La Presa Issue 4
Embajadoras Press Ontario, Canada
La Presa Copyright © 2018 by Embajadoras Press, Ontario, Canada All Rights Reserved No part of this journal may be used or reproduced without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner. Editor / Editora Lee Gould Associate Editor / Editora Asociada Amaranta Caballero Prado Contributing Editors / Colaboradores de Redacción Paula Dunning Gregg Friedberg Annie Smith Miriam de Uriarte Technical Consultants / Consultores Técnicos Jack Dunning Gregg Friedberg Translator / Traductor Eduardo Padilla Cover / Portada de la Revista John McQueen: “Same Difference” Cover Design: Gregg Friedberg
La Presa is a tri-annual literary magazine devoted to publishing poetry and prose in Spanish and /or English by writers from Canada, Mexico, and the United States. www.embajadoraspress.com Please direct correspondence to: email@example.com
Issue 4, January 2018
Numero 4, enero 2018
Paul Bamberger And Me Thinking All the While Tim McCoy Envisioned the Ghost Dance 1 Cameron McGill Traducción: Eduardo Padilla Mythos Mito
Traducción: Jorge Javier Romero Renting a Room in Riomaggiore Rentar un cuarto en Riomaggiore
Gorge Javier Romero: Translations by the author La immortalidad de las partículas The Endless Life of Particles
Las esquinas The Corners
Carter Ratcliff Hegel
José Kozer Imago Mundi
Campbell McGrath Traducción: Jorge Javier Romero My Estate Mis bienes
Pedro Mena Bermúdez Es tan lindo ser maldito Los sobrinos del pato Donald en coro
Peg Boyers A Garland of Curing Ragas 1. Safina 2. Dervish 3. Before the Rain at Nat Mahar 4. Daccan Picnic with Krishna enriKetta luissi Bombeo Traducción: Olga Gutiérrez-García Outcome Desenlace
20 21 22 23 25 26 27
Danny P. Barbare The Bedroom on the Lake
Shira Dentz You Are Here (A) You Are Here (B)
Laurence Ryan keepers collection
Norberto de la Torre González Fotografías: 3481, C-253 A-473, 634 No. 35, B-736
32 33 34
Lori Anderson Moseman Y, a character you too could play body politic election blues Y refuses to stop believing in humor’s ripple effect lament this endless rush gut vent
35 36 37 38 39
Eduardo Padilla Translation: Anne Gorrick La gran soltería (Junk Bonds) Solitary Confinement (Junk Bonds)
Juanita Rey The English Section
Julie Suarez Emu on the Menu
Monique Clesca The Neighbor
Miriam de Uriarte The Dog Inside Me The Return October 25th
51 52 53
Rocío Cerón Translation: Tanya Huntington [arqueología del padre] [Archeology of the Father]
Robert Bensen 1959
Dan Kraines Ascension
Augusto Nava Mora Durga
Kathleen S. Burgess Adaptation
Timothy Brennan Look and Look Away
Michael Nelson The Bleeding Stinking Mad Shadow of Jesus
Oliverio Macías Álvarez 4:30 J. Del. B.
