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December 20, 2000


The tidy man puts down his banner

square on sidewalk stone, and places

on the cloth his exhausted frame. He sleeps

between DEMANDS. The man beside his men requires

water and soil from the gobernadores, a decent

measure of corn, chickens and tortillas.

Around his shut eyes day shines bright, traffic

finds another route; there's water someone pours.


I'm watching Popo bleed, scarlet pouring

neck to vest, he's coughing stones. Easy

to suppose he's a dark man stabbed

one pointless night along an alley cadging

restaurant leftovers but he’s not the victim.

It's a mere volcano, careless for whomever

flees or sleeps overtaken by his roiling

blood or mud released from snow across the slope.


Staring children wait while drag-ass parents

on the sidewalk, on neat colonial stones

play accordion and marimba tunes and shake a cup.

I have no conscience. I'm not rich, merely

comfortable. I never lie on the sidewalk I don't

squat upon a banner in the sun-whacked air.

While Popo bleeds I listen on my sofa cushion

to buried groans and admire the scarlet wounds.


I have enough but I lack DEMANDS. Perhaps

in me no darkness melts with blood, no stones

heave like ruptured hearts, nobody plays

a musical marimba. I spent my begging cup, no

children juggle at my feet their empty bowls.

I have enough. But crowded, the sidewalk declines

to offer me a stage upon which I might disrobe,

politely declines to rise and meet my tired knees.

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