Stuttered Budding in Six Poems – By George Angel



I write to my friend

who wears his indignation

like a paper hat

he thinks makes him

look ridiculous.

He says,

“Who am I to ask

others to listen to me?”

But flesh is flesh

and fire is fire,

and things don’t

have to matter

to be real.


The properties

of ginger wine

are just short

of miraculous.

As I write,

I hope

he remembers

its taste.


I write

into the wind.

He won’t

write back.

He loves me

too much. 

 A woodpecker is silent in its flight. The forest has darkened all its wealth. He continues to sing, continues to humiliate himself. The king of flowers runs through his wildernight. His arms like pawls resting on the darkness. How many words it will take has yet to be decided in the vaticans of grief. The fire in the trees. The night of spiders will not condemn nor bless. He runs there nonetheless. My brother’s brother in his jodhpurs. Herbissimo Jupiter. Not daring to touch or spark, he runs with all his voice. He turns, and burning everything he has blessed, the king of flowers humiliates himself in the dark.

The Hinge

A proffered hand disparaged

snatches tulips from the flower boxes

on nights when even kisses snub.


The balcony has asked whether it might

withdraw into the parlor

to avoid the shame at its consent


Apparent, as a small village

of turtledoves is startled from the street

up onto the wires before me.


With much less force than this

someone is assassinated or begins believing

something that will lead someplace

different and refracted.


The trees brood.

Slowly tilting, the afternoon

creates specters to greet twilight.


A hand flits

between them, like a small fish,

between the mandibles of circumstance.


But the stripes of shadow

extend and thicken, extinguishing

the salmon light, however bold.


And hands, like flowers,

wilt, even faster than their intentions,

in the very act of pollination.


To reach out is to protrude.

To make contact is to dangle.

This is a world of cold distances.

Will I be singing of flying

when I fall off the ledge?


Birds sometimes fall,

and this hardly sounds.


A tired woman

adjusts her collar

on the platform

of a train station.


An example’s


is always more

than its meager use.


A blue feather

dances in night’s depths.

Again. Voice the silver helix of mother grace. Bow ceilingly rolling toward you the small hell of rats and children. Something, some white paste between the fingers of the child and she says cloud. A rodent moving about in the wall hind above head dropping to the ground. Riding upon a wagon well rolling she makes an argument out of her face and cursing is as good a hat as any feather if it is red. Ask the men hanged from ropes if the bridge is underway yet. A bowl is crippled, and as it falls the memory of its mother rolls around within it like death along the rim of a stadium. Tearing down the paper from the walls, the painted flower left bouquets of strips, a nest which it had puckered. All great trumpets have hit the ground and every worm has flown within the belly of a bird. Muscle tin pin it, rather still bud, under some pillow without its indentation. The child found a rat’s carcass by the wall and decorated it with the doll’s crown since the small porcelain head had shattered into string.


An Epithalamion for Tim and Laurie

We will continue

To stumble upon the garden,

As we continue

To stumble upon the garden.


We are doomed

To go further each time we go farther.

Our voices have bloomed

In the muggy blush of our ardor.


We will continue

To stumble upon the garden.

Why do these people

Insist on eating so much fruit?


They will change its name.

They will hide it in the mountains.

But we will continue

To stumble upon the garden


So we continue

To stumble upon the garden.


And though at times we grow too tired

For the arrival, for the curtsy after a fashion,

Laughter is passion’s mercy

And we have thrived on our survival.


So we will stumble

Again upon the garden.

Yes, we will stumble

Down the footpath to the garden.


Though it be flooded

With muddle and grime,

The measure of our greeny pleasures

Will still mark its coupled time.


Hard and senseless world,

May our joyousness be pardoned,

As we continue

To stumble upon

The discovery of our garden.

About the author:

The son of Colombian parents, George Mario Angel Quintero was born in 1964 in San Francisco, California, where he spent his first thirty years. He studied literature at the University of California and was later awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Fiction from Stanford University. He has published fiction, poetry, and essays in English as George Angel in literary magazines and the chapbook Globo (1996), and received the Nilon Award from Fiction Collective 2 for his book The Fifth Season (1996). He has since published a book of new and selected poems written in English, On the Voice (2016). Since 1995, he has lived in Medellin, Colombia, where, under the name Mario Angel Quintero, he has published six Spanish poetry collections, as well as three books of plays in Spanish. His visual art has been exhibited and published and he has also illustrated books. Since 2003, he has worked as director and playwright of the theatre company Párpado Teatro, and is a founding member of the musical groups Underflavour and Sell the Elephant.