Ricardo Pau-Llosa: "Caudillo Rising"


At first it sounded

like static, a quenched

itch heard from within.


Then the parceling instinct

imposed a rhythm,

and from that sprung melody.


The strapped captain,

the waxed-ear multitude

were old ploys that never


satisfied, leaving the leader

hungry and the followers

imagining what they could.


The rocks, the splinters,

the rags rusted in blood

flitting in tide’s butterflies


spliced together would make

for a history of the event,

where self-deception is salvation.


When asked, a lot of shoulders

shrug, and others say, Ask him

who hugged the beam and heard all.


How well we know the siren

is measured by how unable

we are to become one.



Ricardo Pau-Llosa has recent work in Kenyon online, Agni online, Salmagundi, Stand, Virginia Quarterly Review, Bateau, The Fiddlehead, and other magazines. The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame has mounted a major exhibition with an accompanying book-catalogue, Parallel Currents: Highlights of the Ricardo Pau-Llosa Collection of Latin American Art.  He was interviewed recently on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, as well as in Writer's Chronicle and Saw Palm.