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Posts Tagged ‘american writing’

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We look across the flat lands of New Mexico,

from a seat on the Sandilla Mountains.

It is near sunset and the whole scene looks red

and reminds me of a blazed clay shell

occasionally interrupted by the jutting of an

ancient cordillera spine. It is the backbone

of the native western earth; it is where the sun

was stored at night for safekeeping, away from

the Old World’s shores. We watch low clouds

cross below us, stoking the hard earth with

their shadows, and I imagine they must cool

whatever life there is down there. It is hard

to see anything but red, red earth. Hard to

imagine anything good growing here.

And she just sits next to me in silence, too.

Looking out and imagining who knows what.

She is quiet and unwilling to pose for a picture,

unwilling to participate in the pure illusion of a moment.

Instead she sits next to me looking out at the horizon,

like a person sitting at the bottom of the ocean

wanting air.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2014. All rights reserved.

* NOTE ABOUT THIS POEM: This poem was originally written in 1994 and is about one of my favorite personal pictures. The picture was taken by my friend, Camille Pansewicz, and it is of my future wife and I from behind, looking out across the horizon. There are too many reasons why this picture is one of my all time favorites to explain here. The poem is not one of my faves, but it is a reminder that writing is like taking a picture with words.

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on the page

     where i am god

 

i breath life

into the bodies

of the words

as they appear

 

i give them form

against the

emptiness

around them

 

and promise them space

without the invasion

of capitalization

or the oppression of punctuation

 

i ask them to gather

in ways that pay honor

to that which came before

 

and warn them against

the sins of plagiarism

and the vices of being cliché

 

and i threaten them

that they can be

ripped into letters

left to mean nothing.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

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today the words

are not cooperating

it is like they are reverting

to their feral state

in my mind

they bite at their leashes

gnaw off their limbs

until they have chewed themselves free

of my memories

and run off into the darkness to hide

and wait in ambush until

i go hunting for them again

 

it has been like this lately

 

i have been pulling out old

photographs as evidence that

these words belong to me and

that we belong together

how well i had caged some of them

for so long that they died

when they escaped back into

the wilderness

 

the way my father became

just another man before he turned

into a stranger is the same way

that words end up dying —

     eaten by others bigger and hungrier

than memory

 

when i go hunting tonight

i’ll be covered in blood

hoping to be devoured myself.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

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No one in the state house intended this

     and Oscar had never heard of Nebraska

     before he was heading there with his father

who seemed to talk

the whole way

about how he had tried

to make Oscar understand

how awful his own childhood had been

repeating how he had left everything behind

     to come to New York

     to make money

     but just ended up being poor

and Oscar didn’t hear his father say

     how he had saved up

          just for this awful trip

to make sure

he could drop him off

before they changed the language of the law.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

(Inspired by the “safe haven” law in Nebraska)

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© 2008 henry toromoreno

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those who do not

love the word

          can never know her spell.

they call her name

but in their games

          they feign to do her well.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

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by now I know

     that you’ve been told

you’re much too smart or much too old

to believe in things

     like miracles.

i know.

     i know.

such things are rare

     and hard to hold

those childish things

     that seemed so wonderful.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

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