Flickers: A Poetic Cycle

by Daniel Dominguez, ’16

Pro Patria

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Streetlight metronome.
Cars come in rhythm.
Red lights, blue lights
white lights, bright lights:
blind sights.

Moonlight metronome.
Stars in their patterns.
Phoenix fire.


(The Ballroom)

Ivory candles,
Colored glasses,
Satin cases:

Pomp without circumstance,
Toasts about nothing,
Half-given handshakes,
Emotionless embraces.
Fainting lights
and flashing airs.
Drifting nights
and fleeting years.


Liquored and wandering,
Perfumed and hazed
They floated to the ballroom.

The piano droned
a dreadful aria,
the harp-strings plucked
a pounding tone.

The forgetful bodies passed
Slyly into curtained rooms
And drowned laughing
In colored liqueurs

The youthful sank
swiftly into yesterday
The unreal city blazed:
Synthetic fires burned them all.

A violet fog enveloped the night.
Straggled and faded, they ran into it
The amethyst floors vanished
Into the twilight.
Thus spoke the whispers
whose secrets blew off into the past
Go to sleep my urban love.
Tomorrow night awaits.

(The Street/Interlude I)

In the street…

The colored orbs fluttered by…

They drifted by like timeless doves…

Dancing in an urban forest…
(Sunset/Prelude I)

Sunset comes.
We say hello
and here we start anew.

(Love Story)

Phoniexeyed and rubylipped.
Immortal in my memory.
Forever in my reverie.

Her laughs still ring in my ears like church bells
Her smiles still run through my veins like rivers
The midnight lights shall shine bright tonight
so let us go now, you and I.
Let’s go into the cosmic sky
and off with platinum eyes

Let’s dive blind into evening pools
and wet our hair with life.
Let’s go collect these city jewels
of culture; rich and rife

The city breathes and yearns for us
Let’s not deny it more
Let’s go explore the nocturne’s rush
Let’s go and spin new lore

So go put on your silver dress
and stand up high in heels
Get ready for this urban quest
We’ll make this city reel

(Ma Femme)

Les lumières brilleront cette nuit
Quand nous quitterons nos vies
Nous marcherons aux rues satins
Je t’aimerai jusqu’au matin

J’embrasserai ma femme unique
qui est belle et exotique
Je baisserai ses lèvres roses
avant de faire mon grand repos

Dans un grand hôtel de luxe
je respirerai son parfum doux.
Ma femme! Mon amour mystérieux!
Avec toi je suis très heureux

(An Evening Conversation)

When first I stopped to let them go
I said “Be soft like winter snow”
As soon as I had I let them fly,
Like birds into the starlit sky
I saw them start to take their toll
Upon the fabric of her soul.

I saw them take effect and shivered
Because suddenly: she began to whither,
Whither into yesterday
Whither and just fade away
And then her gentle gorgeous face
Took a fatal fall from grace.

Upon them landing on her skin
I felt the grandness of my sin
And with a single crystal tear
She faded into yesteryear
And with a single, whimpered sob
I knew they’d done a horrid job

For in the pink and clouded night
They came full speed
And showed their might.
They fell an angel from the heavens.
The church bells rang
A solemn seven.

I’d only tried to make her laugh,
But, like old and rusted brass
I made her cringe
And cry and scream.
My words were just
A hint too mean

(Journal/ Interlude II)

Girlfriend left tonight: crying
Leaving behind her first one
The first one who showed her
What it was to live together:
My lust, my lust
My lover for my lust


Walk with me…
We could be…
Endless possibilities.
Dance your exotic dance for me,
The dance you never danced for me

Sing for me your desperate song
Paint a picture with your tears so long

Tell me with your legs and hips
The stories you cannot with your lips

Tell me with a sigh and whimper
All about when times were simpler

And tell me why you left so early
You left my soul intact; just barely

And tell me why I let you leave
And why I sit here now and grieve

(Love in the City/ Interlude III)

Sunrise comes.
And bodies part,
and there we bid adieu.

