Poetry - Issue 18 | June 2013

Two Poems by Mike Alexander


Ciudad de los Perros

San Miguel de Allende
i
Our pastoral tableaux, recounting sheep,
exist on the coyote side of town.
The restoration promised us in sleep
& the awakening to follow dawn

exist on the coyote side of town.
Here, in our cloister, we heard a howling
& the awakening to follow, dawn
crouched in its threshold, darkly prowling.

Here, in our cloister, we heard a howling.
Every doorway sported its Anubis
crouched in its threshold, darkly prowling
its wary streets, night-cobbled abyss.

Every doorway sported its Anubis,
a Cerberus, voicing all its vices,
its wary streets, night-cobbled abyss.
We listened & learned to know its voices.

  ii

A Cerberus, voicing all its vices,
the hymns of the hyena & the cur.
We listened & learned to know its voices,
the erudite, the willfully obscure,

the hymns of the hyena & the cur,
the drunken rage, the sober sobriquet,
the erudite, the willfully obscure,
the whine, the baring of the teeth, the bay,

the drunken rage, the sober sobriquet,
the nom de guerre, the elegiac keen,
the whine, the baring of the teeth, the bay.
Junkyard bravado & junkyard chagrin,

the nom de guerre, the elegiac keen,
sounded off our stonework, our façades,
junkyard bravado & junkyard chagrin-
hounded culs de sac, like insomniac gods.

 

  iii

Sounded off our stonework, our façades,
we clutched each at the other’s head, our tired,
hounded culs de sac. Like insomniac gods,
even the most doggedly inspired,

we clutched each at the other’s head, our tired
hackles up, we bit each other’s knees.
Even the most doggedly inspired
poets must earn a closure, make a peace.

Hackles up, we bit each other’s knees.
Centuries, we cast out the carnivore.
Poets must earn a closure, make a peace-
offering piece-meal to the dogs of war.

Centuries, we cast out the carnivore,
our pastoral tableaux, re-counting sheep,
offering, piece-meal, to the dogs of war,
the restoration promised us in sleep.

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About the author

Mike Alexander has traveled Mexico’s highlands, Vancouver’s straits, the continentally altered states, Alaska, US Virgin islands, Borinquen, England, France, Amersterdam, Italy and Greece. His poems have recently appeared in Abridged, Measure, The Nervous Breakdown, Raintown Review, River Styx, and elsewhere.

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