Pablo Cuzco


Pablo Cuzco is a Latino-American poet and writer. Born in Puerto Rico, he spent his early years in France and Germany. In his twenties, he traveled across America with a guitar, keeping a journal of songs and memories. Now living in the Southwest with his wife, he has time to reflect and share those stories. His works can be found at Underfoot Poetry, The Big Windows Review, Califragile, Contemporary Haibun Online, and The Wagon Magazine, among others. 

Twitter: @p_cuzco



                    A ‘56 Studebaker blows smoke rings
          down a dirt road near Truth or Consequences.
          Lost in its own vortex, it screams the piston screech
          of oil-bathed lubrication—needle to the red
          —a savage, foot stomping, mad drive
                    thru the pillars of eternity
                              and the singing cicadas
                                        of the desert night. 
                              ::I am the driver.


          To reach the end of the walled earth—where the light
is squelched by the steel and rust that hides misery, the broken rancho
dreams that embrace America’s southern coast—the ports of entry
where we are detained, kept hostage to a two-sided misery:
          On the one side hatred—jealousy and wrath.
                    On the other—desperation. 

          I travel the wasteland of the “other” America
—its third-world, secret child—hidden behind the dunes,
the hills and flatlands—to the Texas high country,
green Oklahoma pastures, the red buttes of Utah,
and the Golden Eternity of Kansas
—to where the Rockies break the belly of the country,
          and see firsthand,
                    the Great Divide. 



          The reservations where we were driven
—the Sioux, the Lakota, the Creek. Our land stolen
by a ‘manifest destiny’ contrived of thieves who coveted our home.
Our lives forsaken, our sorrow tossed to the wind like arrows
—broken by savage contracts
          sworn on the promise of death,
                    coerced by gunpowder and deceit. 



          From a far off land
—packed like the spines of fish on the lower decks,
chattel to market—to replace those whose blood watered the plains
where America now worships its God. To build the capitols,
plantations and arteries of commerce. On an endless road.
Never repatriated, never compensated. Captured for an eternity
          —or until we come to our own—
                    full circle to freedom. 



          Lured across the Pacific with the promise of fortune.
—Shanghaied to San Francisco, Seattle and a barbaric coast.
To work the railroads, the gold mines. To build the backbone
of the West—a dream for the cowboy and the steer—
Chicago and the meat packers  ::beaten down
in coolie camps, deprived of family—celibate by law
—to limit integration into an America kept white
          by self-determinism
                    and fear. 


                              ::I am the driver

          Into the glare of a sunset-tinted windshield, I seek home
—I search the sky but find only the ghettos and the barrios,
where my people are segregated into diversity.
The aroma of
manteca, red sorghum, white maize,
beans and rice, and the sound of children, fill the air.
Our future, to be determined. Our past, a long line
of contradiction—freedom in captivity—prosperity
          in relative poverty—equality,
                    measured by our ability
                              to remain silent. 
                              ::I am the driver 

                    ...but my wheels spin.
          With my compass stolen,
                    I turn circles in the sand. 

                              ::I am the driver

                    ...who looks ahead from the past—
to see if this dirt road might lead to somewhere
                    beyond the pillars of eternity
                              and the singing cicadas
                                        of the desert night.

© The Acentos Review 2018