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2008

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Neruda’s Email To Slam Poets
Tara Betts

From: cantogeneral@gmail.com
To: info@slampoetry.com

I greeted the falcon of death when
Allende sunk like a familiar battleship.
The glass, once crystal seabirds, fell across
my invaded floors in cherry, lime and watery
fragments.

My salvation was like Matthilda’s
warm breath nestled in the shawl
of pulse and memory.

My name scattered in poems,
through black silkworms of love letters
scrawled on the wooden fence
outside my home—
a utopia christened Isla Negra.

The people remembered this baptism
through words that caught their lives
like so many fishermen’s nets, like
the toucan’s beak wet with sips of
rainbow catching an eye.

The people said my poems were
necessary bread, fireplace specter,
a loving hammer against fear.

So, I ask you if ink on a napkin matters
when bullets dare you to approach a fence,
write simple phrases, tender as tilapia
like love you. miss you. Recordomos.

Please set the wayward pigeons
of your words free if they will not make
bread, provide dry shelter or mend a fence.
Please respond to stomachaches that require
more than beer-soaked ego when the points
they know best belong to bullets.

in love,
P.N.