We stayed in Coyoacán for a week, at L.'s apartment off avenida Tasqueña, near the southern regional bus terminal. L.'s landlady had survived the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968 when she was a student at UNAM. To this day she avoided conversation with strangers, eyeing us nervously when we were introduced to her in the courtyard one afternoon. She lived enclosed in hard silence, megalopolis valley.

The Octavio Paz and Gandhi bookstores were conveniently across the street from each other, a quick bus ride away from the apartment. While we were in DF, the students at UNAM had occupied the university in protest of recent tuition increases. L. offered to get us onto campus to see the improvised village the students were maintaining amid classrooms, offices, auditoriums and courtyards. But we were so enthralled by the rest of the city that we never got to UNAM. I saw the TV images and read daily accounts in the newspapers, and I still remember our feeling of solidarity with those students.

It was a distinct season induced by travel. DF offered a subtle vision before the dread hour we now inhabit had fully arrived. I think of those massive avenues that cut across the brutal, flat city through crowded successions of neighborhoods flashing below us on elevated subway routes, trying to fit whose lines in my notebook.


It sounds like something out of Walcott

Your invocations are futile, did you?

Understand this verse to worsen thee

Procedural contraption for bibliotheque

On a phone call from Caracas to me

This afternoon my name calls me across

The sea, over Florida's memory banks

Theoretically-inclined poems sometimes

Fake intentions, novelty might delight

Whose beats occasion defeat

Orphan glimpse I'm not, so thanks

Beside tallest skyscrapers, a work

For your language assumption guide

I wrote it in plain morning


I listen to Sigur Rós, "Agaetis byrjun"
& "Avalon," three times today

always thinking of the line,
the verse

I am excited and anxious about the line

I never really
understand her requirements

I leave it up to the notebook


Why do you write?

What is the need for print?

Where are the poems and why

won't they speak?

It's formed by interruptions, I like

I like these floes

Traffic congested my lines

As did chance, the fortitude

of this city, a drastic allegiance


The rain disappears
into my room
where I eat trees
like air, this same
clear light
that same flame
originary code
while I speak
the sidewalk's guide

rhyme seems to move
easily with false
rhetorical confidence

likewise, rain is crucial
to the anonymous
drift of paneled
library walls, the
rare edges & past
elegance we've built
prisons inhabited
fictional for your

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