michael hogan (July 14,1943 / Newport, Rhode Island)
-Viña del Mar, Chile
Ascend those hills away from glitz of Malecón and Casino
where streets tangle around themselves and stone buildings
built by Spaniards still stained with blood
hold the damp and mold of age-old conquest.
Teens spill out of noisy antros and climb cobblestone hills
watched by bouncers with swollen arms and faces cold as gargoyles.
Below the looming bulk of El Castillo
gringa students fresh from Spanish classes
try out their tortured vowels on local boys
who smile and strut and lull them to the shadows.
What could happen usually does
so far from home (so curious, so blond, so new) .
And when they return to the hostel with aching muscles and snail-tracked thighs
they know a new idiom that the local girls have memorized.
And what they show their friends back home
(those bright digital images)
are as remote as the Southern cross or the Clouds of Magellan
to the ones they'll carry forever inside.
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