Second Variation on a Theme by César Vallejo

I’ll die in Chicago on a Tuesday midsentence on a muggy evening
my entreaties unfinished I’ll die demented and murmuring asleep
in my bed I’ll wither in a ward in Chicago I’ll die of woe
as if an infantry in 1914 or like a codger of pestilence
in the 14th century I’ll die irradiated and eradicated
in Coral Gables in 2076 I’ll die everywhere and for all time
like a loosed balloon or blunt as a beer bottle dropped
from a fire escape I’ll die in Chicago on a Tuesday
on a muggy evening lousy with estate planners and anesthetists
in a week perforated by serial blips of a renal pump I’ll die quiet
in Chicago what a drag it’ll be how feckless and feeble it will be
to die on a Tuesday amid the zoom zoom of weed whackers
the unending industry of the trash collectors buzz in the fuse boxes
not furious as a Hoover in a stairwell or regal as a bugle on a 747
but meek as the reggae whine bleeding from earbuds plugged
into the head next to mine on the 22 bus what a humdrum thing
it will be on a Tuesday in Chicago in which I lope into the long spike
of death and become simple as the bodies this morning in Homs
and in Hamah in Damascus and Deraa I’ll die on a Tuesday
like today is a Tuesday and I’ll be dead in Chicago in 1978
and dead in Paris in 1938 and dead in Aleppo in 2013 I’ll be dead
everywhere and for all time as when a body is lashed and is shelled
as when a body is punctured this morning in Idlib in Baba Amr
its torn animal interior its machines un-machining it dies in Chicago too
no soul prattles eternal protein mishmash and cortical noise
the soul shudders on dirt among despots a rifle butt can end it
but today the bones of my arms are fixed in their good sockets
the soul is wired by dendrites into its power supply
all my exiles and all the roads are ahead of me and I rouse myself
in the democratic vista to launder the sheets and hit up the Kroger
for yogurt and bread I empty the dustbins and Tuesdays forget
all my trash at the curb I sit at the plasma hearth of the television set
like an ancient at the tribal fire in his brute regime and I’ll die this way too
in the confederacy of the Tuesdays and Thursdays the sweeps weeks
and no-term annual contracts unlimited nights and weekends
in the mundane practice of life dull rot of the flesh on a Tuesday
so like a Tuesday in which Jaswinder Bolina is dead as the dead in Deraa
their lipids combusting too on Dearborn Avenue their dendrites
disconnected slick tesserae on the façades of Chicago their ulnas
on 95th Street humeri dead wet and steaming on 117th on a Tuesday
so like a Tuesday in which Jaswinder Bolina is dead Molotov his palace
fell every monument and rechristen the roads on a Tuesday
in which Jaswinder Bolina is dead and Bashar al-Assad is dead
and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is dead Shimon Peres is dead
Vladimir Putin is dead and the eye sockets of every dead executive
are lidded with half dollars Xi Jinping is dead Ban Ki-moon is dead
Barack Obama is dead as Jaswinder Bolina is dead as every dead idol
every prophet Ibrahim and Isa dead Muhammed dead the dead bells
stilled in their steeples the dead minarets emptied of dead muezzins
now sing, all you daughters of Deraa, if it please you to sing.
The Tallest Building in America
Jaswinder Bolina

The Tallest Building in America

Jaswinder Bolina

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