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Fernand Roqueplan

( Olympia, Washington )



from BFR, Summer 2003

_________________________




Immigration


        A diet of dream-chaff & circumscribed wishes; 
the glorification of moving on to receive 
something less better than nothing at all— 
then when dead perhaps a heavenly hand-out: 
here we moor our listing scow, fishless 
& there park the blood enameled craft 
reeking of the entrails we cooked to live— 
I no longer crave society’s time, approval, news; 
having wasted body & soul as a Marine I’m 
desperately happy to avoid moronic excess: 

             my grandfather cleaned their stables, hauled garbage. 

In my dreams he stoops with eviction notices nailed 
to his face—dreaming of riches, beer his music—our 
ancestors kissed their hands to those waving them off 
ashore, never to be seen again, yet hope was the pivot 
then the raveled sea dumped them into America 
with cattle’s lows & servant’s vows. Fields crops streets 
factories lines dens gangs prisons & breeding 
like a pack of dogs to swell with pride 
when one of us was knighted for acting dancing fighting 

             playing ball; hurtling through opened doors 

opened out. My family remained faithful to need, want, 
despair, duty, service, the church I left, gaining everything; 
when you are treated as disabled because you are insane 
you become loathsome surpassing your enemies—they knew 
nothing of life and so this poem is to you, whoever you are: 
crazed with hope, we paper our cells with lotto tickets, genuflect 
in the temple of the Dead Bearded One, pray for luck for jobs 
for love for life—I’ve never had an answered prayer until now 
and then it comes huge with hunger when I prayed for love. 



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