Part VII: “Last Lines of ‘Ángelus’” (581 words)
I finished “Ángelus” this morning, in 6 Parts, on a domingo near the end of February, but I felt it missed a 7th Part, since 7 speaks more loudly to me of finish and luck than 6. Don’t our lives run in spirals of sevens? And, then, there’s craps. It would fit better a story of angels working to keep us, by choice, from the seven deadly sins we celebrate in every magazine: avarice, lust, gluttony, sloth, envy, wrath, and pride, that’s the Nightly News. Most live in Vanity Fair, somehow, partying with supermodels and plutarchs, at least in our imaginations: at one time, I’d studied angelology as a respite from all that contagious local color up there, feeling highly sanctimonious.
I stewed about Part VII all afternoon, having nothing much to add, after weeks revisiting a less expanded draft of “Ángelus.” Then, I had a rain-tossed brainstorm, when an unseasonal downpour rang the tin roof, a carillon of cracked bells, right above my writing desk: since the last lines of the Six end in “Nicaragua,” I’d create a narrative poem for Part VII, by stringing the end lines together on a skewer of palabra-bells, entitled with the plot movements in “Ángelus,” providing narrative structure.
Voila! That’s what I’ve done. I’m very pleased to share it. It makes a very lucky end, especially since an “Angelus” is the tolling of church bells at dusk or death, calling all angels, when day turns to night, then heads again, hopefully, towards the dawn, with the help of Heaven.
A little judicious cutting, rearranging of palabras for bell-shaped poems, more espanol, apt punctuation, excellent dimension and even some damn-fine objective-correlative work, a la Yeats and Macleish: one very tight poem, I think, curious when standing alone. It’s meant for performance, as well as print. What could possibly be better? A tintinnabulation of silver bells at bedtime in dangerous Nicaragua: Let them ring!
“Last of ‘Ángelus’”
Mi padre peeks,
a duenna, as I bathe
desnudo in the río-crossing finca,
for ángel sign! Loco, he is, mi amigos,
even in Nicaragua.
Persuasive I am, one fighting gallo, mano a mano,
sin scratching souls. Papá, que pasa? What’s
falta? What’s arriba, what’s down? San
Miguel! Rollercoaster jokes, yet!
Ángel-loco in Nicaragua!
Perros y coros of descant gallos,
dead-drunk bolos roaring at midnight, Teote
slashers, all, con machetes; ladrones y putas bailando
en los calles: after-dusk-dead-paseo. Ay,
your fearful angelogia,
Have I no leathers
against them, no deep furs? No lit
angel feathers to cushion bones from falls
on stone? Look! En luz de luna, alone, I stretch, one foot
to chair antiqua, to cut with hand tijeras one gilded candelaria--
Glitzy spray of honeybees!--from elbows del mango en mi jardÍn.
Why risk, once again, my hips,
on my desk here in Nicaragua?
*• Obsession •*
want chunchas, mi vida, just so,
truly claro! I check it, mi Ángel, all the—
Ay de mí! Click! That’s it! Aleluia!
one wrinkled ángel de Diós
de los Estados, makes biggest fear come
true: esperandos imposibles from others.
Now, más ó menos means perfecto! Viva Nicaragua!
Con silver jangles, spurs, caballo y viejito don, sombrero in hand,
spiral to Ángeles, muy despacio, from well’s bottom.
I finally rest, con paz, mi guerra-weary heart,
healing, warmed by San Miguelito,
más ó menos, tranquilísimo,
one happy hombre,
Old Zorro at
ángel de Diós
de los Estados,
this gleam of
ó menos, in
• Dissolution •
un ángelus, sundown’s tintineo,
calling all angels! What could possibly be better?
When all things fall-apart-before-the-dawn’s-reúnion,
horas prior my “little death” of sorry sleep,
tintinabulas fight darker oscuro,
welcome mañanita light,
in Arcángel City,