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Lamentations in Times of Peace qnd War
by JOSÈ TIRADO
Part 1. American Snapshots: The Blinking Lost
On Sundays, the drive-by church frenzy awakens
evangelical Jesus diving, divining, dying to save,
desperate to stop one otherwise metastasizing idea
lurking in the background of tongue talking, hop-skip dancing services-
to sneak out and dream celebrity dreams.
Here, Wal-Mart thin pastry shell patriotism possesses
dying towns tightly along with the dead who still live there.
Meanwhile, plentiful are sermons for a worn-down nations´
pimped-up ride to Heaven.
Inside Echo Park, it’s the little things, thin, half-dead forgotten,
like cavalier 80s rap songs embraced by would be thugz,
a blast, some bling, a fragmentary slip-up resulting in injury or death,
3 shots, the red blood, the cries, the cowardly rush for
(there it is again.)
Stale chips, salty dry and cardboard crisp: the default dinner
beneath the bridges ringed by smoke and LA exit signs;
dust wraps its legs ´round the wire carts winding their way
through the city night until morning calls a temporary halt and
carmelized smiles, in carmelized bodies break wind
in pressure popping bursts, begging for bread.
In vacant eyes fixed upon blue screens, an open mouth
agape dreams wii fii and Nintendo war circuses.
A grim hum, encased in 10 gigabytes, 3 pitches deep behind the desk.
In front, strained 12 year old eyes rubbed raw; others write that
these children hate you and all you are, leaving nothing
in them but the dry contempt of an already forgotten
Near Iowa, corn is given a second life: chemical filled resilient strong,
GMO´d and plasticized, never decaying,
while heartland Obama stickers fade fast with motion-filled exiles now
claiming for their own, American heart, lands:
Lopez, Singh, Thupten, Abdul.
On the yellowed sands and tabled mesas topped
with shimmering clear blue dry skies,
another lifeless monster squats deep into the beaten ground
below, waiting. A thousand booms, sand to glass here,
a billion cancers gingerly rot their way to water
where generations will draw to drink, bathe children, and wash up
at the end of the day.
Along South Beach, new Disney nights light up.
The balmy pass and cocaine charm still work well here,
hand in hand with the zombie smiles of the pasted wasted.
Silken waifs resemble nothing less (and little more)
than Amsterdam storefront bargains, lacking even the latter’s straightforward
red-light exchange rates.
On the long road out, the eyes are wet, the water bitter,
travelling aimlessly, lost for direction and
stricken mute against the coalescing forces
marking a new Reich,
this land, awash in rage and fear,
these tears, blinked back for a past, shunning the future.
Part 2. Something About Harry
Harry dreamt in video, lanced his
bitterness till it soaked through
then danced the last ache he felt alone.
The lance didn’t hurt as much
as the pin-prick silence he heard eating
breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the same chair
at the same time, in this same room, each day.
One of these things these days, said
Harry, will have to change … I
don’t know which or how or what but
it seems an awful lot to just stay the same.
It was right that Harry’s cut off life
was cast in the bellows of America’s
toilet-soiled Constitution, amid torture and
wars of lies openly taught and openly believed.
Harry believed once, too, though now sought
any hole to drive his head in since,
the screams and headbang´d games Valhalla´ed
boy-men like him into video-monsters mad,
plus Harry paid his Fallujah´d fucking life
for early discharge and an Idaho grange;
fourteen quiet guns and black girdled belt
were played before his mirror nightly to
Pick the little ragheads off (he lightly sang),
And drew so fast, like Wyatt fucking Earp,
that his bushy spit-slobbered-´stache twitched
like those dead A-rabs he once saw.
Along the road long before Boise, Harry stood
naked and saw the lemmings stream down
towards their onion temples, calculating carefully,
from here, it wouldn’t be tough…
So Harry entered the long line of the pitiful
few who cut the hope-filled legs of America at the knees
while others wail and weep to Heaven
that banning a gun show was illegal.
Part 3. With Raw Cod Eyes, 2022
With raw cod eyes, we remembered that summer:
He watched, steely tight, purse-lipped cold
without a word to the slender dark ones passing,
some legs exposed,
brow wet; desire burning resentment, burning…
This was too much to take in.
In bitter sweeps he dismissed
them, a gruff wave of the hand:
“Send them back”, and the
Long Walk South began through borderlines known only on paper.
Summer brought the madness, too.
“Patriots” and Patron molded death collusion to turn one frightened people into monsters of the modern day.
Close to Brownsville the anencephalic see with bird-like nervousness
and willing openness, meanwhile,
we saw the trains disappear beyond the hills.
In smoky despair, we heard the cries and said nothing.
It has happened before.
It will happen again.
Masses (re)moved, celebrations of worn-down whiteness echoing along hills
named for the brown-red inhabitants long taken away, too.
Along the roads, chicken plants and dirt ranches, service centers, Taco Bells,
emptied shells of aluminum framed businesses;
meat packers now Migra packaged themselves
move, bouncing hot in human waste, sweat wet, but waterless otherwise
choking air tight.
In dry gullies the faithful turned out
to see them off,
stones and spit regaled the miserable lot in showers
The tracks limped, sullenly taking unwashed and unwanted home,
the dried out hopes for a better chance once dreamed.
Glinty sheriffs glad for any humiliation to mete, watched stone-faced,
guarding those precious (invisible) sand lines,
guarding their precious land, guarding tight that passing
and fading White.
And when the last service in Spanish ended, running with raw cod eyes,
“El Lobo” and Manolito both, behind the factory outlet’s truck doors open
saw opportunity in new light:
there will always be markets for sneakers.
by JOSÈ TIRADO
There are words
and words…and words
and whispers of words
which roll off the tongue, or press,
mind to mind to dream,
to action (at times)
and breed worlds…
A softly added “L”, yes,
but, significant enough to draw
links – inks to links –
(as well we see here the connection.)
It’s finally up to us – all up to us –
up to all of us (there it is again, you see?)
and words make worlds if someone is
diligent enough to take
and just add
something to the
Rev. José M. Tirado is a poet, priest, psychologist, and political writer living in Iceland. His articles and poetry have been featured in CounterPunch, The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, Dissident Voice, The Endless Search, Op-Ed News, and others. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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