Thinking of Charles Bowden in Mexico City

March 17th, 2010 by Deborah K. Kelly



So you aim a foregone conclusion,
the extinction of our species,
right between our eyes.

Maybe the last mammoth died
with uptown flowers in its belly,
blinking at the the glass towers of Polanco,
of Dallas.

Even now, the people of this city
scramble through traffic
fleeing chain link curtains of  lightning.

The obedient and faithful,
do they have it better,
with all their hope aimed at heaven?
Their eyes on the Lord’s table,
they let this world drip
from their dumb and delicate fingertips.

We know– there is not enough water
to wash us away again.
We toss pail after pail
across the crumpled pavement each morning,
but not one street will be clean by noon.

All night work abrades rest
from the bodies of scrubbers
while the polished world of uptown glints
and a world of trade agreements are inked
in the tincture of peasant bruises.

I’m leaving Mexico at night,
unbelieving, charged with love and fright
for a country, for a city
sparkling below, for now,
like a fine beaded bag in the lamplight.

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2 Responses to “Thinking of Charles Bowden in Mexico City”

  1. karen keane says:

    Sad but true…Charles Bowden was charged with seeing the sadness. A heavy burden to bear, this great sadness for all that could be right and just and naturally beautiful, but a gift given to only the most clear-sighted, the most just among us…You too, dear Deborah are a gift-bearer–keep running for the weight of the whole wide world might press down upon you. Beautiful poems from a beautiful being. Thank you. K.

  2. Deborah Hirsch-Bezanis says:

    The winner of the 2010 Orion Book Award is Charles Bowden’s Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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