outside Naples train station voyuers' sleight of hand pickpockets at leisure scam your senses for an ideal translation where you jerk the body ungracefully exit to watch for illicit cultural exchanges making inhospitality barter back the body odor you sweat as fear from where you commit your intial act as tourist
flores! flores! flores! gaseosas! gaseosas! paraguas!
whispered someone's grandmother selling to the faithful entering the cemetery of fertile ash volcanic remnants of El Misti's ruminations that once fired the sky in a homage to pagan mortality
a widow dancing around the grave in a swirl of memories when a husband's devotion came to blossom romance before bearing children now she returns weathered and arranging flowers around the grave of anointed fathers dead and living ones entrenched in family obligations
a stick to loosen weeds around the grave marker the eternal home a debris of auras of individual iniquities rooted in cultural epitaphs cleaning off earth's backwash mourning through inebriation fermented corn chicha roasted guinea pig respectfully offered for another year until ancestors whisper
my eyes dreamed gleaming your eyes blinked soft purrs you peaked in the night when I left my monument in the side of your sleep then surmised another dream on a departure that scattered you across the globe seeking small favors from roaming rancid acquaintances the calibration of your voice a shut eyelid and a cigarette burning a sunset haze in my powder keg of misery
there are ways of getting into the Itza Peten jungle for this trip the White Nun is a chicken bus running a malaria quarantine
possible other routes not logical without mind tripping velocity where the bus stops at the El Paso Texas hotel for pollo frito and Gallo cerveza twisting highland curves dizzy into arroyo a glimpse of Guatemala’s orchid la monja blanca thriving in humidity on terraced hillside farms
at all intersections drop off pick up sign posts and flashbacks there is a delay crossing the river at slothy Sayaxche on a make-shift wooden ferry traveling towards yesterdays deadlines without proper inoculations or Quechuan tongue on native species any access to Tikal palaces and temples loom further away than when the journey looked auspices from an aerial view flipping maps in an atlas
still thought to be wandering some country though apparitions of them came up at local air and rail hubs baggage that looked like theirs was always claimed by some unassuming child or elderly person whom everyone wanted to help.
In their rush to get out of the public lines and tasks that pretend at being good citizenry voyeurs can spot one another threading the imagination in-between unspoken dialects.
No matter where the stares burn returning peaked and buoyant for it feels vacant to rush back to the same routines one might begin to animate an account of being alone on the periphery of sound or how one assimilated intrigue with the aristocracy and juvenile quite possible with today’s archaeological sites plundered by foreign exchange rates.
Michael Berton has had poems appear in Shot Glass Journal, Fourteen Hills, Gargoyle, Pacific Review, Yellow Medicine Review, 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar, Volt, And/Or, Indefinite Space, Blaze Vox, and others. He lives in Portland, OR.