October 13, 2007

Poets’ Park, Mexico DF

You and I risked our necks to get there, dodging
the mad cars careening around it, merging
from all angles, a condensing asteroid
swarm. Our eyes, forced open, wept in the acrid
air. Breathlessly we landed on that island
green as imagination, nearly blind
to traffic, though we heard the autos grumble.
Throughout this miniature oasis people
strolled, played with their kids, lunched. One couple necked
like no tomorrow near a less romantic
memorial to a poet I’d never heard
of. His bronze head, looking grotesquely severed,
rested on an open concrete book
as if admonishing all poets, “Look
on this life, this work, and think again:
would you choose loving under this lush green
or locking yourself up in an attic room?
The real, polluted thing? Or some daydream?”
We walked arm in arm; head after bronze head
would neither speak nor smile nor grudge a nod.
Exhilaration? Gray contentment? Anguish?
Who knew? I had no syllable of Spanish.
Emerging from the poets’ sanctuary,
the car-stink stinging, our eyes again gone blurry,
we found a fountain fashioned like a pen,
its nib replenishing a pool. A fountain-
pen. I pose beside it in your photo,
writing, writing forever with clear water.

—Jay Rogoff
Reprinted from Southern Poetry Review Vol. 44, No. 2 (2006). Copyright © 2006 by Jay Rogoff.
Forthcoming in The Long Fault (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

Posted by dwaber at October 13, 2007 12:36 PM