Or beyond. Or above. In some circular flight.

But meanwhile, I am tied to this dream of tropical life…

Friday, July 2, 2010

When I learned that I had died

I had been missing for years.
That was my plan discovered so late in life.
My children were children at the time.
Indifferent in that modern way.

And then I felt the cold floating
Over things that had belonged to me.
Things that looked so different from above
That they were hard to recognize.

The clay tile roof that I had only seen from the ground
The top of my blue Toyota on a cracked strip of driveway.
The lush mango tree, its trunk hidden forever.
The lighted swimming pool next door.

Only the dead see things from this odd angle
And it takes a moment (are there moments here?)
To sort out what it means. The dog seems to know
And watches curiously me as I hover.

My children will be shaken from their indifference.
They might even scream, though I don’t know what I can hear.
I want just a minute more to explain my absence
But as was in my life, I don’t seem capable of sound.