Fall Issue 2022
Paul Lobo Portugés
The Bitter Distance
Above early morning reed tops tiptoe children peer at
my long black beard of encouraging thought. Hard work
Aztlan songs drift down the crying shore. All day hard
luck women pound the long week's laundry just below
low flying purple dragonflies over the virgin field of
weed covered graves. Half naked boys smack muddy
holy water for fat frogs.
In the bitter distance government guns crack and bring
everyday everyone to a few seconds still.
Sky gazing marguerites wave from the altar bright ridge
overlooking the lake of the twelve apostles. Pale deer
drink the holy water of slow motion birds crossing the
Tired living years of race wars, I wait for the bride of
you in the magenta evening, pencil in hand, worry-
watching breaking twilight fade off tuberoses.
I dream you bend your bodyline over the floating moon
and drink its cool burning circle. My shadow of manly
man folds across your silvered back, lust wet, with
your take-me theme of future children, golden years,
and mingled dust. Rivers of blood lift our bones into
ritual dance over the witnessing earth. A dark flight of
jungle sound passes through our mouth of dreams. We
cling together at the foot of a terraced mountain with
skeletons of the Mayan wind as red lights blink above
the white misty shore, our gentle hiss of hips, and finally
sleeping like cloud warriors.
Paul Lobo Portugés was reared in Merkel, West Texas, until saved by UCLA, the American Film Institute, and UC Berkeley. Teaches creative writing at UCSB. Taught creative writing at UC Berkeley, USC, SBCC, and the University of Provence. Proud father of two sons. Books include The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg, Saving Grace, Hands Across the Earth, The Flower Vendor, Paper Song, Aztec Birth, The Body Electric Journal, The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson, Ginsberg: On Tibetan Buddhism, Mantras, and Drugs, Breaking Bread, Witness (Winter 2016), Mao--1,000 Poems for Revolution (forthcoming). Poems are scattered in small magazines (Hambone, Chelsea, Naugatuck River Review, et al) and anthologies (Overthrowing Capitalism, The Asian Writer, Naropa, et al). across the Americas, Europe, Latin America, and Asia . Wrote a few films including Jack and Marilyn. Behind the Veil, Shakespeare's Last Bed, Fire From the Mountain, et al. Poetry videos include To My Beloved, Kiss, The Lonely Wind, Lovers, Of Her I Sing, Fathermine, Stones from Heaven, The Killing Fields of Darfur, Who on Earth, et al. Received awards from the National Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, et al.