Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mornings in Venezuela by Neil Leadbeater

        Strangers found them belly-up. Their barbed mouths were
        as if they had tried to draw down great gulps of air.

            Every man-Jack of them
        was a Xerox copy of blood-red ventrals.

        Before you go, she said, I will tell you all that I know.

        Aside from the oil, the gold and the diamonds,
        you will be like a man who suddenly sees through a gap
            between doors:

        the one
            half open
                the other
            half shut

        where the poor pound hoes into parched land, their one hope
        to survive all this, to come through hunger and be thankful.


         It was
        that I raced in my sleep
        to the sound of the long-tom
        the dollar and the rocker:
        dredges whose nozzles, buried in deep,
        flushed out jewels
        from alluvial beds
        to pay off debts
        for barter.

        Seeing the burst
        escape from the dam,
        I ran and I ran
        to the river-run:

        I watched the dross
        choke the drains,
        its pulse like blood
        in the seams of veins

        and my heart pounded
        at the empty drums

        alert with the fear
        of poison.