Bolivar and San Martin: Guayaquil, Ecuador

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hunger Satisfied

I found my book,
the stunning compilation
of Neruda's Odes.
Sure enough it's there--
"the bread of her fragrance"--
it's the penultimate line of Ode to Love,
in case you were wondering too.

I decided to peruse the entire volume,
but progress is slow.
The odes to Happiness
and to Love are full and complete
and erupt with such passion
that so far I have managed
to read just those first two
over and over.

"My hands are narrow:
the depths of my eyes, humble
to receive
her treasures,
the unbounded cascade of radiance,
the golden thread,
the bread of her fragrance:
they are simply, Love, my life."

I could move on.
There are, after all,
hundreds of pages that follow.
But the words are rich
as though they themselves possess
the power to sustain.

Perhaps this is what he meant
when he spoke of permanent bread.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Searching for My Bread

I've been tearing my room apart,
searching for a book called
"The Odes of Neruda"

I have this phrase--
"the bread of her fragrance"--
running through my mind,
and it fills me with
such amazement that I must
return to the text and
make certain it is real.

How succinct.
How poetic.
How marvellously Neruda.
The woman's fragrance as bread,
intangible calories to nourish the intangible soul.
If I am remembering this correctly
then this is something everyone should read.

But the book still escapes me
amid this confounded clutter,
and without the words before me
I am slow to say something so perfect
is real.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

meus uxor

She'll walk in peace, the envy of the world,
My words will thrive until she lives in fame.
I'll give her names like "might of God unfurled"
And all my verse her wonders will proclaim.
Her beauty won't be that of common themes,
She'll shun cliches which fecklessly will try
To sing her worth, for only in my dreams
Are words of praise her beams will not defy.
My heart will be her garden, there she'll sow
The strongest seeds of love and hope in me,
She'll stare in awe, unblinking, as I grow
Into the finest man that I can be.
And we will never die, through verse and rhyme
Our love will paint the hallowed halls of time.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

To Wordsworth (Chicago, 2007)

One-hundred fifty-seven years gone by
Since human ears were graced with your fair voice.
Yet Wordsworth, all our art must still comply
With your fair words--we read them and rejoice!
Your rhythms flowed in song across the page,
Each syllable expressed your human heart.
But more than man--a teacher, friend and sage,
You shared your love so that you might impart
In all the wonder that it is to be,
In all the glory of their inward soul,
Long dead, but still your might lives on in me
And all my verses your proud verse extol.
No more is my truth locked in ivory tower,
Your words bestow me virtue, freedom, power.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not Touched By Frost

Melancholy but a moment,
Life lunges forward into peace renewed.
At last I cheat despair,
who courts my time with ceaseless chase.
At last, it seems,
The hope of Christ takes root.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Anywhere, America 2007

They're building.
all of America heaves at once,
their dreams manifesting
into forests of concrete and steel.
They won't stop until they
can piously worship at
altars of consumerism on every corner.

They pray the only prayers they know:
red tag sale, buy one get one free,
half-off everything Saturdays before noon,
sign up now for a Buyer's Card and save.

They're building.
They're squeezing America into a single strip mall,
That way we can all be sure our clothes are in fashion
and our coffee tastes the same.
We want to be certain we're getting real bargains
on the things we buy irrespective of how
useless or wasteful they might be.

London, 1802.
If my master's world
was a fen of stagnant waters then,
what odors would oppress his nostrils
If he walked with me today?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Un alumno escogido

Olvídate la Malinche.
Hijo de la Chingada no veo aquí.
Mas bien hijo afortunado,
Y heredero escogido de un legado doble
Y repleto con nobleza: legado del toro y del jaguar.

Bastardo jamás,
Sino hijo legítimo de
La sabiduría de Nezahualcoyotl,
Su canción de amor y filosofía
Corriendo en tu sangre,
Tanto como el humanismo de Cervantes,
O los romances del Cid que fueron
Los heraldos de tu fuerza.

