Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen

by Ian Duhig

Dismissed from Tlaltizapa for changing sex
Manuel Palafox sulked in Arenista. At markets
he bought chimoyas, limes and ink from Oaxtepec.
Some days he wore his twenty-ounce sombrero,
Deerskin pants and “charro” boots. On others
Gold-embroidered blouses and red kerseymere skirts.

He wrote to Magonistas; “Zapata is finished.
He takes orders from Obregon. Rally the Peones!
Death to Carranza! Tierra y Libertad!”
He wrote to Lenin; “Trotsky is finished.
Seek concord with the Ukraine Makhnovshchina.
Brest-Litovsk’s a cock-up. Regards to the Missus.”

He wrote to Freud; “Were you coked when you dreamt up this?
No Mexican has even heard of the sexual revolution.
All Eros last year now it’s Thanatos, bloody Thanatos.
Jung was right- grow a beard, you think you’re Moses.
I hope your jaw drops off. Regards to the Missus.”
At last he wrote to Yeats: “Dear Willie, how’s The Vision?

Mine’s double, ha-ha. Shit. Willie, I’m finished
In Mexico – it’s full of bigots. Ireland can’t be worse.
I’ll work. Your brother paints – I’ll hold his ladders.
You can have my poems. The one about this year –
Change it round- it’ll do for Ireland. What happened
To my lift with Casement? Willie, GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

Shopping in Cashel for pulque, Michael Robartes-
“Research Assistant to a popular writer”-
Itched in his Connemara Cloth. Himself well-known
For a Special Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe,
He frowned on local talk of a drunken madwoman
In red skirts, publicly disputing with the bishop.