The Acentos Review - Youth


In The Year of Swine & Tea Parties

A legislator—pure wit-cracker, all flop-cloth hat & jest—thought it might be a good idea (solution) to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog populations have been controlled: with gunmen shooting from helicopters.

If shooting—brass bullets echoed in the roar of a chopper, the ting of its blades against the chopping block of dusk, stealth scope’s sear on a supersonic vector, blood spatter straight-shot shooting through wild brown bodies—these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found an answer to our illegal immigration problem.

This year, new regulations in Mississippi allow wild hogs to be hunted, taken, killed, chased or pursued on private lands at any time with no weapon restriction.

In Arizona, there’s never been a need for a license to start the hunt—the state commission encourages all to attempt to harvest and capture when encountered.

Back home, I’m told the migra hangs around trolley stations & bus stops. They scout with perfected vowels, voices loitering thick (tonk, a word in their mouths as deep as belly-laugh, the sound a baton makes on alien heads) in two languages. The patrol trucks sniff out smog clouds, BC plates. Here in this land of lakes & endless white winters, some mutherfucker just calls me ese, touches my collar like a handshake, asks me my name as he’s getting kicked out a liquor store. In Detroit, the migra drives by with eyes that demand proof of papers & my mother’s tongue. Still, further—in Flint—militiamen train in packs, armed, ready, concealed blades stalking shadows of pigs, all treading fist, freedom-gear & camouflage.

Kansas has hunted [hogs] from helicopters. North Dakota began an eradication program in January. And last month, the Pennsylvania Game Commission ordered unlimited culling by licensed hunters.

The legislator apologizes for speaking truth in the guise of a joke, makes a promise to tighten his grip on words. A constituent hopes his words match the lapel in his pocket & not the motley hat of his tongue. Three minstrels in Hispanic-face stand with Brownback

& state his sorry is a gesture sincere as a pulled trigger.

I—too—am beginning to lose grip—a seizing and holding fast—of all this rhetoric

& nomenclature, of metaphor. I can no longer even tell the difference between a mock

ascepter & a gavel.

Esteban Ismael


Esteban Ismael was born in National City and spent all but three years of his life ten minutes away from the Tijuana border. Now he lives five minutes away from the Canadian border in downtown Detroit, where he holds a Helen Zell Postgraduate Fellowship. This month's fall issue of Caesura features another of his poems. Two days after this publication, he will turn 25.