Peace Corps Writers
Over fifty RPCVs read about their Peace Corps experience at the 40 + 1 Conference. So that a wider audience might share in the readings, we will be publishing them online.
Readings from The 40 + 1
Four Poems
by James Galbraith (Chile 1966–68)
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page 2
Living Right in Antofagasta

page 3
La Vida Antofagastina 1968
How I became a poet

page 4
Meeting Neruda

      The Communist

         International understanding:
         A miner’s bar, northern Chile

    “Perdón, Meester.” In the smoke-and-wine dizziness
    before our table — dirt-caked and unshaven,
    genuflecting and bowing profusely as a tv oriental:
    “Perdón Meester, perdón Meester,
    you are norteamericano?
    I am comunista . . .
    Yet I like the norteamericanos.
    I wish to shake your hand . . .
    Never have I known any norteamericano.
    I have known a man once
    but not norteamericano
    from Canadá, I think.
    You know him?”

    “I don’t think so,” I say.

    Perdón. In the mines
    he was engineer, very importante.
    His name I do not remember.
    About 9 yrs ago
    he was here.
    You know him?”

    “I don’t think so,” I say.

    In any case, I wish to shake your hand —
    though I am comunista. Perdón.”

    We shake hands for about ten minutes
    and everyone is silent
    until the bartender escorts him
    back to his table.

    Perdón, Meester.”
    He looks back through the smoke:
    “Perdón, Meester.”

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