Toro y jaguar, animales orgullosos y fuertes,
Estremeciendo a sus pares
Con su voluntad invicto.
Sube a nacer de nuevo, entonces,
Llevando en la corazón el poder
Y amor de tus antepasados.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Faith and Reason

Why, the atheist asks, if God so loved the world did he wait almost 100,000 years (we all know through science that the modern human brain has existed for that amount of time) to tell human kind through the sacrifice of Christ? Did he not care about the people who lived and toiled before the time of Christ? Allow me to conjecture for a moment. If, as the atheist so ardently believes, Darwinism is the tool of design that has brought about the rise of man, would that not also make sense as a mode of God's creation? If God did design through evolution, wouldn't He wait until the mind of man evolved to the point where he could communicate verbally (circa 50,000 years ago BTW) and moreover until he could conceptualize and at least partially understand the concepts of love and hope and freedom that were the Message that Christ conveyed to the world. If the Messiah had shown up at the start of things like Christopher Hitchens seems to think He should have, the Message of God's love would have fallen on ears that never could have come to understand it.

My response, ex post facto

It's true, Nietzsche.
I will cede that in some places
in this world God is most certainly

And the denizens of these hamlets:
London and Paris, Vienna, Moscow, New York,
and even in Rocken where your father
extolled the hope of Christ
they share the fruits
of your philosophy of despair.
They walk with fearless footsteps of defiance,
And thump their chests in pride, thinking
how cosmopolitan their
cosmology of disbelief has become.

But at night, and in sober reflection
They wail because in their hearts
they believe they are alone.
They believe this because
you told them of the Death of God,
and assured them this time
there was no chance
Of finding an empty tomb.

And since they are alone
They do not hope,
They do not dream,
They are not fruitful and they do not multiply.
Why love if God is dead?
For what is love if it is not forever,
A brilliant strand of light that burns and
shoots forth from the mind of man
to join itself to the eternal
light of love and peace with God?

Strength to them, your students,
those who know, like the Other who sought to
hunt God from His throne, that the field is lost.
And now with feckless faith they
turn to study of revenge and deathless hate.

Buoy them up with dreams of the unconquerable Will.

But know it was not glory
Christ sought while dying in agony
upon the Cross,
nor to extort from you submission
to His inexorable might and wrath.
He bled, dreaming a dream of love,
The same love of life and hope of peace that
you spurned in thought, word, and deed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Imagen de luz,
pura luz entrando por
las puertas permeables
de los ojos.

Algo me mueve
a pensar en
las palabras de Tomas Aquino,
algo animándome a reconocer
el poder de Dios
en la creación que me envuelve

Thursday, November 01, 2007

D'Souza-Hitchens Debate "Is Christianity the Problem?"

It's up on youtube, and it is fantastic. They go after each other with history, philosophy, and even some really good humor. The best line of the debate comes when Mr. D'Souza calls on Dostoevsky for support: "If God is not, then everything is permitted." He brings that up to corroborate his assertion that atheistic, not Christian regimes, are responsible for the great crimes of history (think Crusades and Inquisition versus Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-Il, all who would wipe out Christianity if given the chance). I also love Mr. D'Souza's line that atheism is not an intellectual, but a moral rebellion. Another great moment came when a man from Tonga asked Mr. Hitchens how religion can poison everything when Christianity brought his country out of the dark ages of cannibalism, poverty, and abject despair.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Word after word I cultivate the line,
Until each phrase can seemingly express
the very colors of these thoughts of mine,
It must be true, but also finely dressed.
It won't suffice to say that I am sad,
Or that I'm happy, no that will not do,
The rhythm of the line must show I'm glad
Or else, in contrast, paint with darkest blue.
Swift song that speeds in haste across the page,
Slow song, winding, crawling upon the earth,
Each has its place in this and every age
For all have songs of sadness and of mirth.
Words are our gifts, the spark-spray of the soul,
Through them the worth of man we may extol.

Monday, October 29, 2007


We called her "Esperanza"
In Spanish class
all those years ago.
Bright-eyed Esperanza
whose face seemed locked
in perpetual smile.
Smiling Esperanza who talked
of nothing but happiness and hope.

Now the face she wears
Belies her age: too much weariness,
Too much grief.
She's far too young to be framed in bar-haze,
Cutting through smoke
and unfamiliar faces
to bring people their cocktails
and a perfunctory smile.

She passes me a third time,
It's clear she does not recognize me,
Gregorio, as I was called.
Gregorio who watched her so lovingly
All those years ago.

