Jun 20

Blot Lit Reviews: A Condensation of Maps by Roberto Carcache Flores

A Condensation of Maps

A Condensation of Maps, Roberto Carcache Flores
Dink Press, 2015
Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

Dink Press has a nice niche going on in the realm of chapbooks. Their primary focus is on emerging poets who have great potential for future growth, and that comes through in Roberto Carache Flores’ A Condensation of Maps. This nineteen poem chapbook with many pieces brings Flores’ home of El Salvador to life as he touches on relationships and break-ups, but is at his best when he pulls out the physical, emotional, and political climate of his country. His poems are short and brisk, but have an airiness to them that flows from one image to the next.

Flores’ most interesting work in the collection offers a glimpse into the politics, past and current, of El Salvador. In the opening poem, “Leaving Perquín,” we are reminded of the civil war and how life continues with whispers of revolution that remain in hearts and minds.

”Remember how
you crossed
the green hill crests
with a steel wool kite
tied around your ankles,
while frantically chasing
the scent of an underground fire
you thought long gone?

You walked through
the trails of Perquín
with nothing but your toes,
while softly humming
I’ve been here before.”

Flores reminds us that these ideals are ever present in society and maybe even that there is a longing for something better, something we are chasing. The great thing about this poem, and the collection as a whole, is the more you sit with it, the more is revealed to you.  By the time you reach “Boarders Left Behind” there is an anticipation and wanting for more of Flores’ imagery and metaphor.

a black seal
on a feather
every time
an eagle soars
too far from
its nest
or questioning
a vulture’s
motives for its
incessant travel.”

Flores’ “X/O” poems are quite interesting. They are a play, a conversation of sorts, between lovers splitting and the wishes they bestow for each other. There is great control over language here and he does not over-romanticize or place blame, which we read so often. This culminates to a type of understanding that X and O have and the compassion is seen again in “Treatment,”

“If I could
I’d be your
smooth jazz
the morning,
one eye
on the clock,
another in
your folder.”
And then,
“My hands
would shake
in yours like swarms
of moths
around a
lamp shade
until you
grab a seat,
and look me
in the eye.”

I just fall into the softness of Flores’ words—smooth like jazz. There is a nice rhythm to his poetry that is very easy to get lost in. But the star of the show is definitely the final poem in which the title The Condensation of Maps comes. “Epilogue (Saint Sivar’s Horizon)” is beautiful and poignant. However, I will leave it up to you to purchase the chapbook to find the beauty for yourself. And you should purchase this lovely chapbook.











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