Poetry from Victor David Sandiego
followed by Q&A
Looking for Muwadi
The OLD savior is a discarded sock, decrepit holes and stinking deeds;
somewhere, he walks a naked rock.
Daybreak coughs on the red rim of the mountain; ash
is cool in the fire pits.
through the gates, my vision on you (by the Elephant tree)
but my footsteps
are driven underground by a slab of sky;
my shoulder is dark bruise
My skeleton book:
in your fingers, you tear pages from my THROAT, the sound
rips the morning in two.
Pilate washed his hands with your ragged towel of spanks
and your resurrection
is a phantom, a cold candle stub in my hand.
Oh, the simple goat:
dribbles grassy dew from his chin, content.
But my stomach drags a host of slaves; the sun
peels the skin from my allegiance;
my thin creeds
are lashed around my chest.
Like captive birds: they are jumping, colorful, restless, noisy
and they too believe that they are ANXIOUS
to be free.
(brother and brother)
from the same slotted womb, fallen apples into the world
must LEVER the door of the old, old home
splintered back and enter
to SMASH with heavy panting sticks all that remains
but for the lynching meat there.
I never trust a road that encircles a town
a death knot halts the expansion of blood from the ventricles
for the slow resuscitation of madness.
We cannot live together
now that the scales have turned
into broken clocks, and the old, old house is gone
across the threshold. It’s a new era
where words lift their good leg to piss in the street,
and only stumpy guttural sounds
escape from the open vowels of their mouths.
So tempting to lick our sugared limbs; tempting
to leave the hooks and walls that display the portraits
of Grandfather and Grandmother
who wedded by the neck and gurgled a progeny
of reasons and excuses out into the uteral dirt –
to breed and flap the flames with newborn wings
higher and higher until we
(brother and brother)
from the same miscast fishnet, gasp on the flopping shore
outside the old home,
struggle to breathe outside the old home,
now gone to splinters and chips,
struggle to expand our repertoire of gills
To climb the neck of Muwadi
It is Grandfather’s idea: take the low road along the water
that encircles the mountain. This enrages me and I smash
his mouth with the back of my head. His teeth in his hands,
he sits on the edge of the bed to comfort me but I want
only to recall what happened last night: my mind is a blank
on how I arrived here in the company of sisters and men.
A blanket covers my modest groin but my wild eyes march back
and forth on a chain. I see the pinnacle through the trees
to the south of the cave at the same time my family abandons
me in their headlong push along the rivers.
Go. I must climb his neck. Like a sharp rock, he pierces the corneal sky
and compels it to downpour a tempest of tears.
Rodents burrow under roots, their crumbs and their thimble hearts dry.
When my candle sinks in a molten pool, I too cry for what I have missed:
the touch of a child hand, the death of a wife. But today, I put one foot
above the other on rock, test my weight against a mountain. From the top,
I can see the pointy scalps of the forest and in a misting distance,
the expanse of my birth water that once lapped my feet as I gasped
on the white sea sand. Yes, I may slip and fall. If so, there will be an absolute
free moment of weightlessness when I will count all my blessings, curses,
setbacks and triumphs in the pin-wheeling sky, earth and trees
before my breath is slapped from my lungs by the boulder I greet.
And I believe I will bounce at least once or twice before blue
turns black, and black migrates back up to morning
as an inexpert emerald day in a brand new realm
Victor David Sandiego divides his time between México, Central America, and the Pacific Northwest. He was the winner of the 1st WordStorm Poetry Competition held on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a winner of the 2008 Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize, and the winner of the 2009 Crab Creek Review poetry contest. His work appears in various journals and on public radio. When schedules collide, he plays drums with musical / poetry collaborative group, Band of Poets and Friends of Uranium. More at: www.VictorDavid.com.
Q: What was your inspiration for these poems?
A: Muwadi represents a powerful being who accompanied me through a perilous, nearly fatal labyrinth years ago. After we crossed, he withdrew, but left me with some measure of his courage. For me, the names we assign to guiding forces in our lives are less important than the guiding forces themselves. This name came to me as I wrote a precursor poem to The First Book of Muwadi entitled Sanctuary. When I finished other projects I was working on, I began The First Book of Muwadi not knowing where it would lead me. Actually, the manuscript was originally titled The Book of Muwadi until I reached its present stopping point and realized that there is more I will say about Muwadi later, perhaps after my current project.
Q: Would you like to discuss the role of received wisdom – religious, familial, other – on your poems?
A: I consider myself a conduit and an aggregator of many angles of perception. I simply try to be as receptive as possible and allow the stories to flow through me. This helps me have a clearer understanding of myself, others and our shared relationship to the world.
As I write, I learn. I usually don’t know what’s going to happen but I trust the process. Any wisdom that I might personally receive comes from being open to new ideas, places, persons, attitudes and customs.
Q: Where would we find Muwadi, and what is the climate there?
A: You will likely find Muwadi in the high central desert plateau of México, possibly in or near the city of Guanajuato. The climate there is temperate, a land of cactus, yucca, and mesquite. There are also bones and bodies of many ancestors there. When you put your ear to the ground, you can hear their lives.
Q: Your lines share an apocalyptic vision that calls up William Blake–what poets or writers influence your work?
A: The list is huge. My work is inseparable from my life, which is influenced not only by my love of reading which has taken me to many beautiful authors such as Homer, Dante, Borges, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, José Kozer, José Saramago, David Huerta, and D.H. Lawrence – but also by my personal journeys through México, Central America, the U.S, and Cuba where I meet everyday people and those on society’s fringes who frequently astound and humble me with their immense reservoirs of human spirit.