Perhaps she does see something
in my eyes as our gazes meet,
But she cannot delve into the past,
back into times when her blue eyes
Scintillated with happiness and hope.
Alas, dear Esperanza,
how quickly the young heart grows old.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tormenta de vida

Tormenta parecías,
Tus palabras agregándose como
Nubes amenazadores.
Tus ojos: destellando relámpago,
Electrificando e iluminando
El cielo gris de mi vida.
Tu boca: el estuche del trueno,
Sus palabras clavando
Mi pensamiento y mi silencio
Con sonidos poderosos y espontáneos.


Sleep comes
with eyes quickly closing,
Windows opening
to the wider world within.

dreaming of words
that cut the air
as you spoke them,
unfiltered as they rose
from the soul to the lips...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

C.S. Lewis

I am about to read "What's So Great About Christianity" by Dinesh D'Souza, which is anticipated to be the finest work of Christian apology since C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity". At last we have a scholarly text to combat the recent onslaught of atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (author's note: Mr. Hitchens is an intelligent, well spoken man, however I feel his idea that "religion poisons everything" is both misguided and dangerous. Anyhow, in honor of the erudite and faithful work of C.S. Lewis, I am choosing my favorite quote of his to post here:

"I believe in Christianity like I believe in the sun: not because I see it, but because by it I see all things."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hollow Discourse

An entire month
of shame and heartache
Spills slowly onto
open palms.

She speaks as though
the remedy for this is sorrow,
as if tears could somehow bring color
to my disparate shades of gray.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

To S-

I've penned a thousand lines, and still my pen
Could never trace the pain that you must feel.
The silence strong, your heartbreak so unreal,
Such is the gift and curse of mortal men.

We love til sadness calls on us again,
A moment here or there our hearts might steal.
But broken hearts will make our bodies kneel,
What comfort will assuage our sorrow then?

I wish that I had more for you than this,
Or that each penstroke could erase your pain,
I'd write until once more you found your bliss.

We love, and lose, but never love in vain,
Recall true love, hold close true love's first kiss,
Its power helps the wounded heart sustain.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

occasus verum

They talk about aggression like the West invented it. Like before Europe there were never any wars, and no one died under the hand of his brother. Think state of nature, people. Today, in Iraq, we see what happens when you destroy the Leviathan and fail to replace it with an equal or greater authority: war breaks out, every man versus every man, and blood runs in the streets while child-bereft mothers wail in the darkness. But is this the legacy of the West? No, this is the legacy of all mankind. Who stormed the pass at Thermopylae ten years after coming ashore with hopes of plunder at Marathon? Who conquered west to the Straits of Gibraltar and east to the steps of Kashmir in less than a hundred years? Who assailed Constantinople for 800 years before finally achieving the bloody goal? The Crusades did not begin this clash of civilizations, they were merely another phase in a conflict that dates back to antiquity, even before the Son of Man walked the earth or the Prophet spoke aught of the mind of God.

Monday, September 17, 2007

La Reconquista

The jaguar rises,
he stalks forth from deserted
jungles in the south,
covering this land with
the sound of his mighty roar.

Above, the condor soars
in patient, watchful circles,
the rush of his wings
like thunder piercing through the sky.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

vita est decorus

Sometimes life is too beautiful for words,
and you're left there stumbling, or silent,
searching in vain for breathtaking phrases
that just might explicate your ever-growing elation.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I love using words
like never and always.
The weight of the certainty
they carry is like a massive anchor
Keeping my poems in calm, cool,
Coherent harbor waters.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Somewhere, someone's not thinking of someone

Summer afternoon.
The words roll off the tongue
Like a gentle, dream-distending breeze.
Slow, moves like a memory and reverie
Comes in heavy, staggering doses.

Friday, June 22, 2007


all life is suffering...suffering is caused by desire

She longs to sleep again
in childhood's hour,
To recapture moments-indefinable-
of a tangible, earthly peace.

Her heart would like
a chance to rest,
far away from the woven madness
of her world-there was something on the news
about a war,
how everything is in decay.

"You'd think we'd give in to
the allure of peace," she whispers to me
with sunken, heartsick eyes.
"You'd guess after all of this we'd turn
to that nobody's-dying, nobody's-a-refugee,
nobody-chokes-on-hate state of mind."

I want to tell her something other than
the truth,
something other than the penetrating,
pervasive, all-consuming power of

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A selfless prayer

Her wonder imprints itself upon his mind
and leaves him searching for a selfless prayer.
He digs in the soul for strength
to plead on her behalf,
yet for all his want
the silence fades slowly,
he cannot find words to capture
the happiness she deserves to feel.

