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Un Carro Triste: A Melancholic Car

We must take the language/by surprise;/seal its every utterance/with a kiss or tear…”

For Apolinar Recendiz


We must take the language

by surprise;

kidnap the sentence boxes

from the sages’ gorge

from learned volumes,

and trust them to the nursery

for tender baby hands

to shake them like a rattle;

hunt for the comatose phrases

at bus stops, elevators, news stands,

and like a sensuous young man

try to catch them from behind;

startle the convoys of syllables benumbed

at dinner conversations, staff meetings,

and tempt them to send out

shooting stars;

then enter the reception hall

like clement basileus

and hang all the words

from chandeliers of crystal

—upside down—

till they spill leaf after leaf

all the disguises of man.


We must take the language

by surprise;

seal its every utterance

with a kiss or tear,

rinse all its phonemes with virgin blood,

and plead with the mighty gods

that they escort the vocables anew,

or just allow a Mexican young girl to

give up her cleaning

for the day

and knead the whole of lexicon

with violet fingers and the breath of song

as she exclaims sadly at the sight

of brand new car with tinted glass:


“un carro triste”…a melancholic car.


Youlika Masry, a dual citizen of Greece and the United States, completed her legal education in Greece and France and also studied political theory in the United States. In addition to publishing poetry, she writes and translates books and essays in literature; the social sciences; religion and theology.

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