Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Truck May 2015: Two Poems by Albino Carrillo

Dear Tom: “ice age coming”

Shall I write to you
about the war
in 2001 words
or less, tell you
I can still
read your
dreams late
at night
when the
moon is down
and your soul
goes wandering
for a bit. The
words you’d
murmur under
the twilight
of beer perhaps,
or the literal
spells you’d cast
that one time
you came to
visit me in
Alamosa with
your new wife.
I’d been
your best man
the week
before and now
you wanted to see
the mountains
where I lived.

Back when you
lived in Berkeley
for a year they
say you cracked—
I wasn’t sure anymore
hoping you were
an agent of some kind
for the unknown.
Our lives for example—
fine tuned to a war
that didn’t appear
in your lifetime.
But now I
know the brave
ocean spoke
its truth to you
somewhere near
Dover in the late
summer and she
was holding your
hand as that’s all
she could do. To day
the rain is steep
steady, cold.  I watched
the last Morning
Glories unfold, light
blue white in a green heaping
bush on the fence.  In two
weeks they'll start making 
seeds. I turn at

The reversal in weather—
now’s the time for looking
at what you see.
What I see is unencumbered
Crabapple sprouting
unperturbed Maple
making its way in the spring.
So what can I tell you of
the Maple sprouts, the propellered
seeds twirling like dancers
to earth, trapped in the sidewalk
some surviving to become little
trees in the grass. My pretty
face made of paint and ashes
is what I have left for you.
Plasticine pieces of a life to a
shuddering, curtain drawing
dream. That you are
alive somewhere and conquering
The South Peak one more time.

Man Reading (after the painting by John Singer Sargent)

What is he reading, what is he dreaming?
The thick blunt brush strokes
of his book lean out at us, dissolve
up close. So it must be,
for the text is about love, the story
is always a marriage plot woven
in the grim air he breathes. Slim
cheroot near his lips, and his eyes
closed or focused on the unknown:
there’s a planet in the one book
he’s reading, the streets and gutters
the homes are not unlike his because
they are ours, gnarly fractured old
farmhouses littering the suburbs.
And in a way he read the future
where some of us may fail and the story
of the great climb down to the green
dying metropoli of the Midwest
is a song to listen to, a song
the great trains carry at midnight.
Perhaps he is reading about Chicago,
perhaps he is reading of Philly,
the ballparks, the restaurants
the great chemical smokestacks
linear bridges and vegetable
stands. Perhaps the words
are drowning him like the great
green sea which surrounds him
nameless. Having read
and slept and smoked I would go
out into the pre-modern industrial night
where the sky is aglow, yellow ochre,
like the atmosphere of his room.
The text as blunt as breadsticks.


Albino Carrillo, a sixth generation native New Mexican, received a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Arizona State University in 1993, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of New Mexico in 1986. He has published poetry in many literary journals, including The Antioch Review, Puerto Del Sol, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, The South Dakota Review, Columbia: A Journal of Art and Literature, Sou'Wester, and World Order. Carrillo's poems are anthologized in both Library Bound: A Saratoga Anthology (Saratoga Springs Library Press, 1996), and The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press, 2007). Carrillo's first book of poems is In the City of Smoking Mirrors (University of Arizona Press, 2004). Before teaching at the University of Dayton, Carrillo taught in the English Department at the University of Minnesota, and at Union College of New York, where he held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Carrillo is a Pushcart Prize nominee. His latest book of poems, Uranium Days, is available through Argus House Press.

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