Poetry 1991


Si Habla Guerra

Mariachis are drowning the images of war
playing just over their heads
on the bar t.v.
Tracer bullets above Bagdad.
The flickering mirror ball
in La Rondalla’s ridiculous and splendid bar.
Terrible jets keep taking off.
Million-dollar missiles,
indelible grave facts,
against the grain of laughter and music:
the improbably beautiful violins, trumpets
and sad mariachi singers.

Approaching midnight the bombs continue to fall.
The Lomo Saltado was very good tonight!
It seems right to be here
in friendly surroundings,
plastering the night away with double margaritas.
Tomorrow another day of deep faces
and shallow reporting.
CNN will keep running the same two minutes of video:
flak in Iraq,
jets taking off on another bombing run.
I’ll be happy to pick my daughter up from school,
have a quiet evening in our
humble little apartment.

There’s no glory in war.
What passes for glamor is a cynical dream.
The Patriot missile? Whatever that might be.
I don’t pray
but I pray for the very real lives on both sides
of this pathetically political war.
So play Volver! Volver! Volver!
Sing a pretty, sappy song young and beautiful mariachina.
Play your fiddle and powder your nose
because the world continues to spin
like that mirror ball above the bar.
Somehow we are better now–
all of us–
here in the din of trumpets and the guitarron.
It’s going on 1 am
Friday morning. Nobody’s going home.
Another shot of Tres Generacions!
Here’s to the end of war.

SF Bay Guardian Poetry Contest, honorable mention.

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