Jorge Etcheverry Arcaya – The Watchman

Arcaya LE P&W June 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2024.

The Watchman, poems by Jorge Etcheverry Arcaya.

The Watchman

This body
this sort of cover
for an uninteresting book
or disguise of sorts
is an instrument
that encloses me
I am inside
and I master it
to a certain extent:
When I feel I don’t want to stop
I keep on moving my legs
even faster
than before
if I don’t want to see something
I close my eyelids
like two loopholes
and prepare to cheat
this ever vigilant sentry
inside my skull
and I tell him:
“Tt’s not true
there’s nothing outside
it’s an illusion”
But he won’t let himself be cheated
much less bought
And the whole machine
lies awake at night
and he’s awake to
‘cause he’s always


Are we an endangered species?
That’s what I wonder
when I go to a poetry reading
or open a poetry magazine
It’s true that
the most sensitive
and talented
of our youngsters
practise poetry
(at an alarming rate)

It’s a well known fact
that there are 4,000 poets
in this country
Our extinction
is out of the question
We don’t have much of a public
it’s true
but we can always read
to each other,
exchange chap-books
or just letters

Please enclose
a self-addressed,
stamped envelope.

Res Extensa

The body, like this dog
seated beside us
waiting with imploring eyes
for us to throw him
some food
to care for him
to bath him
to kill his fleas
to give him his medicine sometimes
We are men
we exist officially
from the neck upward.

© Jorge Etcheverry Arcaya 

Jorge Etcheverry Arcaya is a Chilean-born poet, editor, publisher, and translator. He has been living in Canada since the early years of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, where he was a member of the poetry collectives Grupo América and Escuela de Santiago. A highly regarded writer, he has been a key cultural figure and promoter in Latin American and immigrant communities in his adopted country and has continued his prolific literary and editorial work. His texts have been published in various countries and in multiple genres, including poetry, criticism, literary fiction, essays, and science fiction. His latest books are Clorodiaxepóxido (Chile 2017), Canadografía: antología de prosa hispanocanadiense (Chile 2017) Los herederos (2018) Samarkanda (Canada 2019), Outsiders (2020). He has recently contributed to the anthologies Wurlitzer. Cantantes en la memoria de la poesía chilena (Chile 2018), Antología de la poesía chilena de la última década (Chile 2018), Antología mundial: la papa, seguridad alimentaria (Bolivia 2019), and Anthologie de la poésie chilienne, 26 poètes d’aujourd’hui (Francia 2021). His latest publications in magazines appeared in La Pluma del Ganso (Mexico 2018) and Entre Paréntesis (Chile 2022).

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