Jul/Aug 2005 Poetry

A Poetic Tour of Natal, Brazil, Or, What the Travel Guides Fail to Tell You

by Allen Hope

A Poetic Tour of Natal, Brazil, Or, What the Travel Guides Fail to Tell You

Getting there:
The pilgrimage leads through a deluge of potholes
        —equatorially aligned—
where light travels at the speed of thought
from conception to birth
a lifetime survived.

A man and woman
lovers of samba
empanadas and Casa Valduga
ride camels on the Genipabu Dunes.
Single or double only.

Follow the scent of severed ears
        to where suffocation
comes easiest to those who want it
    and conch shells repeat the lie
that repeated enough becomes truth
borne by barracuda swimming to the light.

Recreation & Religion:
On the first Wednesday after Lent
dive among sunbathers
breathing toward the New World Order
of false promise.

Wedding parties disband
unnoticed    parroting    the flashbulb brigade.
Rice is best eaten
from the ground up.

What to wear:
Avoid hydraulic transmissions
wrapped too tightly
to reveal plunging necklines.
Iguanas should be delicately
As always, nudity is considered
warm-weather attire.

Health & Safety:
Do not mistake paparazzi
for gold and silver.
When providing the Virgin Mary bus fare
pray for her bloated figure
         —waist deep—
in the fallen scaffold of

The ghosts of Salvadoran rebels
martyred for some forgotten cause
gather nightly
to climb coconut-palms
praise dead comrades
and flip pacoca to karaoke tulips,
O how we miss our Danish homeland.


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