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Thursday, August 09, 2012


by Jose Alcantara

If Mubarak stays, we all go down; we go, as they say, behind the sun.
  – Egyptian Protester

I followed Virgil behind the sun
and on the banks of a burning river
I found Emmett Till’s eyeball

the seventy-pound cotton gin blade
they tied around his neck
and the barbed wire they used to tie it.

Further on I found Garcia Lorca’s knees
Romero’s empty chalice
the fence where they hung Matthew Shepard.

And I found a squalid empty room
a sign nailed to the door:
Reserved for Bradley Manning.

And I found myself
sitting at a table, playing cards
a rag stuffed in my mouth

which I took out, lit on fire,
and from the ashes
wrote these words.

Jose Alcantara is a math teacher who recently converted to poetry after a quasi-mystical experience in a graveyard involving Dante, a dead woman named Guadalupe, a raven, melting frost, and some church bells.  His poems have appeared in Little Patuxent Review, New Verse News, Sugar Mule, Palimpsest, and Four & Twenty.  His poem, "Lost," was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He currently lives in Western Colorado and has an eight-year-old son who likes Homer.