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Tuesday, November 15, 2005


by Paul Renato Toppo

Down at the fireplace the shadows throw
little missives,
at the base of a titanium heart

while the bloodless thumping
beneath the roots

caves to its own echo, and ends, each wave
overtaking the effortless wake

shutting out light

against a hurricane of tears

Amid bemused and bewildered black contractions,

he arrives and ejaculates at the Superdome,
a Fox with eyes like rubies of the thousand points of light
which mutate into a kinder and gentler

inside cages of water,
(because wrath must reach out
to kiss even Parishes
of the soul),

they rattled their pistol-hot bone chains,

the moist air carried footnotes from a sax, down
to the 9th ward, as if
a riff
would suffice
(ne c'est pas, cher?)
to save their black asses.

Time around frames
the dark with blue
and rises

and so forth

through the branches toward
where the hummingbird was stilled
by a machine gun

Here I wait for the bus to the day
before yesterday

I'm strung along in semicircles,
by politics
evenings with bored looks
Nancy Grace
and dead babies
that flash for a moment on screens
of the subconscious

Time to fly to the eye:

voices slide like a sleet of sorrow
vague and silly,

I feel pressure, a refinement of
gravity whose hue
I never knew

couldn't be bribed but

could clap bones on a drumhead,
so violently
of the country
of the three-fifths
of themselves.

Now, he
calls the twitching toads down to a pious lunch
with cookie sheet Gospel music,

while horses reappear on Bourbon Street,
born again the electric atmosphere that

Conjured the exceedingly small love
which may play underneath,
banging skin
hard enough to raise the dead.

Born 1959 and raised in the New York city area, Paul Renato Toppo graduated from the University of Connecticut with degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics. He has lived in Spain, Puerto Rico and México and currently works in Trenton, New Jersey, but spends half the year in Mexico City with his son, who continues to be his adoration.