RE: A Poem On the Eve of my Father’s Birthday

“After Anne Carson’s Chapter III “Rhinestones””

Don’t pick at that Achilles you’ll get it infected. Just leave it alone and let it heal

Predating Chiron was Munung Virgi. Virgi Cared nothing for the wound.
She leaned down with her fists in her knees, said to him

Is Achilles sulking again?
The scalded flesh over his chest was a nasty mess of green.
He was crying quietly for his mother. She had left in rhinestones and lipstick.

What time is it?
Virgi wore white knuckles. She spat something out in Tagalag.
Achilles closed his little green lips.
He swallowed something that was going to come out. He was trying
to remember what had happened.
There had been steaming water, scalding. A yelp,
perhaps his own. From behind
Virgi there was the sound of his brother shuffling feet from behind a door.
But they had been steaming
Crabs. Out on the beach. His older brother locked in their room, Afraid
Of burglers. A beach full of laughing brown
Philipino faces. Bright red crabs, the green background of island jungle.
He wasn’t too sure,
but something was hot in his chest. And he needed
someone to tell him
Just where was she. The door swung open and they walked in to the scene.
Achilles sitting, blood looking
black on his chest. Rhinestones swinging on his mother’s neck. Virgi loosening
her hands, looking scared for him finally. His brother called out from behind a door

Honey, Honey , Virgi?
His brother surging in. Bending down over Achilles, His mother took his hands,
Pressed upon his emerald fingernails
Breathed deep into his ear as his father sped through lanes curving
along a precipice
to a hospital room and a nurse who’s eyes curled
up around her face
mask. He fell asleep to rhinestones swinging over his chest.
In the morning he woke
to his mother holding him, suspended, by the ankle. Green toenails wiggling.
Below him, carp kissed
the river’s golden surface with silver lips. A small dragon swam
between and through silver scales sliding against one another. His mother said to the wind

All girls grow up to be nightingales, singing out to a window.
What about little boys like me?

She looked down at him, eyes lost. The dragon froze into a blade
of river grass.

All boys grow up to be soldiers, maybe
And she dipped him down into the water, gold bubbles rising out from mud and river sticks.
silver scaled fish floated around
him up and down. He took the dragon, frozen into a blade
of river grass. Green like his fingers,
swallowed it. For good luck. Came up dripping and gold, blinking. Coughing up
gold water. His ankle green
from where his mother had held him. Green fingerprints
wrapping around.
After that, old Chinese women riding on the bus next to them would ask
his mother for a lock
of his golden hair. For good luck. Inside Achilles something sunk into a place.

“After Anne Carson’s Chapter VIII “Click””

So who is this new girl you spend all your time with now?

Achilles sat in the pine needles, rubbing gold bits of sleep from his eyes.
She really likes music. You would
really like her. She knows a lot about things. She reads poetry.

He watched Chiron begin moving
Put her out of your mind for now.
in slow fluid movements over the brown needles
of pine, weaving
through air and tree boughs. Dragons weaved through his shoulders.
He slowly tossed phantoms over his back
as though the matter had already been sealed. There was a flash
of sulfur in his eyes.
Achilles drew his eyes. Something just then fragile. They moved the least. He wanted

You’re moving too fast.
Chiron came to a still. A dragon spiraled back into his forearm.

You’re moving too slow.
He quit his exercises. Another flash of sulfur in his eyes,
then diamond clarity.
Chiron took the boy’s golden hand. They held the brush over the paper.
With long, narrative strokes
of ink, they shaped Chiron moving in Eastern fluidity. It reminded Achilles
of Chiron’s trained motions.
His eyes turned wet again, hinting at something green
that had just turned warm and fluid inside.
Chiron left his hand, danced in slow motion before him. His golden hands loosened
over the paper. He followed
the dragon lines of Chiron’s motions over the paper. Over
and over until
there was a page black with ink. Achilles had a flash of Arrows
clustered around Chiron’s heart. A sword
slick in his hands.

“After Anne Carson’s Chapter XXXII “Kiss””


A healthy volcano is an exercise in the use of pressure. So too
is the Coelacanth moving down there in the cold darks of sunken volcanoes.

Achilles sat on Chiron’s hospice bed pondering the cracks and fissures
of his body. A quiver of red arrows sprung
from Chiron’s sunken chest. Jaundice yellow scabs half healed
around them.
Chiron opened his mouth again. His memories had been growing thick hairs, obscured
and overgrown.
Paths of recollection had become lost. There was the red beep of a Morphine drip.
They had been talking. Healthy Pressure? Silver fins?

You have one cubic foot of water.
They had been talking of a fossil fish older than myth, relating its still lasting
and he had come to that. One
cubic foot of water. A dragon whistled through the green flush veins
of Achilles’ ankle. He leaned
towards Chiron. Watched as his head rolled back. His eyes rolled back.
The pupils sank back into the murk
of Chiron’s skull.
The white’s had turned from a pearl white to a violent amber color.
a dragon began
to trail out from Chiron’s left nostril. Something bubbled up like algae
at the bottom
of a turbid stream around Achilles’ center. A dragon was suspended in coils
between Chiron’s damp teeth.
Just as Achilles came to lay his head upon Chiron’s ribs, the head lolled back
into a gaze.

They all float down here Achilles. They all float.
Again his head rolled back. Yellow painkillers slipped
into his blood turned amber.
His hands had turned scaled, speckled with dark bits. Achilles took them,
wounds that could not heal.
There was silence followed by a shaggy breath of green. Achilles looked down
at a notebook of careful lines of ink.
“…There was some truth in how the Ancients saw space and how they saw matter.
But it is hemmed in by a separation
of atoms. All matter interpenetrates. Everything communicates, and our first movements are parts
of an undivided being. All times refer to one another. All times interpenetrate.
You share the breaths
of my lungs when the world was young and space and time were small…”
There was another rough breathing.
Achilles closed the book. There was another ping of red followed by silence,
A long diamond silence.
Dragons wove through and off of Chiron’s body. Arrows rattled
over his sternum.
Achilles stepped out of his gold and swallowed a company of dragons.
His mother stepped in
held and swallowed a breath of incredible silver. Stripped
Chiron. Took
a warm wet cloth over his body, where skin lay loosely on bones.
Achilles stepped out,
closed the door. Waited. People stood around amazed. Herakles paced behind shoulders.
He heard his mother from the bed.
The old pond,

A frog jumps in;
plop…

Dragons flexed over Achilles’ body. People stood about the room staring. Seeing
what they wanted to see.
He tried to look at them with golden eyes. Herakles approached. Solemn.

Achilles, I am going to tell
your mother they are ready to take Chiron away. No, I’ll do it.
Achilles, I am going to tell your mother they are ready to take Chiron away.

Herakles squeezed
the bones of his shoulder. Achilles drew his sword. He dropped his sword as Herakles swung the door open.
Achilles sat on the floor, took the phone, dialed any number with the emerald tips of his fingers,
told them it was finally done.

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1 Comment

Filed under Achilles, Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red, cancer, Chiron, coelacanth, dragons, gold, green, Philipe L. Rentería, poetry, rhinestone, Tai Chi Chuan, volcano

One response to “RE: A Poem On the Eve of my Father’s Birthday

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