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Poem: In the Andes

from our poet of the month: Eugene Gloria



"Thank you and sorry, thank you and well / thank you again for believing the possible all / like a little river in a hurry to arrive"


         In the Andes where I’ve never been
they don ponchos woven like breathable bath mats
         and women and men with long hair
wear bad lids, a cross between cowboy
         and bowler hats. In the Andes they blow
on reed pipes which are really handheld
         church organs and there, full of faces
hail as in Sunday Mass singing songs of lambs
                full of yearning and remembering
their twenties in Madrid at the Plaza Mayor.
         Thank you and sorry, thank you and well
thank you again for believing the possible all
                like a little river in a hurry to arrive
toward some place that is a happy mystery
         from where I stand. I am sorry for disliking
nature poetry and sorry for not liking little children
         bragging I’ve played this I’ve played this
I’ve played this I’ve played this until they’re shushed
         by a silver-haired librarian who is me in a fable,
O me who is just a feather in an Andean hat,
                a little minnow in your clever pond.

Listen to Gloria read In the Andes:

Insight shared with S&H from Eugene Gloria:

"I discovered long ago that the pleasure I find in making poems is the ability to begin with a place I have never been before, while at same time claiming a deep and intrinsic connection to it. This poem was initially triggered by a memory of hearing street musicians playing Pachelbel’s Canon with bamboo reed pipes. You can say that the moment was sentimental, with the street musicians tugging at our heartstrings, but because we were in Spain, at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, to be exact, I identified with the musicians as fellow colonials, displaced brown people, locating music as a means of transcendence. Poetry, in my experience, is always interested in drawing pathways to human connection."

From SIGHTSEER IN THIS KILLING CITY by Eugene Gloria, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. © 2019 by Eugene Gloria.

More Poems:

Carmen Giménez Smith Only a Shadow

Deborah Anne Quibell Buoyancy

Tyler Knott Gregson chase the light

About the Author

Eugene Gloria

Eugene Gloria’s previous poetry collections are My Favorite Warlord, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Hoodlum Birds, and Drivers at the Short-Time Motel (2000), a National Poetry Series selection and recipient of the Asian American Literary Award. He lives in Greencastle, Indiana, and teaches at DePauw University.

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