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Journey to Jinotega * (Reposted)

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  • Journey to Jinotega * (Reposted)

    The tropical breeze is cool surrounds like a wet shawl already
    at first light under a cloud free sky the colour of deep veins
    birds are hidden in the trees their vivid cries have awoken us
    shivering in the last ledges of blue sleep my father shakes me
    gently I open my eyes and smell his smell He says "Domingo
    you must rise now and go to Jinotega to buy rice corn and
    beans and other things we need Go and remember You're my
    son almost a man so behave yourself and come right back."
    I find the nylon bag to hold our staples I will go now and leave
    our two room shack stepping over the dog I see our chickens
    pecking about the dirt and stones pulling up something perhaps
    food I miss the countryside I do not like it here I want to be amid
    the lush green trees I want to see again the moon loitering in the
    trees Our family was forced here relocated to keep us safe from
    Contra attacks but father says the government wanted our bodies
    gone from the hills so that the Contras could not recruit soldiers
    from the peasants I will enjoy this two hour trip I see tired friendly
    men waiting patiently by the road farm workers with heavy sacks of
    vegetables already gathering dust some with trussed chickens
    awkwardly slung over their shoulders chickens with their clear and
    empty stares looking for that big wooden-sided truck to come to
    take us away to Jinotega The truck is crowded It is hard to breathe
    We are trussed too like the chickens I look up for some blue sky
    dust is everywhere coming down into our mouths and eyes
    the estuaries of our lungs like a wake of water swirling back on us
    We are almost to the outskirts of town I did not know Elda her father
    Amancio a pentecostal Preacher were here "I don't remember seeing
    them but when you're riding in the open air people are just happy
    looking up at the sky up at the hills hoping for a safe ride"

    Just then a blast from nowhere like a long dead meteorite suddenly
    its sleeping fire awake wishing to go skyward again from out of ground
    shrill angry teeth bit into the flesh of so many people dirt metal fire
    mixed together a terrible potion rising up and raining through us
    blackening the sky I heard later that Elda standing against the dark
    pylon of her father's leg let go of his hand Parts of people vanished
    in full daylight flew off never to be seen again or were like limp
    palsied flags tattered barely fluttering All around small and large
    pools of blood being born From leg holes spurtings of the great
    saphenous vein femoral arteries gushing out torrents like a river
    gone wild swollen after a great rainstorm and from delicate wrists
    small tender fountains of the radial artery Here were limbs dark
    dozing lianas suddenly blown open Perhaps the large soft eyes
    of Elda Sanchez age 7 momentarily frozen The blood remembered
    rumor of ocean its tides still tethered to the moon blood everywhere
    amid the vermilion dust small boats of flesh floating up in the air
    almost slow motion like loose petals when someone decides to
    shake out a vase of old flowers that need attention


    What husbandry of hands would plant such a fat insolent radish
    in the road Surely this is not the work of men with strong penises
    who know how to outwit the dark who have the courage to let go
    when they enter a woman and though the body of woman is a
    most lovely scabbard can it soften down the desire to disappear
    into the open yawning ground These evil nocturnal animals
    scampering off left behind an eye of hidden death waiting to be
    touched must have known how easy it is for skin to leave the bone
    to make a bed of ragged appendages and splintered bones but this
    is no way to undress a love to leisurely reveal a thigh glistening
    in passion or expose a breast with beaded sweat The poor and
    the children were volunteered for an experiment to see if limbs
    would leave home against their will begin a trip to the seaside
    without their owners content were they to touch the ground to pick
    up things or gesture in the air now homeless examining themselves
    bewildered not remembering who they are or if barely attached to
    bodies ignorant of the later coming of a second darkness wet
    gangrene flaking off black skin My right leg is full of pain It will
    have to be cut off like a piece of meat Already I feel myself
    detached from it floating away Perhaps never again will I cut
    meat with my father to sell in the market Many of us will be left
    with stumps shaped like upside down volcanoes with no lush green
    vegetation growing there If we are lucky one day we will be fitted
    with foreign arms and legs outside of Nicaragua

    One must be vigilant travelling now It is so easy to disappear
    for good even in broad daylight Elda Sanchez It is too late to go
    looking for your right foot and the lovely calf to which for too
    short a time it was married It has vanished like the cries of birds
    I hope we may return home again soon to learn to hop about the yard
    like the chickens I left behind this morning looking for food on the
    ground to eat I see now that the lives of dusty vegetables trussed
    chickens and ourselves are not dissimilar We were all riding in a
    big truck that day on the way to Jinotega when the ground exploded
    and we were lost in our cries beyond the outskirts of God


    * An East German vehicle, a three ton open-ended Robur truck left
    Pantasma, Nicaragua bound for the market in Jinotega with 52 people
    aboard, including some children. 49 people were either killed or
    wounded by the land mine that blew out the entire back end of the
    Robur and left a hole in the road four feet wide and three feet deep.

  • #2
    Gutted...by this gift of verse. Compelling. Demands response yet mere words fail.

    Comment


    • #3
      RLW, Thank you! I think a LOT of people missed this one before.

      Comment


      • #4
        Way above my pay grade. Work of full poetic stature.

        Comment


        • #5
          GH, Thank you for your gracious comment. You are not quite right about "way above my pay grade" as others know, the depth and breadth of your knowledge, like the universe, appears to have no known edge or limit.

          Comment


          • grant hayes
            grant hayes commented
            Editing a comment
            I have a different view, Tanner. And that is my polite answer
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