Catherine Pond Traducción: Jorge Javier Romero Polarship Nave polar Traduccion: Eduardo Padillo Boy Leading a Horse Niño que conduce a un caballo
66 67 68 69
Robert Beveridge Equinity
Susan Chute The Cat in the Hat
Dan Chernin A Chance Encounter
Lirio Garduño-Buono El retrato de Emigdio
Anna Adams Jewish Mexicans – Oy Vey: From Jewish 80 Mexican to Mexican Jew in the novels of Rosa Nissan, Sabina Berman and Sara Sefchovich Artist Statement
From the Editor: A year has passed since La Presa’s beginning. In the three issues of 2017, we’ve presented nearly 300 pages of contemporary poetry and prose, in Spanish and English. With each issue we’ve included more poems and translations in Spanish, increased the diversity of prose pieces to include memoir, short story, and essay. Even so, we’ve barely tapped the literary riches that surround us. In our second year, we hope to present work from more of the diverse communities of our three countries: francophones and First Nations from Canada, native Americans from the US, the indigenous peoples of Mexico. And to present work that reflects the experiences of the newly arrived and the travelling through. To share the rhythms and sounds of our various languages. We also hope to publish more essays and stories about contemporary issues, works that are experimental as well as those that exemplify formal accomplishment. And, of course, we will continue to follow the development of those who have been with us since the beginning. De la editora: Ha pasado un año desde el comienzo de La Presa. En los tres números de 2017, hemos presentado casi 300 páginas de poesía y prosa contemporáneas, en español e inglés. Con cada número, hemos incluido más poemas y traducciones en español, hemos aumentado la diversidad de piezas en prosa para incluir memorias, historias y ensayos. Aún así, apenas hemos aprovechado las riquezas literarias que nos rodean. En nuestro segundo año, esperamos presentar textos de más comunidades diversas de nuestros tres países: francófonos y Primeras Naciones de Canadá y de los pueblos indígenas de México así como de los Estados Unidos. Presentar textos que reflejan las experiencias de los recién llegados y los viajeros. Compartir los ritmos y sonidos de nuestros varios idiomas. También esperamos publicar más ensayos e historias sobre temas contemporáneos, obras que son experimentales y aquellos que ejemplifican la habilidad formal. Y por supuesto, continuaremos siguiendo el desarrollo de aquellos que han estado con nosotros desde el principio. Cordiales saludos para todos
Lee Gould, editora
I will, I promise, write it all down on this long palm leaf with the squid ink you gave me, but first let me dip my brush in colors —vegetal greens and blues— to make of this troubled year with its dark inexorable transience something luminous and durable . . . —Peg Boyers
And Me Thinking All the While Tim McCoy Envisioned the Ghost Dance the damage swift across the catalogued night sky the slack-jawed dark deaths they held hands circled to the left that no harm would come to them and me thinking all the while tim mccoy envisioned the ghost dance and the young warriors war-cried the blood and tears of the dying the whiskey wars a drunkardâ€™s path they held hands circled to the left that no harm would come to them and me thinking all the while tim mccoy envisioned the ghost dance hunger shadowed the path the rats at their pleasure no trick to it at all they held hands circled to the left that no harm would come to them and me thinking all the while tim mccoy envisioned the ghost dance let the dead serve notice they are close by and think nothing of it old men will tell of a time when the people held hands circled to the left that no harm would ever come to them and me thinking all the while tim mccoy envisioned the ghost dance bird fly your lunacy wisely the glory of morningâ€™s abide
Mythos Mother, I am wrong— we are not from stone, but my memories make hard things of beauty. I know there is a small bird that lives inside me telling everything backwards to my birth. There, there, he says, and scares from a wooden table where a chair’s been pushed away. He moves between my ribs, holds them like branches, like the dark boards of dreams, with a voice that calms horses. In a field outside the town of my youth he waits like young widows for sleep. The name he calls my blood is yours. He leaves his work in the corners of my eyes, in drawings on the walls of my mouth where a man stands in a field, an ornament to moonlight. Sometimes he lies down, others he takes a knee, a bath, his own life. —Cameron McGill
Mito Madre, me equivoco— no somos de piedra, pero mis recuerdos hacen duros objetos de belleza. Yo sé del ave pequeña que vive en mis adentros y recuenta todo hasta alcanzar mi nacimiento. Tranquilo, me dice, y se ahuyenta de una mesa de madera de la que una silla ha sido apartada. Se mueve entre mis costillas, las sostiene como si fueran ramas, como el oscuro entablado de los sueños, con una voz que calma a los caballos. En un campo junto al pueblo de mi juventud él espera como las viudas jóvenes al sueño. El nombre que le da a mi sangre es tuyo. Él deja su obra en el rabillo de mis ojos, en dibujos en las paredes de mi boca, donde un hombre está de pie en un campo, un adorno para luz de luna. A veces se echa al suelo, otras se arrodilla, se baña, se da muerte. —Cameron McGill Traducción: Eduardo Padilla
Renting a Room in Riomaggiore A yellow house on top of the hill. On the stuccoed wall, the shadow of a church. On the cobblestone path to the church were weeds. In the church: the altar, the water, the word of god. The old women in black climbed the shadows as the lamb took away the sins of the world. At night, when lights came on across the valley, numbers ablaze like birthday cakes, I watched the flowers of up-lit columbaria and the moon listing on tethered boats in the cove. The old women took the body of Christ for a walk in their mouths.
