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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