No Capisco

Alfredo Quarto

In a foreign land we grope for meanings
to words that bear no fruit of familiarity.
What odd taste their words leave in the mouth
how they twist the tongue and give the jaw quick spasms.
Strange words when uttered by those who know
are like a swarm of angry bees
screaming at the intruder at the hive.
We came for their nectar of exotic flavors
but are stung by the realization
that their words are mere noise to us.
We are dumb among a thousand mutterings
speechless aliens in foreign lands
trying to fill a void with our pleas for help
hoping for someone who speaks our tongue
                        to somehow appear
for a hero to step forward and raise
his sharp sword of sweet recognition
then slay with one broad stroke
            the ignorance dragon
so that we may go on again as innocent children
playing safely amid the thorns
            of our own not knowing.


About the Author

Alfredo Quarto is an environmental activist and poet. He’s been published in numerous poetry publications including Poetry Seattle, Catalyst, Raindance Journal, Piedmont Review, Haiku Zashi Zo, Paperbag, Seattle Arts, Spindrift, Arts Focus, Arnazella, Dan River Anthology, Amelia, The Americas Review, Vox, Middle House Review, The Closed Eye Open, and Tidepools. He has also had articles published in The Guardian, Cultural Survival Quarterly, Earth Island Journal, E–The Environmental Magazine, Wild Earth, Bird Conservation, Tokyo Poetry Journal, and Biodiversity Journal.