Poems Spring From Author's Dreams

Dec 23, 2013

"Noctambulous" means of, pertaining to, or given to sleepwalking, according to Dictionary.com. It is also the first poem in a new collection by Ricardo Mario Amézquita:

Solid ground                        floating on sea

not lost                                  iceberg belief

isolated                                 suspended

to reoccur                            cyclic amnesia

From myself                         in vacuum

the picture of a flame/ reaching home

                   a poem i never read

This "pattern poem" can be read more than one way. It also sets the tone for the dream-like sequences in Amézquita's third book, Then She Kissed El Paco's Lips Now! Or April in DeKalb.

Amézquita usually starts a poem by remembering a dream. "Sometimes there's no end to the dream," he says. "Or I woke up before the end of the dream, and I have to make up the ending."

Sometimes it's the other way around. "I start with an event of the day, and slide into the memory of a dream."

Emerging from the subconscious, Amézquita's poems bend place and time. In "We Are What We Bomb," the Vietnam-era veteran guides a WWII bomber over Nazi Germany. Instead of bombs, the B-24 named Olé Piñata drops candy after getting hit by flak.

"I woke up before it ended," Amézquita says. "So the last stanza is my invention, hopefully for a happy ending." You can hear this poem by clicking the link below:

The book also features poems about iconic figures, such as Marilyn, Elvis and Jesus. In "Frau Monroe?" the poet remembers seeing Marilyn's photo on the cover of a magazine with a corporate symbol in place of her famous beauty mark. "I just thought it strange," Amézquita says, "to see her being used as a marketing device."


When was your icon bought by the Fourth Reich?

On Back of TIME in doctor's office

I saw the Mercedes Benz® circle

where your beauty mark used to be.

Who sold your beauty?

Why was I not told?

Do the chants of "it doesn't matter" awaken them

twice a night?

How did I discover Mars on my footsteps this morning?

Tell me.

Tell me before throttled clouds

swallow yellow butterflies.

Amézquita's book has the most unusual title in the 2013 Winter Book Series. He discusses  its meaning, and the title poem, in the interview below:

Next week, we wrap up our series with Kelly Daniels' memoir Cloudbreak, California. Hear the interview Monday during Morning Edition at 6:34 and 8:34.

Ricardo Mario Amézquita at WNIJ.