Rootless in Patagonia

(Toothless in Brooklyn)

by Frank Thomas Smith


In anyone over a certain age

certain questions arise unbidden.

Often they're dead statistically,

Life and health insurance aren't interested,

Credit cards keep their distance, preferring,

like Mephisto, rosy-cheeked lads and lassies.


Mephisto himself shuffles center-stage

left to right, light to gloom, ready to draw

and swipe his scythe at the moment ripe.


But, you'll say, the old are dead due to destiny,

human karma, something to be borne smilingly.

Karma includes birth and death, pure and simply.


Yeah, your Rev., but you at least have roots

In Cairo, Moscow, Milwaukee or Mongolia.

(“There are no cows in Moscvá” said Romanoff.)

(You'll find none in Brooklyn either, say I.)

Patagonia cultivates no roots at all, even closing

its clay to Greek (Patagon) mythology.


Patagonia's Patagons are giants, pure and simply.

You'll find no roots in desert spines and cacti.


Patagonia is metaphor for the beginning-of-the-end,

Where all is sparse, unyielding, tough, half-dead, dying,

Seen-better-days, and years and decades and centuries.


The Brooklyn Bridge connects Patagonia to Patagonia.

Autos fly headlong to Manhattania,

Skulking back at dusk to Brooklynania;

Tourists skip across at noon to B-nania,

Sulking back in gloom to M-tania.

“Who else is dumb enough with open eyes to walk

from the pot to the fucking frying pan – and back?”


Someone said, and many thought but never said:

Birth is death; death is birth (go figure).

Let them come to Patagonia,

where birth is birth, death is death,

and ne'er the twain shall meet –

Except – when May meets December.


Then birth is death and death is birth,

Wherever the twain do meet,

Whenever the twain do tweet,

Rootless in Patagonia, (toothless in Brooklyn).