Since Bolaño turned us all into visceral realists again,
we intuit that some cruel & unforgivable bell tolls ever near
but can no longer afford to wear watches.
We feverishly check our teeth in lunatic hours
& pry the discoloured lips apart, seeking for cold sores.
Light braises our guiltlaced palms momentarily,
slinks away into the minotaur’s shadow.
The ink begins to take us seriously and we begin
to call it Charlene.
Shit, I can’t sleep.
Liver & onions becomes a way of life.
We can never glance at Octavio Paz again.
We shout obscenities at passing traffic lights
& loiter in lobbies intended for lounging.
We fervently record recent encounters with undisclosed bacteria
in stolen black address books.
Several cops know us by hindsight & the arabesques
we perform on strangers’ balconies.
We chant Rimbaud in the shower while Lupe wrestles the shitter.
Our calligraphy is cryptic, our cartography elusive.
We opine over repeatedly dug dudsuds & tell your
     local frat boys
that Dylan ain’t half the man Jacques Brel was.
Setting the record straight, we dub the worry wart mortality
& strut down the street like we invented it.
The girls we Humphrey Bogart have skin like handbag leather
& never ask questions until the evenings are thru.

Infamy precedes fame and/or fortune.
A name to dissolve in hot water. A likeness to fan into obscurity.
Prolific periods no one will publish invariably followed
by interminable droughts.
Full body mirrors keep the jaundice manageable.
We forget that language is a sieve thru which inactivity
& reluctant boredom spill sloppily.
No more Quixoteesque treks through endless deserts
punctuated by villanelles & murder, a supine white Impala’s
slippery aluminum streak.
Instead, serpentine corridors reeking of burnt toast
     or burgeoning strokes.
Cesárea Tinajero, where are you?
We are now defunct.
Our books teach that “everything that begins as comedy ends
as a comic monologue, but we aren’t laughing anymore.”

They’ve been translated into 27 languages now that we’re dead
     or disappeared.
A spent needle. A seared daydream. A crooked throne.