Kevin Gallagher (bio)



from Living on Lake Texcoco

Fe y Esperanza


Lead Explosion, Electronics Maquila


Fe y Esperanza


Isais' pupils
contracted to the point

where it was hard to see
whenever he looked north.

He'd seen Dallas,
Dynasty, and Cheers.

He hoped he wouldn't be
like Sanford's son.

Would his hair
mane blonde but stand

still when his head
turned around?

His wife kissed.
His roll of money.

His clothes on.
He left.

He lived south of Reynosa.
His walk there was free.

His hand met
many others.

His returned empty,
theirs returned green.

He entered a windowless van.
For four hours

he rode four blocks away
to the riverbank.

Isais rose his head
to see cranes

wing to his dreams
in two flaps.

Isais gave his last pesos
to the last masked man

who took his clothes
and let him dive into the river.

Isais and the river
swam brown.

Although pulled up
a mile south,

like Odyseus, Isais
washed up on his fifty yard dream;

exhausted and freckled with

He popped each sucker
from his skin

as if each was the cap
of a bottle of champagne.

Through the thicket
he saw the parking lots


he was told of;
their windshields

were a field of jewels.
He was here.

Their owners were there
hearing loud music,


seeing big churches,
not daring to eat anything,

but takings lots
of pictures.

He dragged himself

under the sea of cars;
popping his head out

looking left then right,
using each car

as a turtle shell,
then slinking to the next.

He rolled under
an open bottomed van.

He pulled himself up
and was handed

his finger to his lips,
a handshake,

a shirt,
and a pair of pants.






Flowers through a chain-link fence
Are monkeys shaking hands from a cage.

A Panamanian with tartar skin
And wrinkles of fresh cut wood
Points to an altar un-altered by bombs,
His open smile is a rocking boat.

The gringo with a Lonely Planet asks
“Why don’t you hate us?”

Dandelion puffs float in flocks of wishes.


A cardinal wiggles through the wind
Like a goldfish dipping in a bowl.

Schools of dry leaves paper airplane.

Geese hover, black origami,
Then drop like arrows for a rain.

Behind the shades, Father Mehan whispers
To the high school girl that she can be
A Bride of Christ if she closes her eyes
And feels the physical nature of the Lord.

Stars in the sky, the snipped tips
Of the marionette strings.


A bald punk rocker screams at the eclipse:

“You burning bastard! It’s about time your
white brother came and blackened your eye!”

His head, a light bulb mooning a crude oil night.


A shovel bells bedrock but houses grow
Fashions painted over again.

Melees of Spanish, Italian, English, and pig
Latin and Chinese tightrope clotheslines
And lace triple-deckers.

Chilis instead of tomato,
Pesto instead of guacamole?

American instead of chop-suey.


The sails of distant ships are shark fins.
The waves gallop on green horses
With white manes.

They trample the lobster knight
And land on their knees at shore.

Max stands in the middle screaming
Form is only an extension of content.

Gulls kamikaze for the newly exposed flesh.

Twin lighthouses flicker overhead.





Legions of children in soccer uniforms
Are linked like paper cut-out kids
And wait in line for
“The Art of Pele the King.”

They’d made balls from socks
And practiced penalty kicks at home
For years, for this.

A goalie stands in front of the goal
Like a gun on a tank.

Pele scores in black and white
And dots their eyes.

And why do they?


Windows flash and flicker blue
With silhouettes of our heads
Cast from television sets.

Billy Bulger won’t help them find
What they are looking for.

What a whitey.

The clouds as tops of ice-cream cones.


A kitchen window is wide open.

The newspaper, a taught
Sail in your hands.

The eggs on the frying pan
Are fresh daisies

Floating in a black pool.


Scratching a head on a pedestal
Like a crystal ball,

A woman seems to be thinking

If we knew what you were thinking
You would be easy to know.

A big Buick glides under a small sun.

A Playboy calendar at the shop
Flips as quick as a cartoon book
                                through time.



Lead Explosion, Electronics Maquila
                                                    Guadalajara 2004


“They made an error

in making us return

to our posts too soon

hardly an hour after the cards fell,

and this is what complicated things.


They had increased the power

in the air vents, but even so,

about twenty people began to feel sick,

get dizzy, nauseous and throw up.

So, we were evacuated again.”