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Elidio La Torre Lagares :: Six poems

walking in Rome

male cicadas foretell the sun
the distance of rain as we walk
through Rome on the 25th of July:
the history of Empire

i touch the breath of fire         inside
my mouth birds peck at
dormant words            under my steps

roads lead into alibis for an idea of time
when tutte strada vanno a Roma

lady Cicadas, on the other hand, treasure
silence around the marbled stories
of Villa Burghese

Sophie walks beside me painting
the air              longing dreams
the world conforms a canvas              her voice
a ripe fruit that floats
on the Roman landscape

from the hills of Villa Medici the city
spreads like the wings of an eagle of light
constantly diffusing                emerging         somehow
the impending clearance of dependences
melts with the  gradation of memories           the precise
clockwork                   of stages  

with loss          and      life to gain

clouds travel homeless


The Roman Colosseum-
round as a certainty
or the eye of a hurricane-
was once one of the
seventh wonders
of the world. But, little
is known of it compared
to the years it has outlasted
time and earthquakes and doxa

if one gets closer to its walls,
screams sweat out of the stone
and fumes out through the
porous surface where the Gladiators
still wipe the blood from their gladiers


near the light my fingers redden
sedated by the hear in the snail-like motion

of silence we edge the evening
round the cappuccino at the tavola calda

your lips shroud your voice
under the smoke,  it descends on my body

like the wings of an exhausted
angel before I realize I’ve spent more time

being with you than with myself
-we should be painted on the roof of a chapel-

the smell of lemon, mandarin and bergamot
substantiates the fictive architecture that pretends

to fall upon us while God floats on brain
we deserve such display of light and shadow-

a Renaissance- or such dramatic
gesticulations and proportions

smoking the idea of home

we are sentient in the sun dust
sick and impossible
the moon bleeds buried
in that place by Via Crescenzio

a whisper in through the trees
piles up the bones of storylines
too elusive to be recalled

we walk in Rome
plucking clouds vermillion

nuisance thirsts

the water
we drink pours out
of a snake’s mouth
                [brass fangs like columns]

the water      tastes     thick

some water

we drown our lips while
a street accordionist serenades
us «Des pa ci to» in Via del Corso

hyacinths melt down
the city walls
-the city walls, these city walls-
that remind us of home
and its seclusions

cobbles stretch
scorching hot
                [our Old San Juan is a shadow]

we think that blood
is a relentless phantom
nestled in ivory
and marble

we marvel at the monsoon
gathering in the distance
like a scaled fish
swimming above the horizon

we find ourselves
spinning indigo
blues from our daughter’s hair

we smoke and smite
the idea of home

in Rome with Byron at Bukowski’s Bar

Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another
dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.
                 -Charles Bukowski

i do not have time for things
that have no soul, a word
that is causation for argument
as it is Lord Byron’s sap
for the city he and I love
like orphans of the heart

sitting in Bukowski’s Bar, drinking
the pretty Italian girls and the wine
at the feet of the Vatican City,
an involuntary but willingly act
of profanity from two wolves
that have sucked mother’s milk
from that she-wolf by the Tiber

Rome is vigor, Lord Byron says
and one of us will have to kill the other

the world is as fragile as our clay,
I reply. Byron tells me he might
have written that

me ne frego, I tell Byron

he wishes me owls and hubris
o’er steps of broken stones
and temples

we leave the bar drunk
while the women, rouged
on Shelley’s ashes, kiss and tell
talking of Caecila Metella
with the ghost of John Keats

love is, indeed, a dog from hell

Rome looks at us
with its hundred thousand eyes
of memories as a sylph palimpsest
aerosoled in graffiti

we contain Childe Harold

we, sore sick, at heart

like father

near the city of Cuma
where Naples dies in the Campania,
the mouth of hell gargles
sacrifices, wailing souls
and dead infants from which
Aeneas emerges triumphant
As a hierophant after his father
Anchises, deep in the lush Green
Valley, foretells the future
Of Rome. In Averno, no birds
fly since soot saturates the sky

Aeneas, son of Anchises, a mortal
who bedded Venus, sacrifices
a black fleeced lamb to Nix,
and goes down the deepest
shadows of Erebus and finds Dido
wandering in the great Wood
and drizzle destiny with tears

the rest, Virgil randomized

but in short, Aeneas repeats
his father, loves the wrong
woman and becomes the hero of Rome


Elidio La Torre Lagares earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas-El Paso. He has published several poetry collections in Spanish, and he is preparing his first English language book of poems. His work has appeared in Revista Centro Journal (City University of New York), Azahares (University of Arkansas-Fort Smith), Sargasso (University of Puerto Rico), The Acentos Review, Nagari, Malpa√≠s Review, Ariel Chart and The American Poetry Journal. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he currently teaches literature and creative writing in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Puerto Rico. 

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