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Monday, January 25, 2021


by Alejandro Escudé

It isn’t power, but a podium levitating over a row of graves. You know you’ve heard the word, America. And you sense it, the birds circling over the dignitaries entering the Capitol, where the shadows played weeks before. Weakened, we bow before the ghosts of revolutionaries. It’s all cinema, really.

With the frigid heart of the laborer, I watch, sore yet awake, vowing to do this and that and to do it despite broken hopes. One can’t help the wicked who insist on wickedness, dopes who carry another skeleton body stuffed in their dirty Levis. I can’t help seeing the skull behind the sputtering speech,

lime-white, cracked, battle-bruised as an Apache warrior, porcelain daughters in little Puritan boots climbing steps, old senators making deathly eye contact, defiant smiles. Harrowing wind where Whitman once walked too, to aid the wounded with his round, poetic soul. I am aggrieved

by the last four years, shreds of history, the unholy present of mad insurrection. To see the Viking faces of blowhards storm mahogany chambers only to wander, stunned, hooting devilish battle cries, brandishing antebellum flags, vomiting half-baked theories, chanting croc-shit demands, whaling

creepy hide-seek queries up stairways, around sacred halls. Upward, democracy falls. We’ve been leaping sideways.

I mute the new President, turn to my laptop screen, mask laying on my teacher’s kitchen desk. My students are real; I’m not sure my country is. Even the sun needs a webpage

today and has to publicize the need for its warmth, its rising and setting. Devils wander the corridors having broken
the golden gates of heaven and beaten sword-wielding Michael with a simple, splintered stick. We step forward torn yet illumined. The exodus out of an exodus continued. 

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.