Last night shook

Last night shook the wine up
the sides of the glass down
my throat where I swallowed
dreams of attacking a cat-
caller & listening to buskers fill
the bus sweet with music,
all while nothing was stable.
This morning shook the pulses
out my being, sent them away
to the growing thrusts & sways
of la Tierra, where nothing is stable
& I’m too nauseous to swallow.


In honor of April as National Poetry Month, I’ve been dedicating myself to writing a poem every day, most of which follow prompts giving here. The above poem was written based on a prompt of titling your poem ‘Last ______’. I have also been following a 30 day push-up challenge here. Most days these two challenges are just that– challenges. But my creative writing and arm/core muscles are getting used and that seems healthy. The poetry has been an important way for me to process things I would otherwise not give time to. Next month should be National Poetry Editing month and maybe I’ll share more of it. (Don’t hold your breath.)

I’m assuming most of you are too far deep in US news (100 days, walls, executions, North Korea, etc etc) to have heard about the earthquakes in Central Chile, the epicenter of the largest one hitting at 6.9 close to Valparaiso. For this I’ll forgive you. The possibility of our tax dollars getting used for a wall is far too exciting. But for me, it’s also “exciting” to continuously wonder “imagination or big bus driving by or tremor?”  It really is an odd sensation, the light tremors. Pro tip: having a liquid of some sort by your side really helps you discern if it is imagination or reality.

The strong ones leave no room for wonder. Don’t worry, if you read the articles you’ll know no big damage has happened. And yes, I’m safe.

In Spanish earthquake is terremoto. According to interviews with a seismologist, including part in this article, in Chile a terremoto is anything over 7.5. Anything between 4.0-7.5 is what the seismologist here would call a temblor o sismo (I suppose what I have been translating as tremor). This is different than the US, for example, where earthquakes are defined as such:

On the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. For example, a magnitude 5.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake, and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6.3. (earthquake.usgs.gov/)

Different language, and different building requirements. Here buildings are made to withstand the high frequency of tremors and earthquakes. I have only experienced Chilean defined tremors these are high enough on the Richter Scale to qualify as earthquakes in other areas of the world. Adding that to my two truths and a lie repertoire.

I am also learning that no matter if you were born in Chile or are a foreigner to the earthquake life, it’s not something a lot of people just “get used to.” The big ones come with worries and fears.  I’m glad I’m calm in such situations. I’m not so glad my mind is fixated on wondering if the ground is shaking or not.

Life on a fault line, I suppose.

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