Three Poems by Mario Duarte

With no apparent beginning, or end, top or bottom

Lady of the lime green blouse and zebra striped hat, be honest is this the end or the beginning? I am tangled, only beginning to understand the simplest things. If you only knew what it means to see your exquisite face floating above the others?

My galloping sense of time wonders what matters, so why not read Dickinson to my waging dog. Yet when I think of you the smallest details count: your black shirt lapping at your knee, or shadowy branches stretching to touch your torso.

Be here now. In your eyes, I swim to emerald islands. Entropy with its collapsing space cannot touch us. We will live on the beaches, casting our nets on the orange face of the waters, and no longer dream of a world that disremembers us.


Will you show me?

Throw your arms around me. Like this, she said. She placed one of my hands on her hip, the other on her firm shoulder.

A waltz hypnotized me. She’s bound to be hurt, I thought, or I am. Her palms were smooth—lips blood-red lipstick.

Under her eyes, glistened midnight mascara. A patchouli scent charted her wake. Where was I on the emotional wheel?

My left eye twitched at the cut of her dress. Like the sacrificial drum beat of my Aztec ancestors, my chest walloped.

Inside me the seeds of death scattered when in one motion I twirled her around the patio, dipping her lithe body.

That’s it!


Tumbling out of the Hotel of the Sky

After roaming through the lobby of the sun, you emerge alone, as always. What is stranger than passing your doble headed in the opposite direction on a desolate street?

When the clouds descend their footsteps strike into thunder and lightning. Cholo, you must escape, swim across the swollen river and crawl over the muddy banks.

It always ends with you biting the ankles of your doble, swearing you’re the original until your stubby legs trip over your sweater arms leaving you tumbling.


Iowa City August 2015 039Mario Duarte lives in Iowa City, Iowa and is an alumnus of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of New Hampshire. He has published poems in the Acentos Review, Palabra, Slab, Passages North, and Yellow Medicine Review, among others, and a short story in Oddville Press with another forthcoming in Huizache.

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