Three Poems: The Monkey Man of Lima, Plus Two More

What Hides behind the Minute?

What hides behind the minute?
It seems, no one really knows;
How many times will we wakeup,
To count the minutes gone?

The rose was dead when I arrived;
The sword, was rusty and dull;
The window curtain was open,
And there was music in the hall.

Oh lovely minute, where art thou?
One, is not like the other-:
Whirling in an earthly orbit,
As the boundless world discovers.

#675 5/18/05 [at the bookstore café; Roseville, MN USA]

12) Vietnam: Shrapnel

Here under the ball of blood
In Vietnam, the moon rises
The battlefield reeks with flies-
I swear I'll come out in one piece,
Or die?

The air-is melting Hot!
The heavens vomit shrapnel out.
A towering inferno-
My helmet, ashes and stones
Shrapnel rips by my face
The ground shakes.

You know you're all alone
With the blast and heap of metal.
One dies today, trapped?
In the middle of the blast;
Two wounded!...

#671

The Monkey Man of Lima
[Miraflores]

Advance: He is the last of his breed, I do believe; the Monkey Man of Miraflores, Lima, Peru. Who winds his wooden music-box up, while the monkey dances, pulls out a slip with your fortune on it, from its drawer, and hands it to you; he is seventy-four years old, small framed and I confess, whenever I go to Lima, about once or twice a year, I look forward in visiting him; which he is normally in the park seven days a week, from about 2:30 to 9:00 PM. He vacations about three times a year for about two weeks each time.

I used him as a character in one of my previous books, "The Mumbler," and gave him a copy, as one of the artists did a water color painting for the cover of the book, of him, and his monkey, and his music-box. His son read the book to him, since it was in English, and not Spanish. He thought it quite the item.

I know he is getting up in age, and his back will not hold out forever, carrying that big wooden box on his back ((a belt tied around him and the box))this man of five-foot three, 110-pounds) with his monkey in it-which he has carried for 60-years-but until it does, until he retires, he is worth seeing, if one takes a trip that way, that is. Permit me to echo an almost lost tradition in the poem that follows, one I saw when I was a kid for a short time in Minnesota, and one that lives on in Lima, Peru, today, but may not tomorrow. #661; 5/14/05.

-I get a-thinking!
Thinking of the 'ol Monkey Man
In Miraflores Park-;
As he carries his heavy load:
A music-box and Monkey-
Down the road
On his aging, solid back;
Looking for his special spot!
Once found-he cares and feeds
His long-tailed monkey?
Then settles down.

-I get thinking!
Thinking how he waits for the curious
To entertain them;
For a solid-metal coin!...
Once given, he winds the music box
As the monkey dances about
And gives a slip out;
Always of good fortune.
A music-box and a Monkey-
Down the road he goes
Goes home at 9:00 PM
With his monkey, and friend.

Dennis Siluk, Poet and Author, his website is: http://dennissiluk.tripod.com

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Poet's Corner  Martha's Vineyard Times
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