He searches throughout a slow parade of hours
finally culminating in a small, simple phrase:
"Give me the pain of two,"
he whispers up to the starless night.
"If it means she'll live in peace."

Miles away she wonders,
framed between the earth
and a calm sea of starlit sky.
the echoes of an unknown voice
at first confuse her mind,
then a calm like understanding
sets her wandering heart at ease.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Deep within, our hearts have noted that
Everything, perhaps, is not as it
Should be. The world around us seems
Irrational, obedient to the
Rapacious minds which demand that
Everything revolve around dollars.
Each day, we rise and meet the
Morose expectations of constraint,
Yearning to share our beliefs and
Find the other minds who
Respond to the world in kind.
In the end, friendship means
Everything, and in the moment
No one calls to me in the
Darkness clearer than you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I am yet will not be

It is strange to breathe and know
my body shall fail,
to ponder the inevitable state of non-being
that will come.
One day, late or soon, the blood stops moving,
the hand that pens these lines
will lie unanimated, lifeless,
and the mind that crafts these words
will ponder no more.
I contemplate the arcane end of consciousness
with curiosity for the mystery is deep.
Will there be blackness?
Will there be light?
Will I descend into a pure forgetfulness of oblivion
detached from everyhing that I have come to know?
Truthfully, at times I fear the potential
nothingness of death,
the dread of darkness falling forever on my eyes.
But wonder again grasps me simply to know
that I am,
and I treasure even my sorrow in memory
of all the spirits that never existed at all.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Alone in the Cold

and Cold.

His placard drips
with ice rain,
a forgotten man stationed
a few feet to the side
of a highway off-ramp.
He shifts slowly
on his cane,
searching for the angle
that shelters him best
from a driving Chicago wind.

Such a hopeless place
to be during the
numb-to-the-bone frosts
of a February that seems
to go on forever.

For a moment I try
to match his gaze,
but the lights have all gone out.
There is only a dull glare
as he stares, mangy beard pointed
to the ground, and freezing rain
which rolls down his cheeks
like the many tears
he must long to cry.

Yet in the passing moments
between red light and green
It is I who feels like weeping
as I struggle to reconcile this,
an image of my brother locked
in a forgotten state,
wondering, with my solitary tear,
if he was ever loved at all.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

On John Clare's "I am"

I have dreamed you
within the walls of that asylum,
friend of the earth and dearest friend to me.
I have seen you, heartsick and dying,
Guiding your pen with fury across the page;
striving to soothe both your pain and my own.
you foresaw that the storm of abject solitude
would thunder and punish again,
and you left your words as a mighty bulwark for me
against the rising tide of nothing but alone.
You knew not my name, but you were certain I would come,
One to press your words, a healing balm, against the soul,
one who would not forget you or ever forsake you
locked inside those walls.
I hope you too find calm in this, my simple song
of thanks and praise. Sleep in peace,
Remembered, revered,
and hold close forever my final words:
we are.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

hate's mastery

Why must my thoughts of vengeance return?
I despise the hatred within,
the control it takes over the body:
my blood boils over
and my muscles hold tense,
poised like coiled snakes
so eager to unleash their rage
in a flash of violent fury.

at times I tremble because
my thoughts can be darker
than the sin of Cain.
There are brothers whose malevolent hearts
I would tear, still pulsing, from their chests,
and I would spit in their faces
as I dangled the vessels of lifeblood
before their failing eyes.

I am as sorry for these thoughts
as I am that so many sins
are swallowed, accepted,
unanswered and unpunished.

Alas, the stroke of justice
is not mine to give,
but oh, how thoughts of vengeance
boil within.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

words and a new friend

I suddenly feel less weary
than I have in days beyond count.
Some weight has been lifted,
unmarked and unnoticed by me
until now.

My mind seems clear,
with room enough
for every image I desire.
The words are simple yet fearless,
unadorned but also unafraid.
they flash their teeth tenaciously
if they disagree with where
they fall in line.

