My poem “Chilling Effect” published in The Tongue Has Its Secrets


poetry from the frontera

from my collection The Tongue Has Its Secrets, my collection published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2016

Chilling effect1
I want to write about being at risk,
Silenced and scrutinized,
in nightmares jeweled words
wrangle sense and image.
Sun-shot thought champions dissent,
but anything I say can and will
be used against me.
Why am I alone in this protest?
Where is the vigor of astringency, the vinegar
homilies to warn of Cassandra’s oblivion?
Where are the bereaved, clad in weeds
of aubergine & black?
In the garden there is a skein of broken limbs,
bound for burial.
Avert your eyes and pray for solace,
the sweet bitterness of grapefruit marmalade
that wrenches a tongue from slumber.

1
A chilling effect is the stifling or suppression of political debate or other form of
expression or conduct by creating, through law or force, a fear of penalty or other potential
negative effect…

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