Power IsPower is the skyward sweep of silent marble
up the domineering walls of the electric company.
In my smallness my father took me
to the company office, there not for business
but to see the fish in the company pond.
They awed me even in my youth.
There, leaning into the opaque water,
And there, out of the shallow deep,
a streak of red, a formless black.
Like lightning in malevolent skies
or lurking beneath the city streets.
Power is the pirarucu:
a vast monstrosity, a foreign leviathan,
gliding noiseless and soulless
through swamps of a million centuries.
Smaller fish spin helpless in its wake.
A pirarucu is primeval as they come,
more god than fish in its timelessness.
Oh, and there were two.
I followed it, drawn for an eternity
until it vanished under a bridge.
A tiny ripple, a spark of red, and that was all.
Or was it? No one could tell
where it might surface next.
We had to go and pay the electric bill.
I followed my dad from the pond, from the office,
cold shadow o
Portrait of a Student LeaderShe leads a student protest,
protesting a tuition increase,
which one they've lost count, she says;
Raising their angry slogans,
streaked in cadmium red,
JUNK THIS LAW and SCRAP THAT POLICY and NO TO THIS and NO TO THAT,
Cadmium red, in her voice, in her fist.
Here I sit, and paint.
She squints over the exam paper,
Reading through reading glasses,
Challenged and yet confident, knowing she's revised well for this.
Methodically she puts graphite to answer sheet,
Perfect circles all: A, A, A, A, B, A, B, A,
which could describe her grades. (We use another system though.)
Graphite on titanium white,
in orange circles. I can't know her answers,
of course; that would be cheating.
I need to get back to my exam,
and after that, back to my painting.
When I'm done, I'll paint.
She runs with the ball, runs with it,
Over a field, ochre with government neglect,
but forest green with the living rain.
Her feet on the ball, unbroken like a young Maradona,
Midfielders, defenders all a blur,