Rentar un cuarto en Riomaggiore Una casa amarilla en lo alto de la colina. En el muro estucado, la sombra de una iglesia. En el camino de piedra que lleva a la iglesia, maleza. En la iglesia: el altar, el agua, la palabra de dios. Las viejas mujeres de negro escalaron las sombras mientras el cordero quitaba los pecados del mundo. Por la noche, cuando las luces cruzaban el valle, ardiendo como en pasteles de cumpleaños, yo veía las flores de los sepulcros iluminados y la luna haciendo inventario de los barcos amarrados en la ensenada. Las viejas mujeres llevaron el cuerpo de Cristo a pasear en sus bocas.
—Cameron McGill Traducción: Jorge Javier Romero
La inmortalidad de las partículas Los gusanos en casa de la abuela siguen vivos Son las cuerdas que vibran y mantienen el recuerdo andando El universo en una tentadora expansión: el estado crítico de las partículas que en el mar no se saben expresar Los peces no parpadean Quizás sean como nosotros cuando no queremos dormir por miedo a que los ojos dejen de estar —Jorge Javier Romero
The Endless Life of Particles The worms in Grandma’s house are still alive vibrating strings that keep memories running The universe in a seductive expansion: the critical state of particles not knowing how to speak in the sea Fish don’t blink Like us they may be afraid of losing their sight while they sleep —Jorge Javier Romero Translation by the author
Las esquinas Un niĂąo juega dentro aprende la lengua de los insectos No tiene que crecer ya hay suficiente vida en el suelo Desde la terraza solo puede ver las esquinas de afuera las que apuntan Baila en vestido Esta es la obra improvisada Cubre las huellas, vuelve a respirar Recuerda que al salir debes cargar los escombros de esta isla
â€”Jorge Javier Romero
The Corners A child plays inside learns the language of insects He doesn’t have to grow up there´s enough life on the ground From the rooftop he can see only the outer corners signaling Go, dance in your gown This is the improvised show Cover the tracks, breathe you’ll have to carry the rubble when you leave
—Jorge Javier Romero Translation by the author
Hegel to the contrary, meaning is not and never was an impalpable something yearning to escape from the ancient rocks. It is neither older than the rocks, nor younger, nor is it timeless. Meaning puts out feelers in the hope of reaching past its prior hope of turning into the pattern, twining and eternal, on the frame around the picture about the picture, for meaning has seen that the picture’s depiction is neither true nor false, even if the picture is a monochrome and depicts itself as depicting only itself, even as it reminds Ariadne of the Minotaur and his thousand-yard stare. He keeps bumping into walls. But what about Ariadne? Could she teach us the way out of the labyrinth —teach us what we already know, that it’s not a labyrinth, this odd weightlessness we call knowledge. It’s a joke about the obvious, that meaning cannot live in eternity, any more than, shiny and dark, a porpoise of water can live in solidified bronze. It can live only in the currents of art, the way Hegel’s case against eternity lives not in his arguments but in hunches that never let him nail them down in time, for time’s disputatious currents are alive with meanings that do not live, as it happens, forever. They swim and die and propagate in the fluid labyrinth forever evicting Hegel himself. Ariadne has volunteered
to go and meet him, sit him down and teach him the lessons lurking in the grand and shadowy architecture of his certitudes. But her recent escape has not released her from that darkness and she is too faint to teach anyone or anything â€”simple arithmetic, for instance. So we will never know how many meanings we have sacrificed to the Minotaur, how many people he has killed in his struggle to prevent time from giving birth to itself and the mazy doubts that give us our futures. So arithmetic scares us, as well as Ariadne. How can we not join her in trembling at the very thought of its timeless and thereby terrible authority? â€”Carter Ratcliff
