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‘Cemetario General’ in Cacti Fur

My poem “Cemetario General” was published in Cacti Fur. I wrote this poem in Chile, while traveling through that beautiful land of friendly people. People in Chile kiss you on both cheeks when they meet you.

I went to Chile in 2013 for a winter-term trip through the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. We visited Santiago, Valparaíso, and Pucón. Valparaíso was my favorite place — a port city built on rolling hills with old pulley systems that bring you to different levels of the city. It’s also one of the most artistic cities I’ve visited, with artist colonies, graffiti, and murals everywhere. It’s inspired several poems.

Through my class, we learned about Chile’s haunting past in which dictator Augusto Pinochet overthrew the president and caused forced disappearances and murders of thousands of people. This is a very politically-inspired piece.

We toured Cemetario General, the largest cemetery in Santiago. One of the plots, Patio 29, was used to bury these disappeared and unidentified. In addition to the plot, there were walls and walls of crumbling concrete with boxes — and bodies, the remains, maybe only what could be found of a loved one, inside. While we toured, learned, and paid our respect, we passed a cemetery worker who was cleaning the grounds. I was caught reflecting about his job, and this piece was the result.

You can read the poem here.

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