White-napkin poem (They know not of what they speak)

They know not of what they speak,
those irascible automatons behind the
carnival glass, but the music &
costume design are fine—I see a
curling iron steaming ghosts of ball
rooms back into chestnut strands overlaid
by sad-sap calamity waves of
cowboy legend coasting the surface of
gulf prayers—I crack my neck out
of distraction & thank God for all
the vile sushi I never tried—Nietzs[c]he
is absent from my stacks but always under-
neath my dirty laundry—somewhere on earth I still
hold your eyes as “Harvest Moon”
reminds me that wet season, like skin-deep, is a state of mind.


Alex Z. Salinas is the author of three poetry collections and a book of stories, City Lights From the Upside Down (San Antonio Review, 2021), included in the National Book Critics Circle’s Critical Notes. His poetry collection Hispanic Sonnets (FlowerSong Press) is his latest book, with Trash Poems (Gnashing Teeth Publishing) forthcoming in 2023. Salinas holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University, and lives in San Antonio, Texas.