In conjunction with cul-de-sac, the literary magazine of College of the Canyons, Automata is publishing student work for the next two weeks. Last week, we featured a short story by Melissa Demirel. This week, we're featuring two poems by Aldo Moreno. You can read Aldo's thoughts on writing these poems here.
America My Love
Your promises don’t fill me anymore:
your Nebraska fields, your Grand Tetons.
Tell me what the men of Rushmore look out to.
Is it your great Pacific blue?
Or the bushels of corn,
the golden miles of wheat,
John Henry and the bodies,
the crisscross tracks.
don’t give me your lip service,
don’t give me the cash between your teeth,
guns like flags of rage,
the pigs by the millions,
driven into earth.
it’s your stubbornness, your resolve,
that hurts me more.
Don’t you wonder?
Don’t you dream?
Remember the moon?
Don’t tell me it was faked.
Don’t you want to believe?
Don’t you think about those dark dark things?
I know there is nuance.
I know I am safe.
I know it could be worse.
I am lucky.
I don’t need to know everything.
I am lucky.
Eyes on every corner.
I bought Hawaiian food yesterday,
and I was thankful for your annexations,
for the way you look at me,
thankful I don’t have to listen anymore,
thankful you beat anyone who looks at me funny,
thankful for The Temptations, for NFL Sunday Ticket,
and the Sand Creek Massacre.
I know you did it for me,
I know you did it just so I could be.
Thank you, I thank you for the life you gift to me.
America I am conflicted,
I am in love with your eyes,
I cut myself today.
I too buy,
I too share,
I too look in the mirror and mumble the Word,
ask how all this could happen,
and then drown drown drown,
like a worm fights before the drain,
like the iron hull of a ship, bent
and reaching for the water’s edge.
El Sordo’s Final Words
Inspired by For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
We laugh at death because there is nothing left to do.
Spanish hills, in a Spanish war, that kills Spanish boys.
I never knew the sound a bomber makes,
like someone unzipped the sky
and let a scream of cold pressure out,
but now, knee high in a trench,
it’s all I wait for — my eyes turned to searchlights, dim gems,
harvesters waiting to be found.
There are no more brave matadors,
no twelfth hour cavalry, no honor
left, just the weary dead,
the bones, the fields,
this broken sun that spills
across the land. For us,
the strangers say, (Americans, Russians, Germans),
for us, they fight this Spanish war,
for us, they fuck our Spanish girls, spill our wine
like the blood that runs clean from these mountains.
For us, they leave boys to die, without even a God
to pray to, because we too, yes we killed God too.
We laugh at death because it gives us nothing.
Tonight bullets will roll among the chatter
of men as we lean towards the sky,
Spanish lives left to die, like dry pine needles,
crushed and laughing, on a Spanish hillside.
Aldo Moreno is a student at College of the Canyons. Read his thoughts on writing these poems here.
Photo by Ryan James Christopher on Unsplash
Published June 4th, 2018