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March 11, 2011 / johnoliversimon

Caminante 11: Hoja en blanco

JOHN OLIVER SIMON

Niña de San Juan C hamula, Chiapas

CAMINANTE 11

*

HOJA EN BLANCO

*

Of course this voice is blank. I’ve paid it out
syllable by syllable to the ancient children
and now they climb on my knees offering chicles
in exchange for a map of Norteamérica.
Who’ll trace the flow of the river of money
that disappears mysteriously from los Altos de Chiapas
to swell the mutual funds in my hidden pocket?
What do I have to do to get these waters to sing?

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas
10/19-20/95

Comentario: hoja en blanco, literally the white leaf, the blank page. Blank verse. Hydrology of cash flow. By the waters of Babylon. Chicles are chewing gum, and even the street kids know that Norteamérica is where the money is.

Overview: a venture into political economy as I am beset by the centavko economy of the children of Chamula (now apparently converting in numbers to Islam), and a secret homage to Alberto Blanco, who at fifteen took his first trip to the Border  in an Estrella Blanca that broke down in the desert “maybe it was the first time/ I heard a song by the Beatles,” who said at Black Oak “I don’t have to wear a penacho (green-feathered quetzal-crest a la Moctezuma) to be a Mexican poet.”  At this pont, 11 poemitas into a 131-poem sequence, the separate Comentario truly attains equal and intimate poetic status with the eightsquare poem itself. Sorry, I can’t fix the itals.

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