Home > Poetry > Call Me Kaboom
Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Call Me Kaboom

He never figured he’d be this grateful
to the ancient Chinese or Alfred Nobel,
or whoever first came up with the idea
that, with a little powder, some flame,
you could bring down in an instant
what took years to build.
It was like a fulcrum
with one man on one side
and a crowd of architects and carpenters
and plumbers and electricians on the other,
and the balance was suddenly
all with the destroyer.
The creative flew up in the air,
as high as their building,
but they came down quickly after,
landed, with a great noise, on their heads.
He loved the sheer lawlessness
of the flame, the shrieks, the mad running
and the way nothing would be like it
was before, even if they rebuilt,
even if more were born to replace
the burning, the screaming, the dead.
This was bigger than love, bigger than faith.
Sirens rang. People wiped blood from their faces.
Eyes burst like glass to further his vision.
Were those genitals soaring higher
than the stunned pigeons?
Was that a brain wobbling in the red sky
like a cloud?
A thousand years of people’s lives
was all coming down around him:
ankle smack, chain splinter, bone bust,
food splatter, spine shatter, clothes sear,
and so on and so on
like the twelve days of how do we make this
so that everybody gets their fair share.
Before he melted, he tried to say “God”
but it came out “Wow!”
When the smoke cleared,
only the rest of the world stood between
him and nothing.

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