Fortunato Salazar

How the West Was Won and Crack in the World
April 24, 2024 Salazar Fortunato

How the West Was Won

Build a garage on the roof &
we hold at the tracks,
doors, cornices; jaundice;
jaundice the passerine;
boxwood charcoal hotel shrine
double-duty livery stable
bovine wilderness of ice cream;
shoe the foot & crank up Toto,
glide between the pipes,
horror of silence to someone
in gabardine, sunstone, closed-cell
foam, there’s the whistle; red
jacket here, there, coupe valet
neon tetra & travertine, shake,
gods, men, chaw; from the booth
speeds the chisel; you, neighbor,
fairground peacekeeper, wool-
gatherer; all rise & burst into scat
lay unapproachable table
we hold at the tracks, we hold;
lifted in patent the eminent
lonely Hi-Line junction orphan
shift coalition builder, heavy,
weaves out of the stall & tips you.



Crack in the World (1965)

I don’t cry & cry, I ask Broom
to hire me as a cook, Broom
at the edge of the tombstones with a trowel,


at the edge of the Sea of Showers with a double mattock
ask & the soil is dry & sappy
hurdles jacked up on forked sticks


he’s been depressed but this morning is energetic
what are you doing, fussing,
Broom do you remember where you buried the loot


.can’t take you on as a cook;
pocket money if it would help
you’re thumb-deep sharp as a whip


.layer of earth sifted fine in a sieve
.layer of earth sifted fine in a sieve
big bear-haired hand I remember &


inside the cleat & put it in a jute bag
stuff clothesline in a long hollow tube &
daylight got in & scorched the roots


all I remember is a serpent coiled around a cob
.earth fine-sifted .earth fine-sifted
.experience it to the marrow .I do.

Fortunato Salazar‘s writing of various stripes is forthcoming at Lana Turner and Ploughshares and has appeared at The Atlantic, Conjunctions, Harvard Review, Guernica, and widely elsewhere. He lives in Berlin, Germany, and West Hollywood, California.