Rodrigo Toscano | Poems

Tacita Dean | GAETA, 2015





He’s fond of peppering in
“on this side of the barricades”
when speaking political
meaning, his critique of
changes at hand
isn’t coming from the right
meaning, don’t purity spiral
peeps, be stout
allow room for growth
don’t be a gendarme of
revolution, be a
full actor, unafraid
aware that the barricades
can pop up anywhere
in front and back 





Thing & Thang


Is the U.S. a nation
or just an economic platform?
because, a nation, is (or can be)
an expression of its people.

Platforms, as you know
support a ton of apps
but not all, and often
not many at all.

Nations, of course, excel at
spinning origin stories that
somewhat stick, actually
too often, stick, too long.

These days, folks, are sick
of platforms, they feel
but more than that, know
the grift and graft.

But also, folks, can’t won’t
booty hop for nation
not for the past, nor future
and for damn sure, not now.

Alright, some are nation
afterschool drama types
never miss a chance to flame
in public, funk out, in private.

Others are pure platform
all day trend setters
brahmins, actually, prancing like
Jack & Jill nobodies. 

Yet others, in idealist mode
strain to marry the two
nation thing & platform thang
triangle into circle slot. 

Problem is, Globo Bobo’s diet
consists of broken idols
shards of meritocracies
the bootstrap’s scraps.

Platform thang, over amped
promises a commonwealth of
continuous profile updates
hexagons into pentagonal slots.

Nation thing, flustered
promises to calm anxieties
save selves from intermixing
in golden wheat fields swaying.

Globo Bobo, or if you prefer
Bobo Globo, plays it safe
defers to neither Thing nor Thang
but tabulates and waits.

GB, might well be
progressive or regressive
no one can say for now
poltergeist inside us.





Beach Time


All y’all: 

Alabama flagger flyin’
Cajun dinghy riggin’
Creole beignet flippin’
Texas gravel haulin’
Georgia trailer hicthin’
Mississippi mud draggin’

…Gentlemen…can we talk?

All y’all:

Emerald Coast revelers
Ruby Coast ragers
Sapphire Coast rompers
Pearl Coast plungers
Onyx Coast splashers
Diamond Coast flap abouters

I mean, catch, toss, kick around a bit:  

Bent key capitalism
Worn key capitalism
Broken key capitalism
Lost key capitalism
Wrong key capitalism
Keyless fob dead battery capitalism 

Not the right time? 

I want to agree,
but ripples over there you can see
the white caps of a dark, purple wave
welling up, curling over, sucking in
the water’s edge of time
and space
to dream
and drift 







shedfulls of’em
you’ll see
will not be
the deciding factor
in the big shift
towards hemispheric
autarky, no amount
of rounds and clips
hoarded in safes
will re-write
labor laws that
integrate Canadian
American, and
Mexican bio-power
around a vision
of itself
protective economically
expansive culturally
interposed maps
of watersheds
routes of produce
conduits of
clean energy
lasered in on
healthy work
and stable housing
the big shift
doesn’t require
belly crawling
sharp shooters
grown boy camps
singalongs pining
after dreams of
becoming sovereign
when all’s entangled
already, except
not formally, and
equitably, set to
a higher order
resource conscious
confident future
collective wealth
material & psychic
brave projection
bulwark against this
faux nationalism
yacht excursion
for winners of
rigged outcomes
swamp monsters
becoming great again
promoting shedfulls
of ammo, camo
grown up boy
lingerie, boudoir
posing on
towering trucks
performing sovereign
when all’s entangled
already, but on
a wobbly base
with side shows
gun shows
crouching, cowering
last gasps of
sovereign kings
everyman a serf
owning nothing
not mineral deposits
not beds of technology
not downstream planning
educational cargo
material & psychic
oblivious to rising
forces, integrated
autarkic, prosperous
homelands to
thrive in, where
crotch grasping
gun toting
enfeebled copes
flicker out
year by year
as hemispheric power
looks outward
with straight backs
towards other
autarkic regions
working on integration
of a higher order
looking outwards
mindfully negotiating
globe’s collective wealth
material & psychic
and yeah, a few
museums of nation-states
and even kinky cosplay
might be entertaining
on occasion
to remind us of
the age of
anarcho-tyranny and its
butlers on a leash



Rodrigo Toscano is a poet and dialogist based in New Orleans. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including newest book, The Charm & The Dread (Fence Books, 2022). He has appeared in over 20 anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Best American Experimental Poetry (BAX).



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