Echoes of Past Modulated Choruses: Reset Poem #3

Don’t ask me anything. I’ve seen that things
find their void when they search for direction.
There is a sorrow of holes in the unpeopled air
and in my eyes clothed creatures—undenuded!

— New York, August 1929, Federico García Lorca’s book, Poet in New York

I read Lorca on a Zoom
deal, poets reading
Phillip Levine
that dude of rage
Diaspora Jew
I drank with him 44 years ago
Karichimaka grub, is where we
rendezvoused, me the 20
year old Tucson dramaturge
finding food and tequila
for the literary crowd

Levine met Leonardo
31 year old from Chile
Pinochet’s tongue of pummels
on his dark skin
Leonardo drew lightness
from the shadows
Levine was raging happy

we kept a light correspondence
I tumbled into dead Salvadorans
in 1980 as a beginning reporter
sat on people in my pick-up
Sanctuary Datsun and fast-
talking gringo

he read with my rage
Levine was almost there, riding shotgun
he knew los brazos
the flesh, held in pressed
fingers, Levin slurped
memory of agave
he in Fresno, I in El Paso
then Mexico, onto the Gringo
Trail, into Huehuetenango

young CIA operatives
plying poisons in Guatemala
this is 1983, and this is now

we corresponded
four times, spanning 12 years
promises of reuniting
like old skin, spider legs
puffs left in wood floored
corners, with rage

Levine wrote, harmonized my rage
crazier now, or, no?
frail fears 24/7
CNN, Fox, massive
collective amnesia

they’ll never know those Levine
lines, really, spat out, with working class
syncopation, this in a time of cancel culture
he’d be out on his ass
now, too many no-no’s, too much rage

he was kind
few words in letters
fluid, and fearless – tsunami of lava
volcano crowning
defender of people
one soul at a time

From “Bow Down” come “Rise Up,”
Come they Lion from the reeds of shovels,
The grained arm that pulls the hands,
They lion grow.

(against the backdrop of the 1967 Detroit riots and the Vietnam War — from  the poem “They Feed They Lion.”)

Paul Haeder writes about those in-the-trench experiences of people he has connected with. Ground truthing he sees as both an art and necessary in this elite-driven, celebrity-culture plagued society where the stories of those you and I never dine with get in the news. Working with disenfranchised and misbegotten people, he's been teacher, social worker, newspaperman, activist, and marginalized muckraker. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.