Song for America

By: Fernando Esteban Flores


Inner City Blues

Weatherman says another record-breaking heatwave

Headed our way looks like we’re all cooking now

Over a slow simmering fire grilled

& charred for the greedy gods

At odds with everything that’s not

Nailed to the floor

Disasters plastered to forever after

Climate flames in noxious fumes

Plagues reprise their ancient roles

To villainize the tottering planet

Like a Hieronymus Bosch triptych

Anthropomorphic insects bound

for calamity’s country scurry

for cover their way back uncertain

The curtain dropping like a guillotine

Severing the haves from the have nots

Arctic glaciers melt like popsicles on a stick

All things man-made shaken & falling

Failure—a sure bet to win the lotto

Flags warped in patriotic propaganda

The body politick festering with lies

It’s starting to feel less

& less like we belong &

More than can survive


La Dolce Vita

(for Fellini)

Like a pinch of sugar

A dash of sweetness—

Sprinkled on my choppy A.M. drive

To retrieve the early morning news

At the corner store where I pick up the latest

Accosted by caustic advertisements

Promising the sweet life

Plastered on dog-eared billboards

Puckered placards rumpled hand bills

From powdered milk to power drinks

Marlborough’s to MD 2020

‘Sometimes you just need a pair’

A slogan you can riff right off

& write a seemingly meaningless poem

Lotto tickets to no loitering signs

You can buy it all but don’t

Consume your happiness on the premises

The premise being it’s unlawful

Not to mention just plain awful

To risk life & limb for a few crumbs

Life being what’s going on now

& now could always be much better

Thó the murder rate rarely takes a break

Fellini jazz comes streaming over

The university’s FM trumpeting

Me to alpha-beta heights

Where letters meld into motion

Motion melts into emotion

& the disheveled woman at the corner

In tattered baggy jeans two sizes too big

Thumbs a ride ragging to herself cursing at the air

Clouds like cartoon balloons heavy & grey

With grief

Full of comic mischief offer some relief

Everyone on the street seems to know the way

I wait like a mystery in a sarcophagus

Interpreting the trumpet notes

Annotating the message meant for me

Oblivious to the surrounding mess

The muse insisting on her own terms

Unwilling to negotiate any standoffs

Certainties or uncertainties

To be no longer her concern

Out of the darkest blue

Before the sun unfolds its brilliant plumage

You text beyond time past

I dreamed of you last night—

It was nice to see your face—

Glad to have made a cameo

In some fractured way

A face among the faceless images

That bombard us even in our sleep

Episodic feature films unspooled

From realities too remote to relink

I’m not Fellini but I too

Go out when the evening’s day

Spreads out against the violet sky

Searching for la dolce vita

La dulce vida that always

Steps ever so slightly

Down the road

Ahead of me


This is not Paris 1920s

The Lost Generation

Nor San Francisco 1950s

The Beat Generation

Not the Champs-èlysèes

But Zarzamora Street

Westside SA 2020

The X-ed Generation

Thó at times I feel lost

Down these raw narrow streets

X–patriate-poet-X–ed out in his own land

Story sidestepped in scandalous times-

Home grown American with Mexican DNA

I pressed into the dream

Like cactus in desert thicket

Mesquite underneath sun’s unforgiving flames

With its 15 mins of fame

Not tethered to cartels

Don’t care for green cards

Welfare rolls demographic data

Ethnic codes

No asylum-seeking plot to mine

No immigration line to cross

Don’t need the literati to tell my tale

Not Hispanic Latinx Chicanx

Sanitized labels bureaucrats academics

Adopt to appropriate distinction

Appear cool with a liberal sophistication

I’ll take AMEX AztEk

I’ll be what I make

Destiny mine to check

Keep your labels

Your supercilious names

Your hate filled rhetoric

Your prejudicial games

I know who I am

Even if you don’t

Born on this side

Nothing you can do

Don’t need your vote

Like you need mine

Nothing to decide

It’s my ride

To the end of the night

Don’t tell me to go back

Where I came from

Because where I came

from is right here

Right now

Home is where my legs

Are standing & my flag

Was planted long before

You landed so

If you have anything worth

To say

Say it with respect

For those who expect

So much more of you

For you who think much

More highly of yourself

Than we do for

Your deeds outdo your words

& the two do not equate

Turn around & see

The damage in your wake

The victims of your hate

Fernando Esteban Flores
Fernando Esteban Flores is a native son of Tejas, graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism. He taught writing at several San Antonio secondary schools. Published three books of poetry. He founded a group of eclectic seasoned and emerging poets, Voces Cósmicas who have been promoting poetry, art, and music at different venues throughout San Antonio since 2012.
Featured Image By: This artwork was created by Joel Becerra. Joel was inspired the poet’s sentiment. Find him @jxelito

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