Poem a Day 2015 #6 – 2666: Poem uno 1

Poem number 6 for April 2015. I’m reading the epic book “2666” by Roberto Bolaño. I’d say I’ve nearly finished it, but I still have about 150 pages to go. It’s a 900 page book. I’m not sure if it’s a work of genius, as some say, or an overly long ramble in need of severe editing. I’ll post a review when I’ve finished it. What’s for certain is that there is some stunning language in the book. And when you consider that Bolano was Chilean, and that it was written in Spanish, this seems to me to be even more impressive.

For today’s poem, I’ve taken some phrases, fragments from one part of the book, and played with them, to turn them into something that resembles a poem. Most of the words are Bolano’s. A large part of the book is concerned with an epidemic of murders of women in Mexico, called in Spanish feminicidio (“feminicide”), in a fictional town called Santa Teresa. In the real life northern Mexican region of Ciudad Juárez it is estimated that 370 women and girls were murdered between 1993 and 2005.

2666 – Poem uno 1


Where six roads meet

and buses head in all directions

my driver waits like an undertaker


A makeshift market

An old woman selling pineapples.

Out of politeness I buy one


In an island of light past the shacks

giant butterflies dance like cripples

reminding me of a sunset years ago


The streetlights bathe me in an aura of haste

My breath smells of scorched oil

I hear accordion music on the wind


She was a legend invented by inmates

I think I hear her laughter

like a prisoner’s nightmare.


I find her on the outskirts

behind the hundred year old walls

Her dyed hair curtains her face


Her skin is empty now

as if she has been drained of everything

except absolute fear


All that is left is a crater

the prisoners, the jailers, gone

“Don’t push your luck boss” says the driver


Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015


3 thoughts on “Poem a Day 2015 #6 – 2666: Poem uno 1

  1. Well done Mike! Particularly love ‘Her skin is empty now / as if she has been drained of everything’. I’m ashamed to say I’ve not got around to reading any of his work.

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