A l m o s t
F o r
N o t h i n g


Stew Albert

Comrade Pablo/

It's hard to write poems when the metaphors
are poisoned by dying planets of garbage/
and nations trade families
for shopping malls.


You summoned your magic
when hope and glory raised its red flag
and romance was unsullied by insight/
ah senor/
the air was cleaner/
a magician could fill her lungs with beauty.


We always knew the sad bayonet of defeat/
but somewhere
over despair
and nights so dense with darkness/
goodness was in triumph
drinking its innocent pleasures
of love without regret
and commanding us
"paint wonderful victories
with your gigantic soul."


Now your red flag flies proudly
in suburban theme parks
and wax museums
of understated horror/
and the soul's passion is stilled
by the body electric
telling tales
of parental abuse.

Ah Neruda/

Where are my poems
visions, dreams, pleasures,
the dragons of desire/
Are they misplaced
in the sweltering street/
crowded and crushed
by mangled ghosts
haranguing destiny
with their empty words?


"And I thought:

this is how poetry is born.

It comes from invisible heights,

it is secret and

dark in its origins,

solitary and fragrant,

and like the river it

will assimilate whatever

falls in its current;

it will seek a route

between the mountains,

and its crystalline song

will ripple through the



(50th birthday: July 12, 1954)

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