New Poetry by Ivan Argüelles
THE FALL OF KABUL
carpet-baggers locusts cannibals lice
the head turns to stone the moon is drawn
out of its well and decapitated in a dust flurry
minutes before the evacuation promises of
paper-flowers fruit without vermin bread !
for two decades a series of statues come and gone
artillery composed of offal and headwinds
ox-carts bearing sultans of medieval dialects
everything a matter of renunciation
movies cosmetics opium military footwear
the greatest Demon in the world has just
surrendered his vices in a big photograph swap
history is written on mattresses with bedbugs
remember the Soviet carrion ?
remember the big Buddha at Bamian ?
five thousand years since the Aryans bruited
the Vedas in the Hindu Kush and today
nothing but a reversal of system and value
blond poster-girls peeling off bloodied walls
hoodwinked soldier boys from Iowa City
haunted by the part they played
dismembering the carcass of progressive Reform
Jihad ! Mujahideen ! turn the volume up !
the Twin Towers were destroyed by fireflies
a nuisance of idioms and heresy
monstrous illiteracy of social media lies
verbiage and tattooed air multiples of Zero
Balkh the birthplace of Rumi surrenders !
President of USA suffers from PTSD
a painted screen a flutter of Chinese diplomats
wearing poisoned masks an x-ray of Night
what good are stealth bombers and drones ?
red ants versus black ants ! civilization !
mendacity of General Petraeus and the CIA
operatives who drill like moles through earth
nothing is solid and even less is holy
the Beloved ! houris wearing burkas on Main Street
Yea this day is Paradise and Gehenna
above and below and forever !
Ivan Argüelles is a Mexican-American innovative poet whose work moves from early Beat and surrealist-influenced forms to later epic-length poems. He received the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award in 1989 as well as the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 2010. In 2013, Argüelles received the Before Columbus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For Argüelles the turning point came with his discovery of the poetry of Philip Lamantia. Argüelles writes, “Lamantia’s mad, Beat-tinged American idiom surrealism had a very strong impact on me. Both intellectual and uninhibited, this was the dose for me.” While Argüelles’s early writings were rooted in neo-Beat bohemianism, surrealism, and Chicano culture, in the nineties he developed longer, epic-length forms rooted in Pound’s Cantos and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. He eventually returned, after the first decade of the new millennium, to shorter, often elegiac works exemplary of Romantic Modernism. Ars Poetica is a sequence of exquisitely-honed short poems that range widely, though many mourn the death of the poet’s celebrated brother, José.
Rinconcito is a special little corner in Somos en escrito for short writings: a single poem, a short story, a memoir, flash fiction, and the like.
Two poems by Vincent Cooper
Before the election
Chicano veterans holding up
Vote for Trump
Signs outside of schools
Don’t know they’re Chicano,
They want that towering wall
Dividing America and Mexico
To smite gay pride and the rainbow flag.
Trump-sates the blood-thirsty hate from within
The void of my father
Was filled by a Veterano,
Who in 1967
(Dropping out of Brackenridge High School)
Heard the war song of
A westside Marine Corps Recruiter.
“Go defend our country son make Uncle Sam proud.
Don’t worry about a High School Diploma,
You’ve got the Viet Cong to think about.
You’ll be physically fit, cock strong, in your dress blues
All these westside chicks are gonna want to fuck you
You’ll have medals pinned on your chest, a career as a cook or custodian
Benefits with a steady paycheck, a cheap little house with an iron fence
C’mon be a real man with a rifle in your hands
And tell them all, later on, about the young heroes of war
Jungle sounds, Khe San and how things were in’ Nam.
Chasing like rabid dogs
So large you couldn’t swallow
To be a Little League coach
For your kids-
Wearing a red and gold cover
1967-1969 Reconnaissance USMC
Raising a Devil Dog flag in the front yard
Next to an American flag.
Everyone driving by knows where you stand.
Who you are
What you did
For this country
That is not yours
A dream you’re not in.
A Real Marine
You’re a marine? Thank you for your service
is physically fit,
says OORAH when they see another marine,
has American pride,
honors the eagle, globe and anchor,
has a bulldog named Chesty,
tells war stories,
while polishing his medals,
banks with USAA,
ready to kill,
knows martial arts like Chuck Norris,
is an alcoholic with a side chick,
a racist in denial,
attends air shows with the silent drill platoon.
A real marine says
this country has gone to shit,
doesn’t want to die,
because their grandson is gay,
on the flip,
he wants gays in the military to serve as bullet-catchers.
A real marine gets shafted by the corps,
wearing a red cover,
won’t stop until the job is done,
haircut high n’ tight,
originally from Parris Island,
is sometimes a tio taco,
not that amphibious,
a cock boy in dress uniform,
marching at grocery stores.
A real marine trains people of color to kill people of color.
A United States fucking Marine,
trained to kill anyone,
I didn’t go to war.
Vincent Cooper is the author of Zarzamora – Poetry of Survival and Where the Reckless Ones Come to Die. His poems can be found in Huizache 6 and Huizache 8, Riversedge Journal, and Latino Literatures. Cooper was selected to the Macondo Writer’s Workshop in 2015. He currently resides in the southside of San Antonio, Texas.