Bolivia ’67

Breath on arm, a ripped drop

of skin whisked near

a sorrow—cold rust;

I’d wish you so much

harm; nothing spreads,

nothing is public know-

ledge, no, not fast eno-

ugh for me, not what I

could do, a push with

broken arms, at bay, the

words we make; so shall

I, someday place

 

A few chords, into their mouths,

off-key was me, so, they

spit me out, and onto flo-

wer, I re-positioned the

soil, so, they pulled me

out—dirty and coiled

 

Shaved of beard, in

Bolivia, grey of hair,

in Bolivia, Ñancahuazú

 

Valley.

 

I spit on you in La Higuera.

 

I told you to do it. Shoot.

 

“You’re dead weight and so un-American,” she said

placing a bloody hand over my lid.

 

“Go ahead, coward,” I replied.

“You’re only killing a young man”

 

I died in Vallegrande.

 

In October.

 

The idea still, still I possess,

Inside my heart, you

cannot kill an idea nor

the words that give life

to them: like breath,

on arm, piercing blood

that rips our hearts,

in tandem, at will, the

words I have spilled.

 

Out and across, this desolate

parking lot: where no

one picks me up again;

I have languished alone

with my many years as

cushion, as lull, but

now, I must wake and

walk from here—a be-

tter man, maybe yes,

maybe no, but some-

one, for sure, may

someday know, once

thought is felt, and

whatever remains

of love and war is

all gone, as I am,

in Bolivia.

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