Every reflection, mirrors or otherwise,
Whether in this moment or in another time,
The visage of echoes upon wrinkled waves,
Always , the mirage of the desert oases
As a young hombre he pursued escapades
beyond these distant mountain passes.Now summits and adventuresneither beckon nor summon himas no surprise or marvel kindles his heart.Chivalry died long before he was born.
When young , brave deeds he dreamed ,themes Spain’s troubadours sangwhile they traveled through his Andalusiaof men compelled to bear armsin defense of noble worthinessagainst the infidels at Alhambra’s gates.
Now, neither gold ingot nor silver bullionPlease the conquistador. A shadow has fallenacross his scarred and battered visorwhile he kneels like twilight kneelsto his evening vespers. It appears
the picaresque has become the mere picayune.
Perhaps , he grieves for a much simpler timewhen vintner and vintage were entwinedas neighbor with neighbors stompedtheir vintages grapes and raised their flagonsand flasks to Bacchus- ah , to hear himsing such amorous serenades.
Or , maybe , old age and second thoughtsSuch as the recollection of how he sethis almonds and olives in straight orderly rowsor the time he rode his frisky stallionto the sepulcher of St. James where vigilersspun yarns beneath night’s brilliant starswhile all the senoritas shook castanetsround the dancing campfire flames .
Oh, my weary conquistador your querulous eyeshang in the master’s painting likesome dangling participle .Your enigmatic teardrop smearsA question mark upon the canvasFor us to squint at to decipher.
Always, the explanations hide in a foreignlandscape beyond the boundaries ofthe master’s frame , buried in a landbeyond the setting sun , on horizons beyond the seayet some il Pensimoso beneath the surfacetugs and yanks for answers.
Tell me , did the unscrupulous el capitan
gloat over the stones of Tenochitlanwhen the temple gods were toppled?
Did you wince and look the other way
when the gutted Sun King crawled
from his extravagant throne?
Did you flinch when no sacred
Quetzecoatil divinely intervened
to spare the plumed emperor ?
Did you condone all those who
Hurriedly Christianized the maidens
For slavery and intercourse ?
Who can ever decide what is truth?
Your tarnished eyes speak volumes
as if Velasquez abandoned you
between sea cliff and incoming tide-the last knight amid a vanguard
of cut-throat mercenaries.
Maurice Ferguson lives with a lovely wife and a menagerie of animals, mostly strays and adoptions from the Angels of Assisi, down a farm road that deadends in the middle of a cow pasture. He drives a yellow Volkswagen Beetle that he named the Yellow Submarine after a Beatles’ song. He retired from a career as a counselor with a kind ear and a generous heart. He is an old hippie from the 60s who has a peace symbol on his Yellow Submarine and will flash you the peace sign in a heartbeat. He has published in Artemis Journal, Foreword Magazine, Inlet, Metamophoses, Sow’s Ear and other journals. He has written book reviews of poetry for Foreword Magazine and has been the literary editor of Artemis Journal for many moons. He is fortunate to be a graduate of Roanoke College