SELF PORTRAIT as retratos de cosas locas y de locos (stolen)
for Papo Colo
Shall we have cocktails while slipping about the
Edge of Catastrophe—gin and tonic for summer
Whiskey sour for fall. All is not well, yet sun
Illumines green leafed trees, soon bare soon bare
Our eyes prowl fence edges for morning glory vines
Our ears gallop from the booming bass of pumped up cars
Our legs move as swiftly as a catamaran in dock
We mock the heavens with calls for Paradise Now.
Artist perambulating the shadowed alleys of downtown Manhattan
Memories of dream dulled in punk and rock clubs’ filthy bathrooms
How much of what was is still now in the body in the bones of the body
Calcium loss teeth loose wrist smaller so all bracelets jangle jangle
Lips call repeatedly a song whose words are traces of tenderness
Yet, sung too softly as if only whispers could make the world hear.
Copyright © 2021 by Patricia Spears Jones. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 3, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
“This poem is part of an ongoing use of ‘self portraits’ in my poetry. ‘Retrato’ is ‘portrait’ in Spanish. It is dedicated to Papo Colo, a Puerto Rican artist whose art practice takes place in Puerto Rico and in New York. He posts imagery and musings on Facebook and one was retratos de cosas locas & de locos, thus the poem’s title. But this is also about a lovely memory of running into Papo on Mercer Street early 2019. He was about to return to Puerto Rico, and we said we would have cocktails when he came back to New York. Then, the pandemic.”
—Patricia Spears Jones