Poems by Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Paraíso, Summer


Hotel Milvia, San José, Costa Rica


What sun the mango’s shade permits is marked
by nouveau grasses and minute liriopes
beside a path moon-thick with gravel
and pocked rocks that balance the natural
with the placed.  The very code of captured peace
denies liberty its full wing, rejects
the trunk’s embrace of bolt or spring, of all
which presence, as if clocked by destiny,
bequeaths to an inflicted life.  The fulcum’s call
blunts as well the compass stab of design
to favor wind that sways the ginger stalks
and eddies mutely around the measured rocks.
The middle’s icon here is the passiflora vine,
abloom without choking, rampant but serene.


Designated Smoking Area


Doubletree Hilton, Claremont, CA
for Enrico and Nivia

‘The tongue is ablaze,’  Buddha, Fire Sermon


How they climb, these fools of trees, ringing
matter, spinning toils of fronds to choke
the miser sun.  How they’ve managed to bring
the vortex into themselves, to swallow hole,
dire wombs, the mercenary life, the thumbprint
maze we share.  Lost though rooted, they spread
as we along the barbarous ways sprint,
amber hushed.  Water and soil their bread,
the fire they steal from each other makes titans of weeds.
Yesterday, before Orozco’s mural of Prometheus,
I saw humanity ablaze, not freed.
The forger spirit unleashed, need rises.
What brethren anchor can we hope to hold
in fire’s stubborn world we embers mold?


Ricardo Pau-Llosa has published eight collections of poetry, the last six with Carnegie Mellon U Press of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the US.  He is also a curator and art critic, specializing in modern and contemporary Latin American art. He lives in Miami, Florida.



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