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     |    C O N T E N T S    |    H O M E P A G E    |    J A C K E T   #   N I N E    |    O C T O B E R   1 9 9 9


Francisco Aragon - three poems




Perfect disc of moon, huge
and simmering
low on the capital's filthy horizon -- ¡Ay,
qué luna más hermosa!, she says
pushing the stroller slowly down Atocha . . .
And gorgeous too the firm-thighed

boys from Lisbon
a block away who work
Kilometer Zero's sidewalk, the neon
shoestore they lean against
cupping the flames
of passing strangers . . .

The sky above Puerta del Sol turns
another shade of violet. Who says
it doesn't become night's
one eye
as it scales the heavens: paling
and shrinking before it moves

across the jet canopy of July? And below,
men persist and circle
the plaza, twin fountains brimming
over their brilliant waters. Hours
from now with the heat
waning, the very same moon'll spot

the figure of him
making past Neptune, The Ritz
the orange jumpsuits
hopping off trucks to sweep
and spray, hosing
down those electric sheets!



you see
                      then hear

-- from my pillow the bedroom
window, now and then,



the sky letting loose a distant
ripple of sound
                        -- another electric night
in June
                while in the current of the Oder River trees
are like toothpicks
as cattle circle ponds once pastures, banks over-
as precious books
                                drip dry
on clothelines
in the Czech Republic, the summer
freakish . . . And me

sleepless in Spain, the words   neuron   synapse   dendrite
skittering across my mind --
the dome of the sky is night's brain

before I rise, reaching
for the switch, sliding
into slippers

and head for the fridge, remembering
what I wondered as a child
whenever I opened and shut

their doors: what happens when I
close it, does it stay
on? . . . and what I would normally

do -- peel off
the aluminum seal, slip

the spoon in ignoring
the layer of liquid
on top, begin to eat -- I do

different this time: am I thinking
of Father Dan, who, back home,
had buried her?
                            how in the months that followed
I watched him raise a chalice
every morning
to his lips

so that I raise this cup of yoghurt to mine,
whiffing the flavor
a second before savoring it? -- is it this "juice"

on my tongue
or how the two inter-

lace?: the smell,
the taste
                of strawberry -- the rabbit's
drooping on the pink
cartoony label, the straw's
neck like a tiny
                the way it curls
out of my mouth, my eyes
crusty with sleep --
                                still blinded
by the switched-on light
                                        while she
crouching at my bed
                            is reaching for the glass
as the slurping abates
-- getting a little boy

ready for the first grade

A clear afternoon and the Bay Bridge
like a bow
to Treasure Island: a view
tourists could buy
at Fisherman's Wharf

but for the smudge
clouding the tip of the Pyramid -- panels
deflecting the sun glint
through, as if a beacon thinly shrouded in fog
were blinking a code across the city

to this green slope: a park named after
a mission
                  Dolores                     Dolores
-- it simmers on my tongue, is
Pains in Spanish, is
her name . . . And beyond the grass

a dark-haired woman
in the sand
saying to a small boy, ¡Sácate los dedos
de la boca! Take your fingers
out of your mouth!


Francisco Aragon Former editor of The Berkeley Poetry Review and a native of San Francisco, Francisco Aragon lived in Madrid, Spain from 1989-1998. He holds degrees in Spanish from UC Berkeley and New York University. He has published poems and translations in various journals, including Chelsea, ZYZZYVA, Modern Words, and Poetry Flash. He is currently in the Writing Program at the University of California in Davis, finishing his first collection of poems, whose working-title is Gravel & Grass. He recently won the Celeste Turner Wright Poetry Prize, sponsored by The Academy of American Poets.

You can also read three poems by Francisco Aragón in Jacket 26


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