(Daydream on a Winter Morning)

I close my eyes now, and see
Beauty in my thoughts and dreams.
My dreams are filled with pleasantries.
My thoughts are filled with tears.

My days are filled with labored loves
that flew away like turtle doves.
My nights are filled with gorgeous girls
that pass me by with bouncing curls.

For in the frigid winter night
I held her in my arms.
And in the faded starry night
she trapped me with her charm.

But soon my vision fades to black
and then, I reminisce.
I think back, to the times we had
that vanished into the mist

(Memories of a Lunar Love)

Remembrance is a photograph,
Old and out of reach
A woman from my distant past
resting on a twilight beach.

I see her lovely silhouette
I taste her ruby lips
I smell her bodies lingering scent
I hold her tender hips

I hear her gentle, dulcet voice:
It’s pure angelic bliss
I remember that I was her choice
And kissed her in the mists

I still see her, in my thoughts
Few and far between
But never have I once forgot
Those memories – cruel and mean.

But bodies leave, and fade to dust
and drift off into night
Photos age and turn to rust,
but never lose their might

Remembrance is a photograph
that I will have for years
to remind me of my smiles and laughs,
but also of my tears


For a long time Time alluded me,
Shifted backwards
Ran forward
Shunned me
At every turn
And left me…

Scrambling for those moments
We frame in half-lit bedrooms,
Where our mothers never said good night
Where our lovers never kissed goodbye.

(À La Ville Quand Il Pleut/ Prelude II )

The ten o’clock streets, echo
Footsteps onto silver concrete, tossing
Raindrops onto metal roofs, reflecting
Shadows onto sickened walls.
A women’s perfume floats
Lazily in the corridor.
An etherized sky hangs
Frozen in a fog.

(Lakefront Drive)

“Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shake the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium”
– T.S. Elliot

Seven miles.
The cobalt car reflects glints of twilight.
As the moon sits coolly in the sky
Absorbing a waning dusk
Resting like anonymous grey eyes
On a mothers waiting face

The streetlight’s flicker,
The streetlight’s bicker
The streetlight’s snicker and say
“Stars fade into darkness,
Like puddles in an alleyway”

Six miles
Riding along crushing dead leaves,
The gasoline mixes
Coarsely with the brittle air.
A mascot’s eyes leer into my heart,
Peer into my soul,
Remind me of mortality
and slither onto a wall.

The church bells chime louder,
Stalling in front of the chapel
The prayers grow fainter
Until only childhood’s rosaries
Hold vigil to the car and city.

It is raining.
Through the unfamiliar part of town
Focus narrows
The road stretches out
The rain falls harder.

Four miles.
Driving aimlessly,
Meditating on life,
The city lights pass by
Illuminating the nocturne
Infinitely as they go,
Infinitely into darkening

Haven’t I paid my dues
To the universe?
Don’t I still have time
To become myself?
I could’ve sworn I had potential…
Two miles.
Racing through the city corridors,
Somewhere a siren rings,
A women clutches her daughter to her breast
Her son runs in and out of the shadows
Masquerading as a thief in the night.

The siren draws closer.
The daughter’s cries pierce the sky
Older Brother stops
And stares with empty eyes.

The raindrops beat the ground even harder
A white hollow cry rings into the evening

The asphalt turns into gravel,
The road ends here
The siren faded into the night

No more miles
The Lake.
The water refracts the moonlight
The cobalt is imperceptibly distant
Drawing closer it races towards me
Until it crashes
And I become a part of it.

I’m tossed asunder
Currents push and pull me under
Through the water above me
I stare up at the sky and wonder..
The sun rises
My hand holds a fistful of sand
In a half-clenched fist.
Last night,
the waves crashed into the shore
And I heard them.

This morning,
the waves crash into the shore
But I hear no more.


I am           and:
I refuse to not be.

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Daniel Dominguez is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature, focusing on Modernist literature from the early 20th century. He was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. His writing is an attempt to capture the ephemeral allure of the city and its inhabitants.

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