H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
Virgin of the Barricades
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.
[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Vivian_Demuth.htm.]