NaPoWriMo #8

Palimpsest: the ice worker lives
[Poem comprised of lines from all the readers at the In the Grove Issue #16 release party]

the neighbors of noah are everywhere
pachuco children
pawn their hearts
wander the streets stricken
with solitude

aztlánian nights

the sentences have rippled too far
the mind underneath—beating
veil me

we can always replenish
never again
we will be cold

about brother
blood home from a war
my voice in dreams
converses with tangled roots and vines

i’ve come to thinking of the words
there is no more appropriate insult than
vindictive
even with the dead
who laugh with the last say

touch the single tree, the tendon
find a language
line up to receive an allotted portion of
bone, a thin impression of cloth

working to restore
still waters
shadows tempting you
perhaps this is foolish talk

worked in a factory for years
parted ways
ten years later, it still moves

one word
scream that word
whatever that word

darkness paints and blots
one learns
the rise and fall of night
blessed be the way

still an immediate presence
still having trouble writing that poem
pleased to make a beautiful thing
a fragile casket
hatched in a shallow dish

plucking the seeds
fruit
fermenting on the ground

call out the ice worker
and all of his songs
i’ll go now to the sun

hungry for the familiar
when in his dreams
his children take features
smell the greasy condemnation

demanding my attention
repent, the revolution
is at hand
i betrayed like judas
birthplace of my fathers
language—simple and undisturbed
olvidate

not enough whitman
i see you all here, I see whitman

see me victorious
my children, a cracked window

i am reminded of montoya
the steel scars
the shadows of warehouses

close your eyes for one minute
it’s not long
meat, forgotten
turning rancid
looking to mend the wound
suffering synonymous with joy

verse, outside of himself
love, i didn’t hear it the first time
again—love, again—love, again

what language do you give?
you know what he would say?

praise god

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

3 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo #8”

  1. Oh!!! Sasha, Dan, Augie and I are sitting on my back patio and just read this—-we got chills. I don’t get chills very often, man! Your presence and this poem are gifts.

  2. Jus givin a lil back to Andrés, Fresno, and all of you. This reading and the issue of In the Grove are going to stay with me for a long time.

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