N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  0  8






Virgin of the Barricades

––Oaxaca, Mexico


Oh, 21st century Virgin of the Barricades, wearing black silk dress

            and burning rubber tires,

I glimpsed you eyes behind black goggles glowing on a video screen

            on an expensive New York night.

Now, I wander the rough streets of Oaxaca hoping to see you again.

Have the ants sequestered you beneath the broken cobblestones and battered

            feet of shaken dreamers?

Perhaps, you are nursing the wounds of murdered teachers

            or singing to their crying children while mending your gas mask?

Perhaps, you are busy praying for the bruised innocents lying

            in dark prisons or have fled to Rome with other virgins

            to end your celibacy?

Oh Madre, far from the patrolling police, the Oaxaquenas are waking

            dreaming of you, their eyes contemplating ‘la ruta de evacuacion’,

            while secretly sniffing the silent air waves for the scent of burning

            tires, and wondering if the Native gods have gotten lost betting on soccer.

Dear Virgin, protector of big-hearted Mexican strikers, your armoured

            figure which hovers like the stars above Oaxaca has inspired thousands

            and now the world watches too.

As the church bells clamour, I will not forget you, even though I finally saw you

            in a chic store emblazoned on a green shirt that I did not think

            anyone should have to pay for.




Addressing the Names


Under a moonless night

the dirty head of a woman--

her body buried in sand

waits for the deadly sentence

while she moans to the stars:

My child, my child.”


In a dust devil of wind,

a white shrouded woman--

a camera around her neck,

dances before the crying woman

snapping photographs.

Neither notices the army of protesters

nor the tremors of politicians

that rupture the murderous ground.


Later, TV rooms broadcast a woman

walking in circles celebrating:

My child, my child, Im free,

but many others have died.

It is impossible to know whether

the woman who has been photographed

is the same woman now free.


There are galaxies of names

crying out like comets

falling into black holes.

Only a few manage to emerge

in fresh clothes

traveling on northern lights

dressed and free.




Black  Hole


I watch the alpine night

alive with stars

who collapse like us

in a warped galaxy,

inner and outer pressures

unable to hold

our shining shapes

and stabilities.

Explosive energies

blast sublime tribes

dying into black holes

as we cross borders

into a hellish heat.

Orion watches our destruction

among specks of dust

in the dark aerial desert,

while our cosmic citizenship burns

in the big fucking bang

of another war.

Alone on a mountain

I shiver under the wings

of Pegasus as new stars

are born.




A Holdover

-for Eliot


Deep down in the roots,

an ember has been held

by burnt brush piles

of winter explorations

for oils carbon energy.

Deep inside,

the spark remains.

It glows like an eyeball

until over time

summers heat and

charged winds

ignite through the roots,

sparks flare in the air

in the blindness of night.

I awake at dawn in your arms

to the summers largest fire,

clouds of aromatic smoke

emanate from