Poem by Levi Romero

Levi Romero, poet laureate of New Mexico, has a Facebook page I follow as it reads like a poetry blog, with particular emphasis on our state. Reprinted by permission, one of his dynamic poems below. Please enjoy!

Tres Copas de Chanate, Black and Sweet

¡Orale! Saludes de la calle cuarta
South 4th spicy street overflowing
With creamy joy and scornful sorrow
Resembling a faded watercolor painting
Rotting under the sun and growing tangled
‘Neath the billboard bosom signs of a new frontier

I have felt you waking up sweating
To the sounds of 3 A.M. trains
Rolling in on greasy tracks
Spreading across your innocence
Like melting butter on a hot tortilla

Your gold tooth mouth of prominence has gone silent
Under the weight of rusted steel and faded brick
Where cash registers on sang like Christmas chimes
On you black heeled streets bleed tattooed backs
In blue-ink penance for your soul
Proud, Puro Barelas~13

Your chapped dusty sidewalks kissing the calloused souls
Of homeless saints rising out of trash bins
In the red eyed dawn
Are fed by the black vein freeways
Dripping diseased America into your dirt alley dreams

Your complaints become rheumatoid groans
Of aching feet sliding across linoleum floors
Towards clock radios weeping Mexican ballads
Into the trumpet gold haze of memories
Too strong to stick or sink into the Río Grande mud

Me llamo Manuel Leyba but they call me manual labor

Behind the soot-screen windows and padlocked doors
of the Red Ball Café
Sit chrome and metal flake countertops
Frozen in the chewy silence of a Catholic Sunday ringing sad
A billion more still yearn to be served

And pickup trucks once danced
into the Royal Fork Restaurant parking lot
from Gallup and Farmington
Slipping through the honeydew sweetness
of ripening September

Oh earth goddess of asphalt and grime
Let me hear your hearty laugh
Flapping heavy
Like El Cambio’s storefront window adds
That fill my salty visions
With sweet-roll promises
Crumbling onto the dry tongue
Of my worn-out shoes

Levi Romero
(In the Gathering of Silence, WestEnd Press)

2 thoughts on “Poem by Levi Romero

  1. Everything I learned about poetry, I learned from Miriam Sagan, and I admit it shamelessly that I only read your poems, but wait! Where has Levi Romero been all my life?
    Que a toda madre esta esta poesia, brother!
    Ana C.

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