Imago Mundi Día soleado, agradezco la ausencia de gestas en casa, a un par de leguas a la redonda ni atisbo de proezas, una ventana me acerca (el mediodía se acerca) a unas garzas que pasan en fila diagonal alejándose, modo de obligarme a imaginar su trayectoria, formación, donde se posan, a qué: estoy atento a la uniformidad del tiempo, mis actividades son todas menores, hojeo un libro de cocina coreana regalo de mi yerno y su mujer mi hija menor, leo una receta: la traduzco al español en mi cabeza, a veces me falta una palabra, me la salto o la busco en un diccionario inglés español. Tierra firme el silencio que me rodea, la continua extinción de miriápodos, estilos, pistilos, himenópteros, sucesión de pensamientos, pocas ideas, me hago a esta nueva normalidad en que no se ve a nadie, no se sabe de nadie, uno se acostumbra a la situación leyendo, tomando apuntes ora
tomando apuntes ora poéticos, ora en un dietario, todo banal: subo un poco, salgo un rato (al balcón) consulto una lista de vocablos (cerceta pigargo boquerón) (ajimez perol) (escutelaria) ninguna palabra me emociona, más me emociona tener sobre el regazo un libro no en exceso sesudo sobre religión budista: a esta estancia vuelven asuntos que descubrí hace lustros (se me traspapelaron) todo se (me) olvida, se recupera cuando menos se espera, regresa Jittoku (tenzo del monasterio) Kuan-yin, hembra, hombre, Kwannon, Avalokiteshvara, vuelve el concepto de las Paramitas, la Vinaya, Abhidharma (a tan alto no aspiro) luego abriré el libro, leeré unas páginas antes del almuerzo, pechuga de pollo empanizada, puré de calabaza con zanahoria (se me pondrá la piel anaranjada) no miraré la hora: así no me muero. No prestar atención a las reyertas entre vecinos, las
refriegas del mundo con el mundo, todo tiene su lado bueno, incluso noble, y esta soledad de esta nueva normalidad me facilita vivir como hago, suficiencia, salud media, espacios de cansancio que me llevan a dormitar varias veces al día, no distinguir entre reposo corporal y ;ecuanimidad mental: no me resisto a nada (en eso consiste mi resistencia, en vez de roble, junco) Guadalupe (otro ejemplo de resistencia) cumple conmigo mañana cuarenta y tres años de casados, nos quedamos en casa, preparamos un banquete compuesto de camarones frescos de la zona (una localidad donde pasamos unos últimos años, atardeceres) habrá pan casero, números arábigos, cuentas claras y el chocolate La Española. Echarle ajonjolí a los días, verdolaga a las semanas, perejil a las gallinas no a las cotorras, almorzar callados, intimidad en intimidad, ser dos: recoger la mesa, fregar,
secar la loza, guardarla, pasa un tordo cerca del balcón (no es grave) alzar la cara: pasa un aura tiñosa, solavaya. —José Kozer
My Estate The meanings I make inevitably make me. As of chalk or apricots, of nouns and verbs. The meanings I forsake cascade to the sea in floods, in spasms. As the commonwealth of words enfranchises its constituents in perpetuity, so the interpreted world remains a diamond mine, a cornucopia of semiotic superfluity. Of gems, then. And stone fruit. And slant rhyme.
Mis Bienes Los significados que construyo me construyen inevitablemente. De tiza o albaricoques, de nombres y verbos. Los significados que abandono caen al mar en cascada y lo inundan, con espasmos. De la misma manera en que la comunidad de las palabras emancipa sus partes para siempre, el mundo interpretado permanece como una mina de diamantes, una cornucopia de redundancia semiĂłtica. De gemas, entonces. Y fruta de piedra. Y rima sesgada.
