April 2, 2008

"Summer, Florida Keys" by Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Ricardo Pau-LlosaRicardo Pau-Llosa was born in La Habana, Cuba in 1954 and, after the age of six, grew up in exile in the United States. He is the author of six books of poetry: The Mastery Impulse (Carnegie Mellon, 2003), Vereda Tropical, (Carnegie Mellon, 1999), Cuba (the 100th title in the Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series, 1993), Bread of the Imagined (Bilingual Press, 1992), and Sorting Metaphors (Anhinga Prize, 1983). His most recent collection, The Parable Hunter, was published by Carnegie Mellon in 2008. Pau-Llosa has published extensively on the visual arts, particularly 20th century Latin American painting and sculpture.

Summer, Florida Keys

Count on the storm to steel the waves,

tin their shimmer and heave. The electric

cracks sheen the air, particle its vapors,

and the wind that’s coming has already

moved the sea, miles off. Shoreside,

we sense the sea has breathed in and readies.

Now, oiled by the hovering cobalt,

it simply rolls within itself like grain

in a sack a pair of fists is about to take

from dock to hold. Will throw the sack

on his shoulder, sweat will varnish his back,

and muscles will shift his flesh while the grain

finds its hourglass rules in the burlap dark.

We know the world’s been held aloft

in punishment, and drowned in punishment.

But who carries it and why, to make of waves

a granary, of turquoise mirror a shroud?


"Summer, Florida Keys" by Ricardo Pau-Llosa was first published in Ploughshares. Throughout the month of April, National Poetry Month, poets from the Caribbean and South Florida will be featured on this blog.



Anonymous said...

I'm taking his class on creative writing. Tommorow is my first day! and I can't wait to start :)

Geoffrey Philp said...

Learn all you can from Ricardo & count yourself among the lucky.

All the best,