Poems by Arturo Desimone

Death of the Island Prophet Amos of Aruba

I changed the world a little bit.
I was lazy and ambitious, like a poet
Vast Venetian plans and a hole
in my lucky back pocket burned by the Aruba sun,
like a mischievous asshole child with a magnifying glass
was the true personality of the Sun, the Majester.
Ambitious and lazy, like a leaning tree
who falls, neck in the doorway of the sea, lazy and ambitious,
purple August halo
round my skull full of red May ideas.

The temperature of island is always sadder
than any North’s October cypress
On an island of the lazy, where people are only ambitious
in business,
sharks in the business of the dark stores,
of the illicit money,
fabulous glory
of accounting errors, kilos of flour
hidden in a shack on the desert island,
millions tied up, lost in a lie, a bet
vanished up a wide famous nostril.
Poison dreams of Tijuana Las Vegas Ibiza turned to stone horror
in the droppings of a rain-toad
or the truth withheld,
in a gulp of a matricidal pelican’s neck.
Fascism is a trickster full of people
who hid the truth of Charly Brown’s last will and testament,
but refused to burn the census papers
drafted by Dutch colonists.
Fascism loves people, a sun
purring, full of people in it, carved out its heart
to make a plaza, an entertainment center, a mall,
a beach club, a hat,
and there’s just no love.
There’s just no love to be found or financed in there.
There is no income tax return.
Because of honest love I was outside it all, standing in a cool
hole in the beach
But I did it, I knew my shadow
I knew the islanders,
the people’s shadow.

I failed
In precision, in wagers, my hate for the computational god
for Pascal’s blasé calculus aboard a ship of petrol and pineapple cargo.
no blasé Pascal coward
ducking the fate-winds
Yeah I was alone, but something tells me
I helped to blight back the evil.
I helped to blight it.
I did not allow my eyes blink
as I saw light coming down from sea
and knew Omega End had come for me, I laughed one last
hoarse and bitter laugh, but crying
it was only bitter
as an anise seed in my chest
cutting my lung, a blood clot I trickled from mouth.
What more can be said
of millions?

If the dragonfly lands on my face, I will hold him in my lips
as a soldier’s last cigar.
The firing pelotón, the squadron was always here, in front of me,
they were the village, all around from infancy (I walked in them
like a New Age prophetess walks in in Beauty.)
There was no such vastness at all
none to be glimpsed at all in a grain of sand.
In behind of the sun, walled up by my circumstance-man-pearl-necklaces, did I
not crave
then an island? Set landless
among the smallness
of one man’s mourning.




The Swarm

A tall soldier with a small axe leaned from the stars as if they were orchestral
mourners— and struck
at the frangipanis of the island.
Rain of tree-milk fell,
onto all the dreaming bodies
of sleeping Arubian house-wives

Lunar milk cascade
all of the moths who had first sighted their nakedness
and nighties,
declared the firmament
of the bodies of ladies sleeping
without sheets, a New World, though in places an old world

Judgment of the night moths, called barbulete:
The names of species are written
In the judgment-book of milk, lunar-lit:
Wowo-butterfly of the candy-mangrove
barbulete di wowo di mondi mangel
shinishi di mondi, gray wing beast of bone-forests
the night-moth, welek wowo
and the luna moth, they creep
and the stray strea, Starlet,
there is a starlet at times reflected in its wings.

Judgment announced by crystal trumpet.
Yet another dispersion
For the tree, like a baby left at its smoothest roots,
Alone could not cistern its milk
or let a mother get her sleep in peace
in the hammaka hammock rocking like a dream-wave canoe.
The Wowo crept into a half-open mouth
seeking refuge.

The word for night moths is the word for prostitute
in Papiamento
For many men, the word prostitute means refuge,
But the cause of their fugitive state varies its names.
Our interpretation of history depends
upon the order of the naming of these prostitutes—
Who was named after who, first,
The woman or the wowo
Wowo plural is wowonan
wowo, in any case, is named after the word for
The mourners, females, are busy at work, having trapped star-light with their
Go about producing evidence with their eyes, wowonan.
False witnesses to the celestial executioner of tropics,
Are in the moth’s wings: false eyes, deceivers
mourner murderer murderess eyes,
land on skin, transistor-receptor,
to import dreams past fat customs inspectors busting their uniforms,
Dreams worse than a blood-suck chikungunya fly
making human eyes close, and dream-twitch, and so forth.


Arturo Desimone is an Argentinean-Arubian poet and visual artist, writing in English, Spanish, and Papiamento. His work has previously appeared in sx salon, the New Orleans Review, Círculo de Poesía, BIM, Stockholm Review, and elsewhere.