the single and only music
YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
by Ivan Argüelles
so folds the old year its broken diseased leaves
its tripartite reconfigurations of an exiled sky
its functionless attributes of lungs and bellows
days like felled beasts hamstrings cut ears lopped
days immersed in prussic acid and forged moon-dust
atavistic months trapped in their own circularity
unable to mouth their own unpronounceable names
nor to rectify the phonetic damage done to their shapes
seasons withered by oppositions of gas and distance
like mountains collapsing into invisible lakes
hemorrhaging light from their invariable wounds
speaking like statues in a void no sleep can enter
the enormous effigies of history shadowing copies
of heroes and nameless saints down corridors
and embankments where stricken cities grieve
how much was lost in the fiction of calendar time
the manipulations of politicians and bankers
homophones of the great solar disk turned black !
like the serpent tail in mouth devouring its own being
spirit without clouds animus of destroyed wharfs
scripts of tattered glyph and cuneiform high and loud
in atmospheres poisoned by future shareholders
planets and asterisks commas and circumflex accents
dizzying spirals hermetic consonants sung on one note
vowels redder than the voice of no-beginnings
impossibility of medical science to redefine the sound
issuing from the late cycle’s numinous accident of birth
and now !? and now the inarticulate diapason of darkness
the lengthening afternoon without windows or hills
the absolute innocence of door-posts and gate-swings
paths that lead inward eradicated by technology
everyone spying on everyone else using progress
to justify the abyss into which uncountable beings fall
never to be recovered and memory itself the bereaved
ear and eye without meaning in the blank effusion
when rock fragment and cliff reassert their primacy
how many are the distances denied by this passing
minutes and hours thumbs and echelons of ink
dissolution of the orient—why move on into the plunge
this is not next year but the single and only music
to be recorded before electricity fails and doomed
spacecraft earth turns to enigmatic azure powders
you are my sunshine my only sunshine
Ivan Argüelles is an American innovative poet whose work moves from early Beat and surrealist-influenced forms to later epic-length poems. He received the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award in 1989 as well as the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 2010. In 2013, Argüelles received the Before Columbus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For Argüelles the turning point came with his discovery of the poetry of Philip Lamantia. Argüelles writes, “Lamantia’s mad, Beat-tinged American idiom surrealism had a very strong impact on me. Both intellectual and uninhibited, this was the dose for me.” While Argüelles’s early writings were rooted in neo-Beat bohemianism, surrealism, and Chicano culture, in the nineties he developed longer, epic-length forms rooted in Pound’s Cantos and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. He eventually returned, after the first decade of the new millennium, to shorter, often elegiac works exemplary of Romantic Modernism. Ars Poetica is a sequence of exquisitely-honed short poems that range widely, though many mourn the death of the poet’s celebrated brother, José.
Rezo a Tonantzin
By Rafael Jesús González
madre de todo
lo que de ti vive,
es, habita, mora, está;
Madre de todos los dioses
madre de todos nosotros,
la nube y el mar
la arena y el monte
el musgo y el árbol
el ácaro y la ballena.
haz de mi manto un recuerdo
que jamás olvidemos que tú eres
único paraíso de nuestro vivir.
cuna de la vida, fosa de la muerte,
fuente del deleite, piedra del sufrir.
concédenos, madre, justicia,
concédenos, madre, la paz.
Prayer to Tonantzin
By Rafael Jesús González
mother of all
that of you lives,
be, dwells, inhabits, is;
Mother of all the gods
Mother of us all,
the cloud & the sea
the sand & the mountain
the moss & the tree
the mite & the whale.
make of my cloak a reminder
that we never forget that you are
the only paradise of our living.
Blessed are you,
cradle of life, grave of death,
fount of delight, rock of pain.
Grant us, mother, justice,
grant us, mother, peace.
Rafael Jesús González is an international activist for human rights and social justice, a bilingual poet and writer, Poet Laureate of Berkeley, California, and, always with our deepest appreciation, a frequent contributor to Somos en escrito. © Rafael Jesús González 2020.