James Cervantes


Rococo is mentioned at the same time ornate is mentioned.
The customizer is a customer for mass customization.
One doesn't ask why a neighbor looks stricken and throws a suitcase into her car.
A November moment when people side-step into the sun from shade gone bitter
and recall July when they side-stepped into the shade.
There is a kind of hurrying-back. One seeks elucidation
and has recourse to television. Breaking news might explain,
or an interrupted game. Still at the same party
where three women here and two men over there
speak at the same time, you feel deflated in your clothes.
There is always distraction. The show called "Tourist Planet"
is remembered by looking out the window just to see.
Or an old man addresses his johnson:
"You can get rid of wrinkles. So? Big deal."

Puffball Acceptance

I receive this communication irresistibly, still more so
its contents as I cross the lawn to Dora
sitting on a garden-seat under a lilac. I connect
with one of the learned professions of boats;
a favorable wind blowing, the signals for sailing
at her life upon her: to curl her hair, make sorrow,
hope, or disappointment. My heart turns

when she shows it to me. It was a town on the Upper Rhine.
Glancing around, I make a suitable reply. I observe how she rises
as tarnished as the others. We grasp each other
by the hand again, fatigued, attended by a modest
little parlor-maid in blue. "No. no," cries Emily,
clasping her hands together. "It must be passionless air,
that it seemed as if nothing could disturb."


A new style does not necessarily recapitulate an older one, but it's interesting in costume: In back, begin at the nape of the neck with a daring mix of feathery reds and purples, becoming more profuse at mid-spine, then a progression of new chords at the coccyx in luminescent greens and blues that trail a bit on the floor. The front: black sleeves from armpit to wrist, black leg-wraps from groin to ankle, an attenuated rich plum vest whose top is just below the breastbone (male or female), is unbuttoned (no buttons anyway), and spreads so that about four inches of abdomen are visible down to the pelvic bone where the inverted V of the vest focuses the eye inevitably on the V of the genital area, where pubic hair is shaved and replaced by a clutch of delicate ribbons that provide glimpses of genitalia (male or female), overtly and covertly. The ribbons, however, are not a lubricant.

James Cervantes was the editor of The Salt River Review for thirteen years. His latest book, Temporary Meaning, is available from Hamilton Stone Editions. Other books include The Headlong Future, The Year Is Approaching Snow, and Changing The Subject, a dialogue in poems with Halvard Johnson. Beginning with the July issue, he is now poetry editor for Sol, an online literary magazine out of San Miguel de Allende.
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