I lived in an Elysium strewn with orchids, bougainvillea,
Hibiscus by the roadsides as if chucked by profligate gods;
Plumeria perfumed the breeze that bowed the palms
And set their fronds to click and clack like vegetal chimes.
Vanquished time; undying days put the calendar to rout,
Like starting a stint in solitary in the middle of the night —
Day in, day out and no mortal bearings, only the tides
Governed by an indifferent moon amidst a swoon of stars.
Camouflage concealed me from the eyes of other men
But could not hide me from myself. I knew my name.
Or back in barracks in starched fatigues, spit-shined boots to mock the sun:
A gold bar on a collar gussies up a hired gun.
Gulches seething with guavas; valleys overrun by verdure
Sprung from red volcanic clay; paths littered with the corpses
Of rotting passion fruits; through this incomplete Paradise
I slither, like that famous snake so unjustly maligned
For bringing death where once there had been only life.