Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 2



Juan Pablo Mobili


Weekends in the Neighborhood

Mondays we’d return to dirty dishes.
Joshua Edwards from "The Lamp of Mutual Aid"

The blood of poetry has not yet dry
on the pavement. it seems its diction
has been wounded. A witness said
the gun was aimed at the noun
but grazed the verb, and that’s why
a small red river is reaching for the curb.

As typical with the long history of truth
the ambulance arrives too late,
and it is left to the bystanders
to remember what the poem said.

There will be neighbours at their windows
who will lower their curtains
and someone will place an unregistered weapon
next to the verse that hinted at the injustice,
while the rest of us wonder why
the worst happens on weekends.

Tragedies will go on happening to all of us
but most often in some countries almost invisible
in maps drawn by privileged cartographers.
At this point, the EMS volunteers are beginning
to fasten the body of the poem
to an indifferent stretcher, the IV line
uncoiled and connecting the main metaphor
to some liquid that might save it,

the street is clearing out and no witnesses
come forward. Tomorrow we will return
to dirty dishes, while the blood stain
on the sidewalk resembles a sonnet
that no one dares to read aloud.




The Love of Country

There are two words I associate with love I envy,
oh, baby     oh, baby     oh, baby,  and even though
I can say them, once a foreigner always a foreigner,
the two soft b’s and the enigmatic y are not my birthright.

Can you love a country the way you love a lover?
Was I supposed to leave a note on the dresser when I left?
Should I have tried the old it’s not you, it’s me
when it was you that pushed me away with your cruelty?

But   oh, baby     oh, baby     oh, baby, once you loved
you can’t deny you embraced even the stupidest of choices
or the city everyone warned to watch out for,

or the government that stabbed you in the back,
and smiled, told you to quit moping about
being born where you were, and left you alone,
a longing so close to your heart you could feel its breath.

Oh, baby     oh, baby     oh, baby.



Juan Pablo Mobili: “I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and adopted by New York even longer. I came of age in my native country during a tragic period of our history, when many thousands were unconstitutionally detained, tortured, and often murdered.

“My poems bear the memory of those times and also embrace my life in the United States. What I love and troubles me bears its presence on my poems.

“My poems appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Mason Street Review, The Worcester Review among others, as well as receiving Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net nominations for 2020.”




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