{1.6.15} so our children can study

Rrrruummm rrrrummmm

An engine revs

the only one

The soft, urgent cadence of a dogs toenails comes and fades beneath my window

A siren

or two

Powered up, only to be cut off

It is not time yet

A low hum in the air

Shopkeepers stand in their doorways, looking this way and that

this way and that




A man whistles 

A distant horn beeps, a rerouted micro many blocks away

Accustomed to the constant disruption in service to passengers

The people passing by on the sidewalk

Making noises like a distant crowd at an art gallery

Talking lowly

But walking quickly

As a skateboard lazes unevenly push along the street

And bicycles bike boldly down the middle

Paying no heed to a red light

That now blinks needlessly

Perhaps for the ghosts of diverted autos

That know not to come because

A march is coming

It’s a Thursday by the nighttime

And all the classes have been cancelled 

This Thursday by the nighttime

So that the streets can fill first with mourning

For the wounded fallen in the guanaco’s sharp stream of water

And the two graffiti punks shot dead

Two kids shot dead

Two blocks from my house

Two shots

Two lives

Two martyrs, now

For the march

This Thursday by the nighttime

I can still smell the faint odor of last week’s teargas

That plumed into my window

As I couldn’t stop recording

The jumping wearing red young things

Throwing words and fists towards 

Carabineros escondidos

Standing restoutly in a side street

And the other young things

Ransacked a pharmacy

With a street sign for a battering ram

Absconding confusedly with baby diapers

Throwing toothpaste to the wind

Where discarded caution had long ago mixed with the veil of teargas

As the dictatorship’s prisoners

In wheelchairs 

With hands clasped by arms clasped by hands

Became a penguin huddle burrito

Supporters converging to protect

Tortilla of a sign around reading “hunger strike for justice”

Paint running

In the harsh spray of the guanaco

Bad taps are played by a boy

silhouetted in his living room window

On the seventh floor

They squawk

And fizzle

a siren


And the taps tootle a retort


The seething energy of the street dissipated some

The tension releasing

With the wait for the marchers who should just come already

Their incessant drums still too far off to hear

The taps are muffled now

Most storefronts metal curtained shut

Revealing the graffiti of long ago: 

“que se vaya fidel castro” 



the incomprehensible melding effortlessly with the political

In the open street, pedestrians walk timidly

Crossing dangerously mid-block

Still looking both ways

And the marchers are here

The first you hear

Are the cymbals and the pulsing drums

And a voice threading through what’s left of the street noise

A marching chant song

A man takes over

With a Message

“No más impunidad!” 

No more impunity

“Porteños, porteñas salen a marchas

para que sus hijos puedan estudiar”

Context: Violent protests in Valpariso leave one student in critical condition

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