Pieces of Eight
Across the Pampas more enormous
than insomnia, the gaucho riding
through nights. Dawn empty bottles, dusk
cigarettes half stubbed out.
Difficult to tell the difference
between asleep and awake often as not
to know what to make of the dazzling spaces,
murky water, this reasonable air.
The church bells, the clocks, the trees
were all part of the loot. The Sundays.
The Andes. Processions and litanies.
Country lanes. Plazas and rivers.
More possibilities even
than the Mexican Revolution
in the space between parentheses.
What’s all that blood doing
on the street? ¡Dios mío! What
a careless lot. Here’s a bucket.
Here’s a mop.
For watermelon boy, neither moonstruck
nor drugged, and the beggar waiting
for angelic messages admitted
through the static of desperation, and deaf mute
blind state of the state, and The United States
poking around as usual.
Thieves steal six minutes on an unfinished
canvas, windmills burning in the background.
Perhaps the native vultures, soundless
and high above, were always destined for this.
Smelted far below, this gold has passed
through the hands of slaves and their owners, of real-life
pirates. It’s crossed broken seas, and been stolen by
and from traders, gambled by drunkards, come and gone
until I found it there, in the sand, on the opposite beach.