â€”Campbell McGrath TraducciĂłn: Jorge Javier Romero
Es tan lindo ser maldito Su risa delataba cierta farmacodependencia en efecto incluso su perfil como poeta ah entonces es bueno sí es bueno entonces hagamos un club para citarlo y desdeñar a quien no lo ha leído estoy de acuerdo bien bien ahora está en facebook y eso sólo es el inicio / para empezar por algo dice el vulgo seguro una empresa sin presupuesto pero caritativa lo editara con la honra de un papel higiénico
—Pedro Mena Bermúdez
Los sobrinos del pato Donald en coro Todos sabemos que escribes tonterías que odias la cursilería y los tratos con lo alado sabemos que usas prendas planchadas por ser anti-ideólogo y que eres libre de triquiñuelas y amoríos fuera del matrimonio también sabemos que te crees astuto y amigable en fin sabes ocultar bien tus odios y los arrojas de vez en vez citando citas citables de fracasados como tú para hacernos creer que no te molesta ese estatus Deja que te lo digamos nosotros sobre todo cuando estés en una bonetería un día lunes a las 7 pe eme y veremos qué tan uña eres de todos tus héroes y certezas
—Pedro Mena Bermúdez
Garland of Curing Ragas* 1. Safina I will, I promise, write it all down on this long palm leaf with the squid ink you gave me, but first let me dip my brush in colors â€”vegetal greens and bluesâ€” to make of this troubled year with its dark inexorable transience something luminous and durable. With vivid pigments I'll take back what was lost, stroking us in as two stylized rocks, indigo and gray, floating behind an unfathomably marbleized foreground. We can't paint precisely what was this illness, nor apprehend it with line or perspective. Instead, let me make something new that is ours. Not a replica of the past but a safe world composed of grace. On parchment I will paint a garden with date palms and frangipani; border it with acanthus hedge. Instead of grass, a lawn of chamomile. On this bed of blue violets we will dream by day what was almost sorrow into a place of light and wonder. And by night (although we are rocks, solid and enduring)
we shall don raiment of magenta and mauve and dance atop a colonnade of arches, appeasing the nocturnal raptor with our song.
2. Dervish Amber scent and musk fly off my whirling robes, Overpowering the temple fragrance Of rose mixed with incense. You are playing the tambourine, Wildly keeping pace with my dance. The daf, you correct me. My instrument is a daf. You clap the leather to your palm, then—expertly—to your hip And I wonder where you learned this. Someone invisible escalates the beat, and still we persist. Dervishes are mendicants, I remember. I am not one of those. My wrists and fingers are bejeweled with lapis; Emeralds adorn my throat. But today I am begging. My beggar’s bowl lies empty on the prayer rug Beside an amphora of violets, a supplicant’s Challenge to the bestowers of health. The music stops and your arm reaches out to still me. Above, the dim moon hides in a crescent of secrets. We emerge into the garden, two stalwart cypresses Listening for the nightingale.
3. Before the Rain at Nat Mahar
You sit on the shore, enclosed In your conditionâ€” Aflame, but out of reach. I am a maiden Splashing you From the lotus-filled river. My silver droplets fly in your direction, But cannot penetrate The invisible shield encasing you. The diagonal axis of the river cuts through me Yet we are laughing, The two of us; We must Find it all So terribly funny, This splashing, This futile game. Below, approaching Bands of worms Prepare the ground. Maybe they are not worms at all, I think. They are the same forms Giovanni di Paulo painted In his Creation of the World. I know them well; Iâ€™ve known them for years, Those ominous harbingers Of our expulsion from Paradise, Our sudden sentence to rot, to die.
This thought does not console me. Nor does the next thought, that I am only dreaming a terrible dream. Meanwhile, the industrious worms— So pink and mindless and alive— Continue their very real labor Preparing the very real dirt.
