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National Poetry Month, Poem by Jesse Castro


To What Used to be Shangri-La

watching from inside an abandoned building,

placing her steps lightly, measuring

the emptiness of the room;

reigning queen in nineteen sixty-eight,


a long line of blurring faces. carefully

calculating from one end to the other, what

a hundred waving hands will add to the show.

the queen of almond-eyed cowboys and cowgirls

follows a scattered trail

of ribbon, and paper promises.

a bargain novelty grandiose headliner

in a carnival sky orbit,

the royal court in monarch passage

spirals off below.

queen of forgotten martyred government

heroes, in solitary redemption.

noone will recognize her on this same street

tomorrow, without necessary inspiration

to what used to be shangri-la.

By Jesse Castro

Jesse Castro is a poet, visual artist, and community activist. He was one of the original co-coordinators of National Poetry Month in San Antonio. Castro's visual poems have been seen at the San Antonio Public Library - Central, on clothing worn by visitors to Bihl Haus Arts, and in front of his Cibolo home each National Poetry Month. Castro is the founder of Earth House and CAFE Poets. For information about National Poetry Month in San Antonio, go to

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