Jesus marimba, lady, your noble rite
Leaves me with nightmares.
Jack the Ripper and Doctor Lecter
Have nothing on your offers
Of paper, blood and flame
From your well-traveled tongue.
The taste of midnight thorns from
Fragrant Yaxchilan shrubbery
Are regal semaphore flags
Fluttering for the coldest heavens.
Shield Jaguar with his raging torch covertly
Averts his stony gaze from
The barbed stingray tail dangling within
Your delicate hands, struggling not to wince.
"It is the smoke," he mutters.
To blanch: Unbecoming of a warrior king.
My department says I’m an ethnocentric brute
Who understands nothing
Of the demands of power among the Maya.
My American judgments have no place
Amid your holy incantations, and I will be
Ostracized like Socrates for suggesting
Our First Ladies should be grateful
Things turned out this way
And not the other.
From BARROW, 2009
February 20th is Presidents' Day