SWIFT Songs from the Land of Giants – By George Angel

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Pic by Alexander Grey

 

 

Just Another Child

Between the trees
I ran hiding
All night long
Village to village to village…
Just another invisible child
Trying to survive

Between the trees
The stars are falling
The heads of clay
Splash into the river

Between the trees
All that is left are spaces
World in tiny letters.


 

Florilegio

Aeroplanes, what’s left?
Runway stains and dead grass.

Cans are made of tin
and words are filled with flowers.
Songs bloom from within
and the sky is blue for hours.

Flying things, vessels.
Seeds and string, to carry.

A stone that wouldn’t budge
dreams hurling through the starkness.
The days of drab and drudge
have crumbled into dark glass.

Daisy-chains, can dangle.
Fallen rain, flows out through.

Windowsills collect the things
that can’t see empty patches.
Daffodils refuse to sing
the sparrows to their branches.


 

Nooks and Crannies

I’ve been out negotiating.
Choosing what I’m going to lose.
I’ve been finding nooks and crannies.
Can no longer use what I can’t carry.
Can no longer afford to tell the truth.
Don’t want to dig if I ain’t buried.

I’ve been out negotiating.
Trading hands for an elbow.
I’ve been out negotiating.
If you don’t think
then you don’t know.

Negotiating.
I give my eyes to you.


 

Descent

When you are falling,
yeah, you know you are falling
by the sound.

Seems like dropping
is the only way
to get around.

Who’ll pick up the pieces
in the lost and found.

It’s not the falling,
it’s the landing
that’s really
got me down.

It’s not the landing,
it’s the falling
that’s really
going down.


 

I Will Get Closer

Oh!
The distance to cross,
the cold to breach.
I will get closer
And I will see
your face again.

But the long walk
over the stretches
of nothing,
over the stretches
of noise,
over the blandness.

Where it binds me.
Where it finds me.

My hand reaches out.
And the dark washes over me.


 

Starry

She’ll be ’round the new day.
Bricks and clouds will dissipate.

What did the broken town think?

Sink, buried treasure sink.

She’ll sing loud at daybreak.
And the sound will radiate.

Wrapped in aluminum foil,
their whispers remained fresh.

When the children come to play,
She’ll announce she’s home to stay.
All the sad mumbling will roll away.

Dingle spangle wrinkle wrangle.
Splay.


 

Everything is Pressure

In the early hours,
when the rain has fallen.

In the early hours
when the streets are clean.

When will we find a new place?

In the early hours,
when we can still believe
in the midday sun,
we will not be seen
in the midday sun.

Everything is Pressure.


 

Metallurgy

I will be lifted up
into the lightning.

I’ll break on the angles
of the charged air.

A cloud of unknowing.

I come rolling down
from the mountain.

Aflame, I’ll churn
and rush across the faces
of granite cliffs and back
again to the pale sky.

Leavening cinders,
looming sediment
woven into striation,
valleys like trumpets
for the bellowing gusts,
for the cries fallen from flocks.


 

How They Caught Joe

Weren’t you listening to the radio?
Didn’t you hear about how they caught Joe?

They took him out behind the factory door
They beat him hard
and they beat him slow

They beat his feathers
out all over the floor

Weren’t you listening to the radio?
Didn’t you hear how they caught Joe?

And then they tied him to a post.
They wouldn’t let anybody go.
We all watched old Joe
as the blood drained out on the floor

Weren’t you listening to the radio?

What they do when they catch a hero.


 

This Way

How long can things go on this way?

The street’s on fire.
Tyranny twisting down upon us.

Nothing else to say.

We’ve come to the end of the day.

Spilling blood,
that’s what everybody say.

How long can things go on this way?


 

In a Little House

In a little house on a hill
where the trees they all stood still
In a little house on a hill
was a childhood cold and chill

In the silence of the cupboard
In the silence of the dark
In the silence of the open day
In the silence of that sky

Like an animal
Like an insect
from the dark he crawled outside

And he had his fill of the world
And he saw and he heard
all the noise it could

In a little house on a hill
where the grass would let you hide
In a little house on a hill
where every day was just another day

And the sun, like a big yellow ball
It came and rolled and plastered everything
on the hide, on the side, of the little hill

And the world it broke the sun in two

Couldn’t look, couldn’t look,
couldn’t look no more


 

Titans

Giants in the underworld
move about at will,
breathing all the air,
crushing bodies underfoot.

Everybody everywhere,
just so happy as we whirl,
we can never get our fill,
we did everything we could.

Run in the streets,
let panic fill your lungs.
Let the moment go,
every song’s been sung.


 

Shoeshine

Are your teeth clean?
Do you have that clear look in your eye?
Are you going straight up, baby?
To that penthouse on that top floor?

Where’s the executive washroom?
I think I need my shoes shined!

Somebody show me to the big lights.
Somebody show me to opportunity.

We’re getting there.
With the sweat off our brows.

We learned to push
We learned to be first in line

We know when we’re judged
we will be somebody special

Just like Fred Astaire and Ginger
going down those ivory stairs
We’ve got our top hats on
We know we’re going somewhere

Don’t mess with me.
Don’t mess with me, baby!


 

Lake Rain

He was only there to swallow
There was no one else to call on
Find a neck to wring and fall on
Wind them up and watch them fall
Wind them up and watch them follow

Into the opening sky
in the moonlight of the possible

Watch them follow
Watch them swarm
Everything seemed to rise

And then it all changed.
The fall, droplets in the lake,
mere droplets in the lake,
they fall like spring.


 

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 a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Under the name George Angel, he has published poetry, fiction, and essays in English. Since 1995, he has lived in Medellin, Colombia, authoring seven books of poetry, and three books of theater plays all in Spanish under the name Mario Angel Quintero. He continues to write and publish in both English and Spanish. He is also a musician, a visual artist, and a theater director.