Scoundrel Time

Two Poems by Omar Martínez-Sandoval

It’s Too Hot in Mississippi


Honk and honk of the four wheels, the cry of the goose,
this machine doesn’t care about the cyclist.
They own
the roads, don’t you dare
ride in front of them. Stubborn.
Why should you leave the road? Whatever.
It’s not like
your life is in danger.

Wind and two wheels, the joy of watching trees, riding
lets you feel the breeze against your cheeks.
And it’s too hot in Mississippi.
Two thousand miles from Uruapan,
orange Trek feels like home.
When it rains, a good hoodie
keeps you from getting soaked.
Tritone sound from the motor blue, heartbeat raises when the car is behind—

I fucking hate tritones. Didn’t know it was a crime to bike in the rain, with a hoodie or talk with an accent. No. I don’t have an ID, I forgot my bicycle license, and it keeps raining go make your call it’s just water and I was just riding my bike in the wrong neighborhood—

Even when it rains, hace un chingo de calor en Misisipi.



Threnody for El Paso


Regular Saturday morning in the US, the store, the people, the babble.
Kid yells: Ma, quiero galletas. Another says: I want cookies.
Murmuring and chattering, the b flat going and going off the register machine.

Uptight people would kill me if I called this music.
Art is not allowed in Walmart.
something is about to break this symphony.

The quiet before the storm. It’s not water coming though.
How do you shelter from a precipitation of bullets?
No umbrella can, no yelling can stop a hate crime.

Twenty-two die. August third, 2019.
Ten missed calls, Ma cries on the phone
El Paso is one thousand miles away from Mississippi, but there was a target—

Silence in my studio.
I cannot practice.
No music today, even with the bass between my legs.





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