“I Am Not My Father’s Dream,” “Song Dust,” and “Ricardo from his Adobe Says”

“I Am Not My Father’s Dream,” “Song Dust,” and “Ricardo from his Adobe Says”

I Am Not My Father’s Dream

                                                          counting smoke plumes

                                               on the mesa horizon

                                                          while yucca spire buds

                                                remain un-blossomed.

                                                           Between rocks guarding

                                                the front door, a sunflower

                                                          stalk bends. I welt too.

                                                Yellow flames wake the air.

                                                            Am I the elk rushing

                                               out of the forest,

.                                                           on fire, moaning into

                                                hot wind while flames lick

                                                            my ankles, my torso?

                                                Today is iron red,

                                                            a fiery dust

                                                devil swirling us

                                                            A hummingbird flits,

                                                beats by my head, pauses.

                                                            I bite my tongue,

                                                salt tides in my mouth.

                                                            I raise a hand, high,

                                                but its zeros off, why? —

                                                            yellow smoke hammers

                                                every last mesa away.

I Am Not My Father’s Dream

counting smoke plumes

on the mesa horizon

while yucca spire buds

remain un-blossomed.

Between rocks guarding

the front door, a sunflower

stalk bends. I welt too.

Yellow flames wake the air.

Am I the elk rushing

out of the forest,

on fire, moaning into

hot wind while flames lick

my ankles, my torso?

Today is iron red,

a fiery dust

devil swirling us

A hummingbird flits,

beats by my head, pauses.

I bite my tongue,

salt tides in my mouth.

I raise a hand, high,

but its zeros off, why? —

yellow smoke hammers

every last mesa away.

Song Dust

                                                           While walking the shady

                                             side of the street, the good Mayor

                                                           kicks a child out of the way.

                                            “My life here feels like a churning

                                                           red dust devil on Mars.

                                                            “You see, my constituents

                                               are like lassos of light

                                                            tightening around my neck.

                                                They are not old snow, or

                                                            a bouquet of blue roses

                                                            “They are not cottonwood fluff

                                                clogging everything up.

.                                                           They are red ink turned black,

                                                yet a stain on my voice,

                                                            glittering knives to my eyes.

                                                            “So, why not be a man

                                                riding a horse sized rooster,

                                                            or a clown with a wolf snout,

                                                or a boulder with shark teeth,

                                                            why not while I have a say.”

                                                            Just then he feels a stone

                                                strike the back of his head,

                                                            for the child has returned,

                                                and his pockets are overflowing

                                                            with a choir of stones.

Song Dust

While walking the shady

side of the street, the good Mayor

kicks a child out of the way.

“My life here feels like a churning

red dust devil on Mars.

“You see, my constituents

are like lassos of light

tightening around my neck.

They are not old snow, or

a bouquet of blue roses

“They are not cottonwood fluff

clogging everything up.

They are red ink turned black,

yet a stain on my voice,

glittering knives to my eyes.

“So, why not be a man

riding a horse sized rooster,

or a clown with a wolf snout,

or a boulder with shark teeth,

why not while I have a say.”

Just then he feels a stone

strike the back of his head,

for the child has returned,

and his pockets are overflowing

with a choir of stones.

Ricardo from his Adobe Says

                                                          See the rusty horseshoe

                                                 embedded in the threshold—fading.

                                                 Listen to the screeching

                                                           of the turkey out back.

                                                           Place your eye to the pane,

                                                 soon nothing but darkness.

                                                 A tear does not retrace

                                                            a trail back into the eye.

                                                            On three sides of the sky,

                                                plumes of wildfires fly.

                                                Sunlight ghosts a chemtrail

                                                            pointing straight down at us.

                                                            The sentence is mine, yours,

                                                a string of dry chiles.

                                                Slow down, like the pendulum

                                                            inside the mantle clock.

                                                            Conquistadors used crossbows,

                                                long daggers, and spears—time

                                                            is a rotting horse, a tale

                                                of history, closing distance.

Ricardo from his Adobe Says

See the rusty horseshoe

embedded in the threshold—fading.

Listen to the screeching

of the turkey out back.

Place your eye to the pane,

soon nothing but darkness.

A tear does not retrace

a trail back into the eye.

On three sides of the sky,

plumes of wildfires fly.

Sunlight ghosts a chemtrail

pointing straight down at us.

The sentence is mine, yours,

a string of dry chiles.

Slow down, like the pendulum

inside the mantle clock.

Conquistadors used crossbows,

long daggers, and spears—time

is a rotting horse, a tale

of history, closing distance.

About the Author

Mario Duarte

Mario Duarte is a Senior Academic Advisor at the University of Iowa and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems and short stories have appeared in aaduna, Chicago Literati, Hinchas de Poesía, Huizache, Lunch Ticket, Pank, RavensPerch, Rigorous, Storyscape, and Typishly.

Read more work by Mario Duarte.