Tango Mar

Dieter, the bar is closed.
Yellow staggers in deep steps
toward the rattan lamp
where the bartender’s hands
await your empty glass.

Yours is a forehead
pressed by sun
into the perfect pink
of conch shells.
They litter the beach
with orbs of rotting

Last night you said,
“During the war my father
was only four years old. I
wasn’t born yet. But when
I’m on holiday around the world
people say “Dirty German!
Nazi German!”

Your twenty nine year old
mouth wet as mango around
your cigarette is inhaling
the world from a Costa Rican
bar stool. Your calves
clutch teak wood like an officer
on horseback.

Just as tourist
striking saddle you
halt beneath balsa limbs
sensing something dark
as humans deep within
their emerald shadows.

“Yet look at what you Americans
have done to the American Indian.”

We love to watch your eyelids
crash against your cheekbones.
Love the knife in
your voice. Just as we love
the Tico woman washing bowls
beneath her tin roof.
Her children stud dirt
with the mute look of puppies
by their sides.
Her rooster picks meat
from the skull of fallen
coconut. We trot by.
Say, “Buenos dias!”

Dieter, your comrades sleep off
rum in sea washed sheets.
You try to find your way
into the bed of Tico tour guides.
Their skin is that of angels.

We imagine the feathered bones
of rotting Sioux
across the great plains.
Weigh lakes a million deep
with Jewish Poles.
Affluent Dutch.
Gypsy Czechs.
Their children waist deep.

We press chilled coconuts
to our lips
they are sliced at the top
like perfect scalps.
Swirl the peeled flesh
of coral sea prawns.
And judge.
As we all will be judged.

44 thoughts on “Tango Mar

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