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Category: Reginald Gibbons

Elegy: Green We Love You Green

Verde que te quiero verde even when

dying can be, can yet become, a green

plenitude—the jade the pine the fern the mint.

We can breathe the green breath of your lines, green shade

may somehow fade bereavement away, while in

your words live the sixty shades of green that words

can see, words that bleed green, words that your pen-nib

dance-drags in green dust under the olive trees,

as you throw song-notes at their silver-green leaves

and end your stanzas with green razor blades—

your verde so clack-heeled, your swarms of midnight

palmas clapped with such exuberance of green

anguish and joy, your vowels so green in guitar-

light rasgueados—in leaf-thrashing wind-lashed

frenzy, frenesí, to hear again that your

voice cannot not matter . . . ¿No ves la herida

que tengo—he imagines a knife-wound from

his chest to his throat—desde el pecho a la

garganta? Now he stands one finite instant

from the bullets, with his betrayed companion—

a teacher, also to be murdered—and two

more. Now the uncanny presence of the scent

of basil and the word’s green sound: albahaca

(al-habáqah) . . . We so need a billion dawn

hours—albas—of love. But I’m no longer I

pero yo ya no soy yo nor is this house

any longer my house ni mi casa es

ya mi casa. We so want him to have lived.

His house, his piano—unbetrayed, not deceived . . .

But he was nilled and annulled so long ago.

Verde que te quiero verde we still chant

in la nada que no y la nada que sí.

for Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (1898-1936)

from RenditionsFind more by Reginald Gibbons at the library

Copyright © 2021 Reginald Gibbons
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

But A Guy Goes By

A guy goes by with a long loaf of bread on his human shoulder.

And after that I’m going to write about my doppelgänger?

In the alley, I see a girl looking for meat scraps and orange rinds.

Is now when I’m supposed to write about the Infinite?

Another guy, sitting on the curb, scratches himself, nabs a louse

in his armpit, smashes it. And we’re going to chat about psychoanalysis?

A homeless woman’s sidewalk-sleeping—her foot’s behind her back!

And I’m going to meet a friend so we can talk about Picasso?

Some other guy, swinging a stick at my bones, has invaded my body.

So then, later, at the doctor’s, I’m going to talk about investments?

This crippled dude goes wobbling by with a big kid, arm in arm.

And after that—what? I’m going to read the art reviews?

Someone is shuddering in the dark. Coughing, spitting blood.

When exactly would it be appropriate to theorize the Inner Self?

A roofer falls, he dies, and from now on he goes without lunch.

So now I’m going to invent some flashy new poetic effects?

This diamonds-bought-and-sold guy—he uses rigged scale weights.

So . . . make sure everybody at the opera sees that you’re weeping?

Too near my building, this skinny guy deals heroin laced with fentanyl.

Is this really the time to take alien sperm and astral travel seriously?

The old couple at a funeral, crying as they walk holding hands—

and what’s the protocol when you’re voted into the Academy?

Sitting at the kitchen table, somebody’s lovingly cleaning his handgun.

What exactly is the good of talking about where we go after we die?

A girl’s run over by a local Nazi aiming his station wagon at her.

And we have to hear about “very nice people on both sides” and not scream?

A neighborhood granny goes by counting something on her fingers.

And the biggies are saying we must make sure the banks are OK?

after César Vallejo (1937)

from RenditionsFind more by Reginald Gibbons at the library

Copyright © 2021 Reginald Gibbons
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

The God Eros, Who Cannot Be Thwarted

overpowers not just

and unjust human beings

only, but animals

too—and even the breath of

gods trembles, shakes, stops, bursts,

when Eros wings into them,

even from far away,

at their culmination. Great

Zeus Himself retreats some-

times from the overthrowing

comeliness of mortal

bodies. He Himself is far

too weak—even He!—to

ward off Eros. Even He

wants, more than anything,

anything, just to give in.

Sophocles (5th century BCE)

from RenditionsFind more by Reginald Gibbons at the library

Copyright © 2021 Reginald Gibbons
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

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