The Concrete River by Luis J. RodrÃ*guez

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Thread: The Concrete River by Luis J. RodrÃ*guez

  1. #1

    The Concrete River by Luis J. Rodríguez

    I love the imagery in this poem, I find it is vivid with a great sense of rythm.

    The Concrete River by Luis J. Rodríguez

    We sink into the dust,
    Baba and me,
    Beneath brush of prickly leaves;
    Ivy strangling trees--singing
    Our last rites of locura.
    Homeboys. Worshipping God-fumes
    Out of spray cans.

    Our backs press up against
    A corrugated steel fence
    Along the dried banks
    Of a concrete river.
    Spray-painted outpourings
    On walls offer a chaos
    Of color for the eyes.

    Home for now. Hidden in weeds.
    Furnished with stained mattresses
    And plastic milk crates.
    Wood planks thrust into
    thick branches
    serve as roof.
    The door is a torn cloth curtain
    (knock before entering).
    Home for now, sandwiched
    In between the maddening days.

    We aim spray into paper bags.
    Suckle them. Take deep breaths.
    An echo of steel-sounds grates the sky.
    Home for now. Along an urban-spawned
    Stream of muck, we gargle in
    The technicolor synthesized madness.

    This river, this concrete river,
    Becomes a steaming, bubbling
    Snake of water, pouring over
    Nightmares of wakefulness;
    Pouring out a rush of birds;
    A flow of clear liquid
    On a cloudless day.
    Not like the black oil stains we lie in,
    Not like the factory air engulfing us;
    Not this plastic death in a can.

    Sun rays dance on the surface.
    Gray fish fidget below the sheen.
    And us looking like Huckleberry Finns/
    Tom Sawyers, with stick fishing poles,
    As dew drips off low branches
    As if it were earth's breast milk.

    Oh, we should be novas of our born days.
    We should be scraping wet dirt
    with callused toes.
    We should be flowering petals
    playing ball.
    Soon water/fish/dew wane into
    A pulsating whiteness.
    I enter a tunnel of circles,
    Swimming to a glare of lights.
    Family and friends beckon me.
    I want to be there,
    In perpetual dreaming;
    In the din of exquisite screams.
    I want to know this mother-comfort
    Surging through me.

    I am a sliver of blazing ember
    entering a womb of brightness.
    I am a hovering spectre shedding
    scarred flesh.
    I am a clown sneaking out of a painted
    mouth in the sky.
    I am your son, amá, seeking
    the security of shadows,
    fleeing weary eyes
    bursting brown behind
    a sewing machine.
    I am your brother, the one you
    threw off rooftops, tore into
    with rage--the one you visited,
    a rag of a boy, lying
    in a hospital bed, ruptured.
    I am friend of books, prey of cops,
    lover of the barrio women
    selling hamburgers and tacos
    at the P&G Burger Stand.

    I welcome this heavy shroud.
    I want to be buried in it--
    To be sculptured marble
    In craftier hands.

    Soon an electrified hum sinks teeth
    Into brain--then claws
    Surround me, pull at me,
    Back to the dust, to the concrete river.

    Let me go!--to stay entangled
    In this mesh of barbed serenity!
    But over me is a face,
    Mouth breathing back life.
    I feel the gush of air,
    The pebbles and debris beneath me.
    "Give me the bag, man," I slur.
    "No way! You died, man," Baba said.
    "You stopped breathing and died."
    "I have to go back! don't

    I try to get up, to reach the sky.
    Oh, for the lights--for this whore
    of a Sun,
    To blind me. To entice me to burn.
    Come back! Let me swing in delight
    To the haunting knell,
    To pierce colors of virgin skies.
    Not here, along a concrete river,
    But there--licked by tongues of flame!

  2. #2
    Member terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Back in hell...better known as Texas
    Muy bueno Luis, the best I've read on this forum. Muy probable to be published. Gracias, Terri

  3. #3
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    and hang out with the staff at
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