Monday, August 01, 2011

Three poems

By Daniel A. Olivas

“Las Dos Fridas”

I would
have been
there for
when Diego
was not.
But you were
never alone,
always with
The two Fridas,
waiting for no
one yet hoping
for him. But
he is with a
model, a young,
stupid, giggling
thing. That fat
frog, forgetting
his true love
to be in a puta’s
embrace. I
never would
have forgotten
you. Never for
a moment.
Es la verdad.

“Papa’s Car”

Papa’s car was battleship-sized –
a gray station wagon that creaked
and moaned with every turn.

Clear vinyl pulled tightly over the
seats revealing even more gray.
The rear seat faced backwards
so that when I sat there, I could
see where I had been, but not
where I was going.

Papa’s gray station wagon took
us places like Venice Beach, or
the dentist, or maybe a fiesta at
my school or even to Abuelita’s

Sometimes we’d just drive, not
going anywhere in particular,
and I would fall asleep feeling
safe as Papa maneuvered our
ship through the vast ocean of
Los Angeles.

“Tezcatlipoca’s Glory”

I made a fool out of you
Back in the bright days
Of the Aztecs and Toltecs.
I made a fool out of you,
And it was easy.

I was a simple god,
Not as wonderful as you,
The great Quetzalcoatl.
¡Ay Dios mío!
You, the sun god, were the greatest!

Long after the Spaniards
Evicted us and brought the Christian
Deities, you were remembered!

Even D. H. Lawrence named
A novel after you: The Plumed Serpent.
Because that is your form,
A horrendous snake
With a head framed in magnificent feathers.

Yet who am I, simple Tezcatlipoca,
As compared to you?
The god of the air!
The pinche, goddamned air!
What kind of god is that?

But it was I who shamed you
So that you fled Tenochtitlán,
Our homeland,
In humiliation.

I know you remember the night
I disguised myself
As a great hairy spider and
Offered you your very first taste of pulque
Which (as I’m sure you now know)
Is worse than tequila
Because it sneaks up on your brain
Without warning.

¡Ay! You got muy borracho!
And you loved that warm feeling
That ran down your throat and into your stomach
And your groin grew hot, too!

What did the great sun god do?
In a drunken heat,
You had your way
With your sister, Quetzalpetlatl!

I watched from behind a cactus
As you ripped her clothes, and you
Moaned and ugly moan, and your sister
Screamed and I laughed!

And in shame, you left your home
And wandered
Leaving it all to me!

My brilliant plan,
So simple but so effective.
Why you would trust a great
Hairy spider is beyond me.
Perhaps your hubris lulled you
Into a sad belief that no creature
Would dare cause harm to Quetzalcoatl!
I made a fool out of you
Back in the bright days
Of the Aztecs and Toltecs.
I made a fool out of you,
And it was easy.

[“Las Dos Fridas” first appeared in Indiana English; “Papa’s Car” and “Tezcatlipoca’s Glory” first appeared LatinoLA. All are featured in the unpublished collection, Crossing the Border.]

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