Published on Academy of American Poets (

Palo Borracho

The jacaranda blooms beside the drunk stick tree.
Come. I see you swelling with nectar. Hear you,
Venteveos, shriek till night. Come. See me.
The jacaranda blooms beside the drunk stick tree.
The violent violet petals pollen weep.
A bichofeo sings of you with open throat and beak.
A jacaranda blooms beside the drunk stick tree.
I see you swell with nectar, hear you shriek.


Copyright © 2016 by Chip Livingston. Used with permission of the author.

About this Poem

“A palo borracho and a jacaranda grew across the street from my bedroom window in Montevideo, and when their blooms fell, the street was purpled with petals and pollen. From those two trees, these loud, yellow, bandit-masked birds would wake me up each day with their repeated shrieks of ‘ven te veo,’ ‘come, I see you’—the call that gives the great kiskadee its Uruguayan name. In Argentina, they hear the birds’ call as ‘bicho feo,’ ‘ugly bug,’ and so the great kiskadee carries that name there.”
—Chip Livingston


Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston’s most recent poetry collection is Crow-Blue, Crow-Black (NYQ Books, 2012). He teaches in the low-residency MFA programs at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Regis University. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Date Published: 2016-01-21

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