Saturday, September 03, 2005

"I Always Wanted to Be Neruda"

I Always Wanted to Be Neruda

I always wanted to be
Neruda, fine-boned
and a lyre. It seems so
close and too far. Too
near the sea or somewhere
else distant as a bird's
calling, a toad croaking
unto sorrow (silly mucker
in the wait and wade), a wake
in the throat, all the chorus
married off or passed
on, on to the river, the
river that has never looked
so precious, all pewter
polish, hand-hewn heart
wood. Would I a willow
and a willow's charm I'd
rend you, try and trial, but
fishing until death, that hag's
head looming on the mid-way horizon
barren as an absent mother.
Do I do you this rest?
Do I bear?

I quest.
I quest.
I quest
and risk sounding stupid
as the elkhorn's holler,
some original sincerity
rising in the hollow,
sounds. Rising, in a musky
twist of fate, a bed. A bud.

I always wanted to be
Neruda, sing of the love
in an oaken barrel, in the barrel
of an anger situated after
birth, some mother of cloud
bank pressing its finger in
at the Gulf — Is it windy enough?
Were I with you enough
I'd be stripped to the looted
shelves, my entropy
holding fast, gripping as a
ring, a fitted suit, the fitting suit
and suite of a full house
singing — the wry wine
of Neruda in his shell
of a house, on his shell
of a coral island ridden
with shells and coral death
masks. To live amid
the litter, to love among
the drawl and coo. You, too,
a galaxy of indecision,
some Perseidean torrent
in a time. I always wanted
to be Neruda. Sing of love
and war. Wear my sombrero.
Back to the biting cacti. To be
scorpion to the cholla, the
tarantula nesting in the Century
juice in the stick and
the comfort, an ambassador
to the country of a loving name,
any pass, a port of call,
a rustling of this corazón
espinado. Listening. A
hummingbird's heart to the 9th
dimension, a poet of hope
and resistence, pride of sunflower
or the surprise of soft flesh
in the artichoke's heart. How
many hearts does it take
to make a core? Name this
and you have a poem. Live
this and you have a life. Love
this and you have a heart,
the heart of a poet, so many
times over — the bullets in the
gun, all the bills in the wallet
of war — an intervention but
no Pablo which never was
his real name. For real. A poet.
To have the ballot but not the poem. . .
To have the poet but not the home. . .

I never will be
Pablo Neruda.
But a poet, a woman's
bird chinking the links
of the cage, her revolving
loves winding down, ridden
unto river — winning the war
but never the song, the love,
the poem.

Lorna Dee Cervantes


Blogger gingerivers said...

Enjoyed this strong, clear voice.

4/9/05 09:46  

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