4. Deccan Picnic with Krishna
Though he is king he eschews the crown. On occasion he’ll don his feathered dhoti but today he’d rather play than rule. Here in the royal meadow the grass is fragrant with clover. He treads lightly on its purple blossoms. In the Vedic tradition, He is the enchanter, but today he too may be enchanted— his heroism, his divinity, for the time sent on furlough. He has brought his flute, but left his godly blue skin at home. Of his 16,000 cow-maidens only a few have gathered here. He loves us all, but loves me best. I keep to the shadows, let the others dote on him in the sun, entertain him with their games. Two pump gaily on a swing suspended from the ancient tree, their young breasts freely airing in the breeze. Another, laughing, sings as they swing, Oh adorable one of the white lily eyes. It is mango season again. After a harsh winter, this: ripe fruit cascade carelessly to the ground. Succulence everywhere. I have lain out a banquet atop an Agra carpet; our half-naked attendant
Further adorns the scene. She pours tea from silver vessels, extends a cup to her lord. Her hennaed toes pull his gaze the length of her body; he receives the drink, gives her a flower in return. How sweet, how gallant is my king, I think, then avert my stare, return to my place in the shade. It is cool here under the mango tree and I am too sleepy for dark thoughts. My king is back and he is happy. This is my mantra. Behind me the old cows lie in the sun, their empty udders tucked neatly beneath them. Not so sad to be old and dry, I think, as long as we are considered sacred. â€”Peg Boyers
* The images in these five poems are taken from 16th c. Mughal ragamala paintings (Deccan, India).
Bombeo fumar en el altar es recomendable las jeringas están permitidas antidepresivos anfetaminas y Lucy in the Sky with diamonds ¡yes! batidoras de sangre chamuscadoras
desolladoras eléctricas también
hablar del amor de Dios es bueno —enriKetta luissi
Outcome Non-objects are mortal. Solitary as “today”, that word, is. * Is it possible to give them an applause— unrepeatable, alongside the blackish vision of bread, amid the vinegar of knotted debris? * Flamed trash. What the anemone drags to be happy, becomes a desert. * A birth-marked outcome. —enriKetta luissi
Desenlace Mortales los no-objetos. Solitarios como la palabra “ hoy” es. * ¿Será posible darles un aplauso— irrepetible a lo largo de la visión negruzca del pan, entre el vinagre de escombros entrelazados? * Basura flameada. Lo que la anémona arrastra para ser feliz, se convierte en desierto. El desenlace marca de nacimiento. —enriKetta luissi Traducción: Olga Gutiérrez-García
The Bedroom at the Lake
At the lake house, Iâ€™m lying in bed beside an antique table with a lamp sitting on it and I believe an orange ceramic coaster I made with the print of a maple leaf in it Iâ€™m looking at a picture book of the national parks, a dead scorpion that makes me leery is in the overhead shade I turn out the lights and pull the sheets with imprints of animals on them over me like a kid. The moon is sometimes in the window brightening the pine trees A yellow legal pad is beside me and an Italian leather briefcase filled with dreams. â€”Danny P. Barbare
You are here Oranges though I don’t know why roundness is cool like succor like rain loaves, leaves piled high, cement, a brushing of sorts, scrape. Ambiguity takes the knot. There’s a roundness of meaning, a friendly estimate so inexact, welcoming. Letters themselves filling. The ease of reading Dick, Jane, and Spot, all running Here I am running too, towards a space, hanging, but am ok because something was always missing, a gap How do you do with questions? —Shira Dentz
You are here Oranges though I donâ€™t know why roundness is cool like succor like rain loaves, leaves piled high, cement, a brushing of sorts, scrape. Ambiguity takes the knot. Thereâ€™s a roundness of meaning, a friendly estimate so inexact, welcoming. Letters themselves filling. The ease of reading Dick, Jane, and Spot, all running Here I am running too, towards a space, hanging, but am ok because something was always missing, a gap How do you do with questions?
