[Scholars say El Salvador…]

William Archila


Scholars say El Salvador fits the cliché of a Latin American country;
broke, pocket-size, but applauded in aristocracy. It’s your typical
banana republic, except there are no bananas, but coffee black & coups d’etats, gangs & fourteen clans. It’s a backyard to big brother.

Studies show 1932 in that country marks the first communist
insurgence in the continent. It is alleged gang loads of indians
with sticks & bottles, with teeth & rocks erupted out of the ravines
& tangled hills like molten lava hissing down the slopes of Izalco.

In 1979 those with means made a case for displacement. I masked
with a faceless face did not want to be disappeared or dead,
so I adapted epistolary writing as my metaphor, but even this leaves
a lot unsaid, said the postmaster, 26% nostalgia, 40% politics,

20% sympathy, 13% academics, 1% I don’t know. Where is the poetry
in this I asked my professor. He said, you’re asking the wrong person.


William Archila is the author of  The Art of Exile and  The Gravedigger’s Archaeology. His poems have appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Conjunctions, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry Magazine. He lives in Los Angeles, on Tongva land.

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