Left my heart there long ago.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

One thought on “Ribello

  1. I received a comment on social media from a person who enjoyed this poem overall, but found it a little difficult to follow on account of her lack of familiarity with American history. I wrote back to her as follows:

    Admittedly, the poem plays on events in American history. The most important theme, though, I think is universal: The man wants to find “Ribello,” a place where salvation may be had without purgation from sin (“No Christ is needed out there. Your sins balanced by your care.”). It is a kind of false Pelagian fantasy.

    No matter how far he walks he cannot get passed the death that is intrinsic to him and to his land (the Rebel Snakes and the Yankees referring to the American Civil War, the dead squaw and the hung “Tippecanoe,” General (and later President) William Henry Harrison, referring to the American Indian Wars, and the Puritan man and wife referring to the colonization period before the American Revolution). No matter how much he romanticizes his warlike nature (his knife wrapped in “bloodied crepes,” in other words softened by a dainty French pancake) he will be driven mad by it (the knife once wrapped by French crepes is later wrapped by his own hands).

    Without purgation he cannot find any rest out there in that endless desert. “Ribello” is a false hope, like the lost city of gold the conquistadores hoped to find in the North American continent. The only real hope for our hero is Christ, but he rejects that out of hand.


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