Home > Poetry > Jodorwosky’s El Topo
Floyce Alexander
Published: Tue Oct 15 1974
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Jodorwosky’s El Topo

_                            _I

Say your son
Left his mother’s cameo
Under five fingers of wet sand
In the Sierras,
You would kneel by his side
Like an acolyte, some John
Of the Desert,
Tempted but impervious to taunts,
Flesh that once thrust
Silken beneath your loins,

And say tres Marias
Slowly as dry sand
Drifting over the Desert
Thronging the Sierras
Where bodies slant through
The wind, where women cry
Out the red night
Suffering thrust upon thrust
From their savage husbands,
Weeping for their pale stillborn.

_                           _II

Of course my son will be sent away.
I will send him away.
_                                       _Everything
Is style.
_               _My son will wear rags
And I black leather down to poncho
And holster.
_                       _Horse nods under sun,
A steady gait. We are crossing Desert,
Are crossing bandit country, soldiers.

_                          _Where’re we going,
My son asks. We are heading home, son.
Yours, not mine.
_                               _You never gasp
At blood mixing muddy water in
The watering place. Horse knickers,
Neighs. Bodies face down.
_                                                _No-one
Has enough. Style. All try for more:
The General, for example. Fucking his
Franciscan novitiate, sends her dazed
From the hut, as his soldiers abuse
Her slowly.
_                     _Once I had him down,
My hand slid, without thought, down
To the blade. The blood between
His legs sprayed, spattering my face,
As my son sat the still horse.

_                          _III

Too proud to stay alive,
Sand spilling all ways,
Hoofs of the horses
Filling clefts with it,

We come to a place,
No going back from,
No going beyond.
Here is another, a woman

Like yourself, succulent
As oasis, who girds
Not my loins, but yours.
I ride on, sick of heart,

Sick of sun. Soon we
Will reach the bridge
Of rope I walk, while
You and your lover try

To push my body through
Frail strands. Your lover
Has a knife. She wishes
To wait on the other side

Until I cross. Hand poises
Blade’s scarf. Throat tingles
With air. Body doesn’t fall
Ever, until sun’s in my eyes.

See what's inside AGNI 3

Floyce Alexander has had poems published in such journals as Colorado Review, Contact II, Greenfield Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. His most recent collection of poetry is The Ice House (Red Dragonfly Press, 2006). Alexander currently lives in Minnesota with his wife, Karenlee. (updated 7/2010)

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