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Tuesday, December 13, 2016


by Alejandro Escudé

A person with the Oakland Fire Department takes a photo of the artwork on the front of the "Ghost Ship" warehouse in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. The Fruitvale district warehouse caught fire on Friday, Dec. 2, killing 36 people. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group via East Bay Times)

The artist dies in a house of fire, the exits unknown.
A wreck bastardized, a crow suspended from spokes.
Why was nothing done? Where has the fire begun?
Separated by the smoke, the artist gags and chokes.

A wreck bastardized, a crow suspended from spokes,
The city rumbling past, a bridge full of nothing-souls
Separated by the smoke, as the artist gags and chokes.
Coffee here, coffee there, cold nights like unlit coals.

The city huffing past, a bridge full of speeding souls,
But the artist seeks more, a hive of unpredictable acts
Sipping coffee here and there, on cold coal-less nights,
Squatting in the cheap happenstance haphazard tracts.

The artists seeks more, the unpredictable hive acts
In such a way that cannot serve the absconding rest
Squatting in the priciest prime premeditated tracts.
Every fire begins in disarray or in an empty chest.

And so, the artist will not serve the absconding rest
And there is nothing to be done. The fire has begun
In the city’s forsaken disarray, in the penurious chest.
Artists live in a house on fire, all the exits unknown.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.