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On Cedar Street and Conversations with the Capital Campaign Priest by René Jaime Gonz​á​lez

from East French Press: Poetry Power Hour by East French Press

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Conversation With The Capital Campaign Priest


I believe in God. But not in priests.
—Cleofas Vigil, Aztlán: An Anthology of Mexican-American Literature

Priest: En el nombre del padre, el hijo y el espíritu santo...

¿Qué pasó, padre?
Have you tapped all the pueblos for every last dime
so now you go around sticking your hands
in the pockets of the corporate commissaries?

Priest: Let us pray, oremos...

¿Dónde estabas, padre?
I was hoping to find God in your sermons,
instead I found your coffee mug in the boardroom.

Priest: El señor es mi pastor, nada me falta...

¿Quién sabe, padre?
Perhaps we could interrogate one of your fellow
card-carrying members of the viewshed vultures.

Priest: Gather us in the lost and forsaken...

Contéstanos, padre.
Those of the very bones you stand upon
to make your holy bones holy.

Priest: This mass has ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord...

Bendíganos, padre.


On Cedar Street



There lives a man
on Cedar Street
hunched over
an all-black
mint condition
nineteen forty-two
Royal typewriter
with clean lines written
on cream vellum paper,
like this:

A stranger is no more
than a man estranged.

Danger is no more
than the range between

painted highway lane markers and
twisted barbed wire fence posts,

howling wind slicing metal face plates
at a hundred and twenty miles an hour.

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from East French Press: Poetry Power Hour, released April 25, 2021

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