So different, this feeling.
I've never known harmony
but this must feel like its conception.
No more vacant rooms for my thoughts to hide,
on the winding paths within
inspiration walks freely
where only solitude used to tread.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Two Centuries Late

Dear Wordsworth, where are you in such an hour?
We have no fire, the sonnet drowns in scorn.
We pump out dying words, devoid of power,
My gift is lost, I am untimely born.
We could have sat upon Westminster bridge,
Together poring over Milton's words.
We could have climbed the height of every ridge,
And let our songs fly loose up with the birds.
You could have shown me those untrodden ways,
The fields that Lucy held within her sight.
O that I might have lived in brighter days!
When you, and Keats, and Blake professed your might.
I strive to praise, to frame you with my rhyme,
Reviving your bright flame within our time.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A momentary pause

I trudge the silent path,
the expanse of my mind laid bare
against an empty world-
life teems for someone, somewhere.

Words in disarray.
that is my consciousness,
and the truths I would nail
upon Heaven's gate
lie disjointed and twisted amidst
the sprawling harvest
that I cannot seem
to reap from my soul.

Astray, my thoughts are so very astray.
They long to swim
in the current of liquid song,
unleashing their melodies
of love and desolation with rhythmic pleasure,
perhaps the exstasis of Dionysian odes.

I marvel that my words and thoughts
can also dream,
their own wills smeared
in deep hues across the page.
Such poor housing for them are
these perfunctory verses,
quietly spilling from
a tarnished heart within.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Answers May Await You, So Hold True

A clear silence is born
in the agony of dawn,
A deeper mystery than prayer.

His wilted hands kiss
flesh to flesh,
while vaporous and inaudible
words escape his lips;
No force for these syllables
deftly crafted in the center of his universe,
Which slowly evolved
into the Seat of despair.

White pillows, white blankets,
wisps of white hair
which no one attends.
There is only his breathing
mistaken as silence,
In the dying heart's core
such a thunder of noise.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Poems of Mallarme

I would share with you
the poems of Mallarme,
His words so like my own.

And your eyes and ears
would drown in sensorial wonder.
Images of surf-green emotions
would swirl around you,
hazy and confused.

You would trace the
sliding sadness of his words,
until syllable by syllable
the blueness undulates across the page,
and off the page,
and stains the whiteness
of your changing eyes.

In your heart you would feel
a surging, a rush of inspiration,
The host of words you dreamed
would rise within.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

alabanza inutil

mi contemplacion era las preguntas, su belleza era las respuestas
-Saint Augustine

La amo, eso es todo,
aunque algo me mueve a decir que la amo
en la manera que la luz anaranjada de la salida del sol
ama a las olas del mar.

es como no quiero decir nada,
inefable hasta el fin sera mi postura.

La amo, eso es todo,
pero he querido decir
que su presencia es la voz de Dios
susurrando directamente a mi alma,
diciendo -aqui estoy, mi hijo, y esta es
la felicidad que he preparado para ti-

Inefable he dicho,
tanto su hermosura como mi amor
que florece madura y paciente
en la tierra fecunda de la corazon.

La canto, eso es todo,
que importa que no la puedo
alabar con justicia,
que mis palabras son sombras echadas
por la luna cuando las comparo
con su imagen de luz y gracia?

La amo, ella es todo,
el sol que crece rayo por rayo en el horizonte,
la luna que me guarda contra la oscuridad de noche...

es que no queria decir nada
por tanto que la adoro,
alabanzas inutiles son todos los versos que yo le escribo

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sonnet: on forging perfect love

How sweet! that wisdom steadily should grow
Within the machinations of my brain.
What joy to learn, and plot the things I know,
And feel all failures were not loss but gain.
My aim is high, my tests must then be great,
A soul untroubled cannot be complete.
My mind's wheel turns, I will not trust to fate,
It is my victory or my defeat.
Farewell days of my youth, I hold you dear,
For in your playful care I forged my base.
Now I must venture forth devoid of fear,
A love of stillness I must now embrace.
I attune my eyes with the sky above,
And dream of constant, un-reflecting love.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

he recalls undocumented thoughts

undoubtedly you have been here before,
unraveling some mystery
and driving, hammer-handed,
the nails that sealed the coffin of our youth.
so strange, the pace is quickening
while the things you know
and the things you wish you had learned
float indiscernable
at an alarmingly comfortable distance.

dream on, you hear plainly,
keep dreaming- you listen.

undaunted by hope's betrayal
your mind turns peacefully to god-
submission would be both
refreshing and ironic,
and as the voices keep calling
the inspiration to obey begins to shine.