Wednesday Nov 29

PereiraSam Sam Pereira’s work appears in American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Five Points, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. His poetry has been included in many anthologies, among them The Body Electric, published by W. W. Norton in 2000. His books include The Marriage of the Portuguese (L’Epervier Press, 1978), Brittle Water (Abattoir Editions/Penumbra Press, U of Nebraska at Omaha P, 1987), and A Café in Boca (Tebot Bach, 2007). Tagus Press, at UMass, Dartmouth, will publish an expanded edition of his first book in the spring of 2012, and it will available through the UP of New England. The two poems included here are from his most recent manuscript, Dusting on Sunday, due from Tebot Bach in 2013. Publishers: Tebot Bach, Tagus Press. Blog: Sam Pereira: Poet & Teacher

Unlocking the Grave

I always hated spring, because
It ushered in the green floor
That everyone knew was bullshit.
You’re dead; everyone’s dead.
It’s just that some of us are more
Sincere about it than others.
In 1952, you rocked me to sleep,
While looking at a copy of Life magazine,
And sipping hot Lipton tea.
On the cover:  Hemingway.
On your face:  the desperation
To be something extravagant.
You touched my small forehead
With a thumb that seemed iron,
Hoping to pass on the one dream
Left in your captivity.  Your thumb
Spelled out Havana, and
On page 26 of that magazine,
Ernest Hemingway lifted a glass
Of Absinthe in your honor.  We both
Knew at that moment, he would be
My real father, while you sweated
The days and smiled at people
You despised.  The thin, carbon pay stubs
Kept coming in like clockwork
Every two weeks for your family,
Until you died telling us you loved us,
And to say a prayer.  I still believe
In one of those final things.  So, here
Is my love, old man.  Here,
With the caution of a gazelle,
Just before it took its last breath
Of African air, looking down
The barrel of Hemingway’s gun.
That great sport, Death, walks
Into the hotel bar, in the heart
Of Havana, and brings Hemingway
With him.  All the drunks
Look up for one, brief moment,
Mumbling the obvious.  It is
Only Death & Señor Hemingway,
And now both of them are finished.

Ways to Butter a Scream

Approach with caution.
Take the hand of the one
Presumably feeding you,
And bite it.  Forget
What everyone has
Told you over the years.
Bite it, as though it was
The lobster you saw
Swimming around
In the tank at Visouvio’s,
Just off the Interstate
On the way out of town.
Poor Visouvio.  His life
Remains lobsters in tanks,
Handled with grace
By poorly paid youth
In stained white shirts.
The last great redhead on Earth
Has left you.  Your own
Saliva becomes the butter
Meant to kill lesser men.
You watch Visouvio.  His hair flails
In the wind of kitchen fans,
As he drops someone’s meal
Into a pot.  There’s a scream
No one in the restaurant
Will hear.  It’s Saturday.
The redhead removes lamb
From a skewer somewhere
Downtown.  Visouvio glances at you,
Vermouth and bitters in hand.
Anything that lacks butter
Is bland and forgettable,
Like cardboard.  Even her.