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Vox Populi for the Marooned

By Vincent Toro

--After Julia De Burgos and Mahmoud Darwish

Like a charm of goldfinches we will gather. We will gather at the sea
crest and inside toppled cubicles, drawing upon this horizon of shady
treaties and chemical weapons depots as if cajoled toward the coast

by the sheen of a lighthouse. We will gather upon the terraces
of a crumbling metropolis and along the dunes of Atacama, Mojave,
Kalahari. We will gather like tectonic tremors echoing in the caterwauls

of beggars in Fresno and cancer stricken housewives in Beijing, quantize
this throng of lamentations into a rumba. Shirking the title of rabble,
we will gather the rubble from the sewer grates and flooded cellars
of Palestine and Fukushima, of Detroit and La Paz, and we will tether

the scintilla of plywood and plastic into a hope shrouded oasis. We will
gather not like mold or like flies, but like tidal waves or skate punks
darksliding the rim of a jilted pool. We will gather to consider how

the scent of baked bread can travel effortlessly across epochs when no
barricades are raised along fairways and boulevards. We will gather
beckoned by a mammoth hunger. We will share blankets and soup

with our enemies, and we will remind the unwitting that all are deserving
of honey and soap. We will carve up this night with candles and canticles.
The splintering of our tibias will spark the lovelorn to squawk. We will

gather like pigeons on dead phone lines. We will be a bog of gleaming
skin skimming through blizzards promulgating a terminal armistice. 
We will gather in Selma and Port-Au-Prince, in Monrovia and Manila.

We will break nothing when we leave, bind ourselves like cloth around
a fevered chest, float across plazas like a warm sponge over a sore shin,
and become a shameless shore of sin carousing, a flesh tinted mandala

of static bribing the sky with the promise that we will gather here each
day until fear is in need of hospice. And we will come bearing incense
and peach pie. And whenever the wounds of injustice are salted in our

favelas we will gather again in the squares of Tiananmen and Taksim,
of Tahrir and Trafalgar, of Bolivar and Union. Like barnacles or fluorescent
algae, we will gather… we will gather… we will gather…

Added: Friday, December 30, 2016  /  From "STEREO.ISLAND.MOSAIC." (Ahsahta Press, 2016).
Vincent Toro

Vincent Toro is the author of STEREO.ISLAND.MOSAIC. (Ahsahta Press, 2016), which was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award and the Sawtooth Poetry Prize. He is a two time Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of a Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Naropa Summer Writing Program’s Amiri Baraka Scholarship, The Caribbean Writer’s Cecile De Jongh Poetry Prize, and the Metlife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Award. Vincent teaches English at Bronx Community College, is poet in the schools for Dreamyard and the Dodge Poetry Foundation, is writing liaison for Cooper Union’s Saturday Program, and is a contributing editor at Kweli Literary Journal.

Other poems by this author