Poems Left in Airports #3

Today’s poem is the last left in the San Francisco airport as I was traveling back to Maryland on April 1. I read this poem, “Copacabana,” at the GeoSlam open mic reading at the American Association of Geographers meeting. It was published in Free State Review in Winter 2015.

COPACABANA

We shared an entryway.
Or, was it a space under a ledge?
I can’t remember.  It was raining.
I was on my way to the Pão de Açúcar.
He was just another kid on the street.

We tried to talk,
but he had no English.
I had only a little Portuguese
and a phrasebook.
I don’t think he literally
had a “hole in his stomach.”

When the rain stopped
I gave him money
and left with feelings of
pointless generosity.

I hadn’t ended his poverty
or stopped police sweeping
through the favelas to pummel
the poor into the shadows.

A poem has no value
till it is trampled in the streets.

 

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