The Venturesomeness of Sedition

By Tino Villanueva b. 1941 Tino Villanueva

     The unrestricted sun
had split the day in two,
and now we went
on the edge of the afternoon
like a tableau of bent figures
made of faded blue duck.
We went like a wandering
and stinking, sweating brotherhood,
pull by pull between
the leafy cotton plants,
with the pathetic appearance of arriving
at the end of the furrow.
But we always arrived
in a rush to get there,
and the sole logic was
we had to move over
to the next furrow,
and no one could stop
the counterflow down it.

And I, the dusty kid
left behind in the middle of the field,
held prisoner in my own slow shadow,
was right
in not giving in to the absurd pace
of tradition.
So my days burned up
in that captive state
of childhood.

Then, yes,
it was then the venturesomeness
of sedition overtook me.
Saturdays,
after noon,
the body finally lying down
in the waves of the aluminum bathtub.
And in the liberating rite of the water,
I could shed
the grime and contemplate
the muddy waters of time.
So it was,
with the ablution of the weekly bath,
I exiled myself each time
from what I was.

Tino Villanueva, "The Venturesomeness of Sedition" from Chronicle of My Worst Years. Copyright © 1994 by Tino Villanueva.  Reprinted by permission of TriQuarterly Books.

Source: Chronicle of My Worst Years (TriQuarterly Books, 1994)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Tino Villanueva b. 1941

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Youth, Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities

 Tino  Villanueva

Biography

Poet and painter Tino Villanueva was born in San Marcos, Texas to a family of migrant workers. He was drafted into the army and served for two years as a supply clerk in the Panama Canal Zone before earning a BA at Southwest Texas State University, an MA at State University of New York at Buffalo, and a PhD at Boston University.
 
Writing in both Spanish and English, at times sliding back and forth between the two languages, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Youth, Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.