Rob Packer

Anabasis & In a French Maizefield

Rob Packer

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So many have died or killed to get this far,

I act like I have too. Or perhaps I have—

had journeys sealed with sacrifice:

those motorbikes on airport roads,

those bodies at velocity,

or does murder come later with a man and a flag

who tilts his christs and his chainsaws at you,

wields round numbers into the superabundance

to fecund it with rattle-eyed prophets,

flapping and cawing across the monoculture.

Everyone has their horsemen here.

New braves drag booty and corralled men

to harvest by the supertankers,

fairy-lit on the south sea, as hawkers launch

glittering parachutes for the tourists dying to stay.

Down on the sand, a cracked-out Virgílio

mumbles to his Ícaro of defect and excess

in love, of fingers worn against the rock

that swells against the light and says “I am paradise”.

In a French Maizefield

For the Maya, we are of the same flesh,

wrapped tight within our layers of skin.

I stood between their rows of hidden gold,

those teeth of summer, my brothers, I felt

my eyes adjust to sun filtered through their light 

and raised my arms among that clump

of dancers. I wondered if this was what

true permanence would feel like, as we

bent and swayed and leant in the wayward rags

of a hurricane blowing out on this side of the Atlantic.

Rob Packer

Rob Packer is originally from London, but has spent much of the past decade in various countries including Kyrgyzstan, Colombia and, currently, Brazil. His poems have been published in LighthouseThe MothOrbis, The Honest Ulsterman, the Dear Watson anthology and by the Poetry School. He also writes a blog, which includes translations and reviews of contemporary poetry, primarily from Brazil. A pamphlet of his translations of the Brazilian poet Thiago Ponce de Moraes was published in 2016.

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