Self-portait with the State of Texas

She returns at night in a flat-bed truck
stacked with scaffold and dangerous paints.
The canvas moon dips for a closer look.
Coyotes remember her from way back,
scampering like puppies in her tail lights.
Even the bones in the sand know Frida.
Her song wove the sinew that bound them.
Her brush, dusted with cactus magic,
planted their dreams into museums of art
to bloom as tea towels and fridge magnets.

The Wall approaches like a line of chalk
drawn across a board by a naughty child,
rising to a sheer cliff in her headlights,
white as the house in Washington, D.C.
where Eisenhower refused to meet her.
She butts the tailgate up to the concrete
and starts on the first of many parrots
in spectacles, quiffed like Leon Trotsky
bursting through a can-can feather sunset
that plumes into leaves and fat larvae.

Agave goddesses nurse earth babies.
Their breasts bleed the milk of lemon trees.
Monkeys toy with sugar skulls and crutches
around a volcano gushing Houston crude,
gardenias and jeweled hummingbirds.
Razor wire grows into a thorn necklace
ornamented with the pearls of search lights.
Here hang her hearts with festive arteries
that lace together a dozen Kahlos,
a thousand, a Frida nation looking askance.

By dawn, the desert’s drawn ocean blue.
Drone patrols rise up with the vultures.
A Texas Ranger Facebooks his selfie
with Karl Marx, thinking it’s Kenny Rogers.
When this goes viral, Fox News blows a fuse.
The President drains his lake of Whitewash
for the ultimate violation… but it’s too late.
A billion Fridas have broken through
his wall into cyberspace, saving screens,
saving souls and everything in between.

Shortlisted in the 2018 Keats Shelley Prize


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