Four Poems

Translated by Miller Williams

I FULFILL MY PATRIOTIC DUTY

by looking at what I spit out
the chances are it’s a tadpole
one time I spat out a gothic cathedral
two North American aircraft carriers
three buses assembled in Chile
four steam locomotives
five nineteenth-century aerostatic balloons
six caskets and their respective cadavers
seven dragons vomiting fire
eight or nine hearses
and a whole hell of a lot of rotten tomatoes

INFLATION

Bread goes up so bread goes up again
Rents go up
This brings an instant doubling of all taxes
The cost of clothes goes up
So the cost of clothes goes up again.
Inexorably
we follow a vicious circle.
In jail there is food.
Not much, but there is food.
Outside of jail are only great stretches of freedom.

THE RULE OF THREE

Not counting
The twenty million missing
How much do you think the deification of Stalin
Came to in cold, hard cash:
Monuments cost money.
What do you think it cost
To pull down the concrete?
Simply moving the body
Out of the mausoleum to the common grave
Had to cost a fortune.
And what do you think we’ll spend
Putting the sacred statues back in place?

SEVEN

the basic themes of lyric poetry are seven
the first one is the pubis of a maiden
then the full moon the pubis of the sky
a small stand of trees bowed down with birds
a sunset like a picture postcard
the musical instrument they call a violin
and the absolute marvel of a bunch of grapes.