keepers collection paused pieces of timelessness arms hands pointing fingers that swept the known world faces surreal side mouths full with dates or waxing croissants day month moon tide suspended tick tock heart pendulous oscillating bed warmer echoes of gongs dongs dings and trriiinnngs gone cuckoo spring exercise weights to keep in shape bell hat cherry striker square round tall fat ornate ormolu mantle pieces Napoleon's bicorne chiseled marble car-ved wood circled square key orifice to twist tense wound hearts uncoiling tall lanky cranky Dali dial melting movement in the bowels of the column great grand pa grand ma grander greater ma and pa all standing straight no aunts or uncles here after the winder's effort dwindles all is still in timeless peace â€”Laurence Ryan
Fotografias No. 3481 Admito que la fotografía es muy rara: un tatuaje en el nudillo del cordial; una vena y un gato; una tienda de poyos; un tipo que interpreta un mapa en su zapato; dos grullas y una cortina de humo. Tomar fotos al azar no garantiza el resultado, pero desde luego es usual en los grupos de turistas japoneses y en los selfis disparados en el salón de los espejos, ahí donde un reloj despertador, un vaso, una dentadura y un retrete.
C-253 Pudiera ser un ejercicio escribir los títulos de las fotos antiguas: un caballo frente al mar y una ventana, una mujer con un tatuaje, la deriva de un delfín, la taza de café. El punto b fuera de foco; polvo sobre la sal de plata. La imagen se disipa, la lógica visual es una trampa: una tramposa máquina del tiempo.
A-743 Me agradan las fotografías que no tienen unidad: un arzón, por ejemplo, junto a una taza de café que reposa en el césped, una fila de hormigas a la orilla del plato y desde luego un beso que guarda una canción bajo sus élitros; un cenicero para depositar los huesos. En el primer plano un cordero juega con la molleja de un reloj antiguo. Al fondo la imagen de Hiparquia en los brazos de Crates y claro, una calabaza.
No. 634 En el pozo profundo de un dedal de cobre una viuda negra y una trama de hilos amarillos, un columpio de seda para un poeta ebrio. Un anillo de plata en el dedal, una serpiente, el rostro de Lilith, una manzana.
Nº 35 El cuadro es oscuro, sólo un foco sin luz, el filo de la noche, un destello, y en el centro del foco una galaxia.
B-736 De mi colección de imágenes absurdas: un corazón en un capelo junto a otro que se consume en los rescoldos; los une una cinta de color canela. También hay una nube de mosquitas blancas y un alacrán de oro en una brasa. Hay dos fuentes de luz fuera de cuadro y una cortina parda que alguna vez fue azul. Un corazón es rojo y el otro de ceniza.
—Norberto de la Torre González
Y, a character you too could play
Rusty’s spine is wasting away so she tries to hula hoop to build marrow: she swoops hips to and fro elbows bent fists clenched gut pushing the inner loop because rust is the longest war peacenik Rusty banishes “R-u-s-t” from her name to become the letter Y: italic 12 point Perpetua emerges as her signature size-n-font in public Y tries to slow her mind-n-mouth (damn speedy gyre) ‘cause her time left on this planet is a lot less than humanity’s (duh) partial mortal flourishing spins a lot like feuding parties within a fixed radius battering bodies at banter speed like houses of congress witnesses in a cloud of shame the nation has yet to claim
—Lori Anderson Moseman
spine a rusted anchor waist a cording surge playful tale this outpouring continuum of sewer pipes
Y’s hoop begs each vote to count belly hip oops hear it hula clatter as Y stoops scoops loop up knocked down again
a nothing spin posing as prayer as pledge of allegiance to peaceful transfer of power the heart of us wage-worn
protest heel-toes toward hope strong core but salt belt rust belt outcast coasts Russians back their way in
a nothing win promises to restore marrow but no insuring health now a contentious brittle crown that chain of executive orders
never was Y’s fault nor yours surely Lady Liberty still loves us as that crude president’s pen guts human rights right out —Lori Anderson Moseman
Y refuses to stop believing in humor’s ripple effect
