Tres Danzas Argentinas


The old cowherd isn’t disjoint – he is urbanization.

The young vaquero isn’t arrogant – he is merely wracked

by the vending machine’s neon masquerade

closed into its shallow bowels, valued at fifty cents.

Naturalemente, es normal

he dances, brashes

the calculated footsteps of his grandpa before him

smithereens modernization.

Sandwiched between

two movements of men

is the beautiful maiden,

supposedly. Naturalemente,

es normal.

A quiet midnight of ducks,

a symphony of frogs on the glass. No one betrays

her escape. Maquillaged

in the tulip-smashed cream of a clown’s pie-hole

she mimes freedom, though no one

sees her run to the forest’s heart, the broken

carousel someone never came back for. Gives it a spin.

In the fright of neon that glissandos into motion

in the vertigo of golden mares

you can see her transformation.

But which is the real –

and which the cursed –

and is it, finally, a maiden at all? Split

not between two movements of men

but between the teeth of day

and night’s curling tongue

she is to be envied; torn maiden

worries not one moment

over one man’s movement

or multiplication. But naturalmente

es normal.


Note: This poem is based on a particular performance of the piano piece Tres Danzas Argentinas, Opus 2, composed by Alberto Ginastera and performed tonight by Dr. Albert Kim at Linfield College. If you ever have a chance to hear him perform, do.

Image credits in order of appearance:

By Museo de Arte Popular, CC BY 3.0,

By AmbarCCPM – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


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