Erik Victor McCrea


Seagull's surplus
is the poet's conviction;
"a promissory note for a pirouette,
a sesterce for customary curtsies."

On the wardrobe of seasons
simple dances shed
the early morning robe and the shawl of October;
"agave blankets for the entire twelvemonth."

In mid-flight,
we are concerned with this surplus.
Without the gull's artistry
czars would never once smile.

     The gadgets from their
     meticulous minds:
     trenchant illusions
     bedecked with rosettes;
     memories shaped into festoons.

     Clever notions
     "as enjoyable as a concerto
     under the nine-tiered
     umbrella of royalty."
     Gyroscopes and blindfolds,
     prismatic costumes and glissades;
     pennies at night,
     pfennigs in the twilight;
     melancholy pedigree
     of banknotes and groats.

     "Has it ever produced
     centimes, centavos or kopecks;
     triads of specie,
     lassos or sickles?
     Has it ever offered
     florins for a compass,
     biscuit-tins for a dime?"

     A fare for the triumvirate's
     maize flour for a yellow bawbee,
     manioc flour for a gold solidus.

     Slowed by their cartridge belts,
     the dancers became surly.
     They mimicked the hijackers
     who choreographed ballerinas.

     The hostage-takers
     preached to the passengers
     between roundelays;
     piasters and rupees
     spun in the air.



If a body of water
separates your land from mine,
we better select unique and apposite
names for our homes and our leaders.

What better way is there
to mark our adversity
than to contradict ourselves
at every available moment?

If a cloud passes over your coasts,
a warm current will buffet our shores.

We shall be diametrically opposed
in our outlooks and world-views;
we will not agree
on the issues of the day.
There will be no common ground
in our ideals and evaluations.

My aesthetics will be at odds with your canon,
my verse will not make sense to your critics.
My history will give me a pleasure
you will never be able to experience.

Your viceroys will be
able to metabolize substances
which would be fatal to my vassals.
This will lead to
countless disputes.
My coat-of-arms will be ornate,
your badges will be modest.

If you bury your ancestors
with their feet pointing west,
I will prefer to inter mine
with their heads pointing west.
We will treat our corpses with red ochre,
yours will be wrapped in textiles
and coated with bitumen.

Your village will be designed concentrically,
mine will be laid out in a tight grid.
Your apartment buildings
will have a metal skeletal structure,
my mansions will bear
an internal framework of wooden beams.

I will specialize in cellular planning:
Two-storeyed timber huts
with rectilinear alcoves.
You will adopt a longhouse plan:
three-storeyed mud-walled cabins
with round, silo-like cubicles.

Our differences will be accentuated
in everything we formulate and habituate.
Our heritage will furnish our identities
with fickleness and a capacity to loathe.
Friction will be endemic
to both our citizenries;
there will be no means of
promoting conviviality or
assessing rapprochement.

Our youths will not intermarry, but
we will have one thing in common:
our diamonds and our jeweler's pavilions.


My stallion gallops
in its own kind of weather;
yours fabricates a climate
and sets a straight course.

My grandfather hid in the caboose
and penned a quick ode.
Your grandfather sat on the tracks
to inspire great lyrics.
One took a siesta,
the other stretched out for a nap.

One was hypnotized
by coal-engines,
the other was entranced
by steam-locomotives.
One had a weak memory,
the other was senile.

One had a harsh temperament
and an irksome tendency
to bark up the wrong tree.
The other considered himself
to be calm and collected;
"careful deliberation
is right up my alley."

They are both pugnacious interlopers
at loggerheads with one another;
rabble-rousers wrapped up
in their own homelands' flags.

They never cared to negotiate;
they perfected the frightful sport
of syncopated altercation.

One's streets are policed
by crews of guards and militia;
the other's are patrolled
by contingents of troopers and cadets.

One breeds livestock,
the other cultivates crops.

"There is a lack of victory
     in all your denials;
but if you did not decide to deny,
admit there would be
     an abundance of defeat."

Though high fences
highlight our boundaries,
we will share one characteristic:
all our women
are homely.

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