I’ll die in Portland some Thursday when cold rain’s
metal filings cascade through security
light’s golden shafts & memory turns to black
asphalt without cars, when the freightyard’s whistle
extends to infinite whole rest—come morning’s
usual light you’ll ask which cloud is mine, or
not: I’ll die in Portland some Thursday, perhaps
not this Thursday as silver overcast swells
Note: The poem is obviously based on César Vallejo’s famous “Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca”, though from a rather different perspective.
Those who are interested can find English translations of Vallejo’s poem at the following links: Thomas Merton; Robert Bly & John Knoepfle; Clayton Eshelman; Ed Dorn & Gordon Brotherston; & Andres Rojas. At the link to Rojas’ blog you’ll also find Donald Justice’s “Variations on a Theme by Vallejo”.