Yellow Mama Archives II

Juan Mobili

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Mobili, Juan
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Birdly

 

by Juan Mobili


 

Compared to a microbe the sparrow on the ledge

is bigger than a dragon, yet it is not what they can see

that the villagers fear, their chests beating faster

 

than starlings. Even gratitude moves quietly,

afraid to catch the attention of a falcon

scanning the landscape for a snack.

 

These days our ears seek familiar sounds,

the mailman’s truck stopping at our driveway,

the rustling of our mail finding its nest.

 

When the invisible is done taking what it will take,

I wish to breathe the way a cardinal does

when the squirrels are done marauding every bird feeder.



El Río de la Plata

 

by Juan Mobili

 

The river never asked

for them, busy like a mother

who stares at the school bus

driving her children

to another uncertain day,

 

but it conceded

to welcome their bodies

cast from airplanes

dictatorships disposing

from incriminating evidence,

 

a body of water

cajoled to be an accomplice,

accepting to be

a cradle,

 

a resting place

it never wished to be,

 

a river forced

to care for my friend’s bones.



A Greek Family

 

by Juan Mobili

 

 

My God! My son

lives a life that puts 

the Odyssey to shame,

 

and I am tied to a 

mast, bound for home,

to my wife, who goes on

 

weaving and unweaving

to hold suitors at bay,

hoping I am still the king

 

she married before Troy

became such a long gig,

and family took a mythic toll.



At the Birds’ Bar

 

By Juan Mobili

 

 

It is mostly old timers in the afternoon,

no one sings, but a robin always slips a quarter

in the jukebox and plays “Summer Wind”

 

by Frank Sinatra. A hummingbird decides

he wants to buy me a drink, Bartender,

two double nectars on the rocks, please.

 

His feathers seem heavy on his tiny spine,

almost ready to retire, but unsure

when the breeze will hint that it is over,

 

unpreoccupied whether the flowers

will remember how much he cherished

them, or not.



 

 

Dreaming a Little

 

by Juan Mobili

 

 

I know I dream but wake up often,

what was vivid

comes apart like dandelions clocks,

 

the voices begin to blur their words,

then, the faces burn away like old films

at the movie house

 

when we were kids

and spend our Saturdays,

until we were expelled

 

for launching cheap chocolate

at the screen that melted

like tears on Dracula’s pale cheeks.



Rudy

 

by Juan Mobili

 

Rudy traded in his big ass Cadillac every year, the Christmas we met it was a cocoa-brown Eldorado.

 

Rudy was Rodolfo in Argentina, but that was way back, when he was a kid living with his father in a pensión in Buenos Aires, in a room so small they had to push two lousy cots out of the way to open the door.

 

By now, Rudy had a beautiful house in a fancy town in Long Island, a lawn more manicured than Lana Turner’s, and a state-of-the-art grill where he cooked his favorite chorizos.

 

Every time he parked his Cadillac in his driveway, he made sure he locked it.

 

When poverty sunk its teeth in you, it does not let go.



Watching Argentinian Thrillers

 

by Juan Mobili

 


The heroes are always smoking

and the heroines,
                            often,
recite their monologues
in their skimpy underwear.

 

The villains can be,
                                as predictable,

as life has never been.


—the separation of good

and evil as unimpeachable

                                            as immaculately

distinct, as you hope God,

family and country could be.


In the final scene,

the good guy’s gunned down

before squeezing

                             a single shot.


He bleeds away,

                            next to the rare fox
the bad guy intended
to sell off in the black market.

 

In the end,

nihilism trumps heroics.

                                         What a film!





Juan Pablo Mobili was born in Buenos Aires and adopted by New York. His poems appeared in The American Journal of PoetryThe Worcester Review, Impspired (UK), The Wild Word (Germany), and Otoliths (Australia), among others. His work received an Honorable Mention from the International Human Rights Art Festival, and multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. His chapbook, Contraband, was published this year.



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