Arriving at Our Age for Our People


For this day walks out from the bus
on a dusty trail, cloud cover making it possible
to photograph six faces giving up
an El Salvadoran landscape, and
understanding of what the poem might be
changes into revelatory storyboard.
Seared images in a collage of hats
and attitude, women in summer print dresses
harboring blue sombreros of courage
along with an exploration of memory
become a free will offering.
In exchange for this solitary walk
the pan flashing in rivers of sunlight
gives up flecks of what might be called
sustainability in a miner's lantern.
The canary sings! For this day,
all dust kicking up from heels
turns into new pairs of cotton socks
worn softly luxurious by school girls.
six images, like the six poems
that will last that the poet prays for
in a mixture of false modesty and truth seeking,
this is enough—river beauty dreams
an emptied out parable
handing out treasure to passers by
some of whom are children's
children children in untold acts
of uninterpreted recognition.

Jim Bodeen
4 June 2010

María Adelfa Villanueva, María Pérez Hernandez, Cruz Hermetario Hernández, Evarista Vallona Reyes, Francisco Jiménez Cesna: Seis ancianos de la comunidad.


That's the key in understanding
the alternative world, my friend says,
warming and warning my body.
That's quite a verb, occupies.
Whose Jesus? This notebook
cuts out on a morning bus
when access gets difficult.
A different world opens in a smaller book.
Last night ended listening to a man
talking about monitoring elections.
Vigilantes on both sides.
Guards, not outlaws, a false cognate.
But who knows which eyes witness truth?
Volunteers trying to see.
No middle ground. No middle class.
Company owners work employees on Sunday
so workers can't vote. Contrast that
with the love clap: once hard
with both hands. Kiss your fist,
circle the heart and open the arms.
During the election time
the person making Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises
contemplates the lip of Christ,
begging to love him more deeply
in order to follow him more closely.
Mornings, too, are marginal, Karen says.
Poems occupy the margins.
I'm certain of only this,
ready for what morning brings,
six elders be my guide.

Jim Bodeen
20 March 2006--3 June 2010

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