Always Die Before Your Mother: Poems by Patrick Woodcock

By Patrick Woodcock

Deftly relocating from the stifling warmth and politics of the Arabian Peninsula to the darkest corners of South America's rainforest, this selection of poetry promises a searing remark on humanity's many failings. Politics, faith, societal constraints, and familial relationships are all fodder for those pointedly written poems.

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Example text

42 Shotguns and Accordions SUICIDE DOGS 1. Nothing is enormous. It’s manageable and glides past the suicide dogs who wander these streets, through one throbbing mass of scrap metal that only rides in half-circles, in semi-swerves. Time limping is still time — it has too many eyes and a monument’s dress and prides itself in its single-leggedness. 2. The plight of the trembling is someone else’s to contain. It is always the other’s architecture that melts us. Never our own. What pulses within our veins isn’t some amateur’s conjecture.

The desplazados in need of books, teachers, walls, calm. I have a picture in my head of the men who delivered the ultimatums, who burnt their homes. They arrive at night. Enormous anacondas who coil around the entire family, squeezing the life out until they fall unconscious. They swallow everyone and carry them away. Inside, the family waits to be regurgitated into a river, a new river, in a new town, 50 in old clothes. Today, I don’t believe in miracles anymore. I don’t believe there is a fire big enough to burn away this humiliation.

And only seconds for him to fall and be pulled into the river. Over half of the village’s young men were used in the building of this bridge. When completed, the son walked across the bodies to find his wife. Hours later he returned to his father’s house with her, sobbing. Their wedding night was spent pushing bodies downstream. The next day, while the new bride was washing her sister-in-law’s gown, the most beautiful woman in the province was taken to the river. Her father held the rope. The hook piercing her lower lip.

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