imagination begins its hunger strike with no-carry laws no sticks no shields nothing that uses bullets no pepper spray or acid or tasers no knifes no cars just hula hoops yes everyone in Liberty Square gets a hoop cops neo-nazis antifa clergy medics journalists all get a little free-speech corral in which to chant or pray or recite the Bill of Rights hell recalculate taxes just don’t lasso your neighbor no lynching no beating no defamation allowed only contact permitted is the toy hoop banging your own gut knees calves chest hips swoop up down don’t need to be in sync to wire neural nets that bridge a divide let’s cohabitate and divvy up food shelter water jobs land and purpose when we tire we can sit in our grounded halos and wait for extreme winds to eat away at all our misgivings
—Lori Anderson Moseman
lament this endless rush
wind’s flight flips raft
beloved is the first dumped
all bodies go under torrent heart pumping to orient
no up no down just rush slap hands here this is the hull
feel with me for promised air
grope underbelly to find edge
beloved my mouth can’t open
lungs hold on grasp here gasp
must find gunwale heave
up into air to see oarsman fling
another body on board o beloved life raft flips all again rushes down street’s stream
submerged dumpster snags
beloved pushed further under
hull careens over bodies again
forget the boat try dead man float
ease belly up ride tidal
crest until a bald cypress offers roots cling there where the arbor harbors buoyancy our only recourse
debris our only safe house our bodies pulsing to live —Lori Anderson Moseman
gut vent beloved cannot swallow— gut too distended
to be recognized
emergency MRI readers guess “obstruction is
the body itself”
butt-in-throat scopes can’t calm buckling pain
before or after
tubes funnel food through nose suction pumps
acids out navel
later beloved gets chest hammered for three code blues holding corpse’s hand as wrist’s barcode gets scanned— pulse’s need for prompt transport gone
Y screams a signal
careful calculation eats away
hope slowly at first then faster in a feast of many
—Lori Anderson Moseman
La gran soltería (Junk Bonds) “The future… a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.” J.G. Ballard Mi mujer cayó del cielo como una accionista arrastrada por un colapso en la bolsa y una cuerda alrededor del cuello; la cuerda va atada a mi nombre y número de identidad, que es una caja fuerte que se desploma desde mi nacimiento hasta la fecha. No sé por qué la caja se desploma; no sé quién la ha lanzado desde la cima del mercado. Sé la combinación pues es fácil recordar mi posición sexual favorita seguida de los dos ceros que nos unen ante la ley. Por mucho que nos queramos vendrá el día en que la caja fuerte termine de caer y se estrelle contra el gentío. Habrá peritaje. Abrirán la caja y encontrarán sus cartas de amor y mis bonos basura. Irán por mí a la oficina.
Solitary Confinement (Junk Bonds) “The future… a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.” J.G. Ballard My bride fell from the sky like an investor dragged along behind that Birkin bag of a stockmarket crash with a rope around her neck The rope is tied to my name and social security number which is a lockbox that collapses from my birth until 6/2/17 I do not know why the box collapses I do not know who has thrown it from the top of corporate headquarters Be the combination to this lock It is easy to remember my favorite sexual position followed by the two zeros which marry us before the law Even though we love each other the day will come when the safe hurled crashes into the crowd There will be gruesome forensics They will open the heavy box and find your love letters and my junk bonds They will come for me at my office
Me avergonzarán frente a los demás empleados. Mi madre hablará mal de mí frente al jurado. Hablará mal de mí, queriendo ayudarme. El fiscal de distrito hará bromas de mal gusto mientras escudriña las prendas de mi mujer muerta. El juez leerá la sentencia. Mis amigos entrarán por la puerta doble del juzgado y me llevarán a empujones hacia el cumplimiento de mi condena. Partiré del puerto hacia la isla de Santa Elena. Llegaré a media noche. No habrá luz pero alguien prenderá una hoguera al otro lado de la bahía. Caminaré hacia el único fuego. Por esquivar un bulto horrendo tropezaré con otro. Serán los huesos de Napoleón. Ya no podré levantarme. Daré órdenes pero ningún ejército me hará caso. No habrá nada más qué hacer.
I will be ashamed in front of the other employees My mother will bad-mouth me in front of the jury. My lawyer will insult me, hoping to help me The district attorney will make bad jokes while scrutinizing the garments of my dead bride The judge will read the sentence My friends will enter through the double door of the court and will push me towards prison I will leave the port for the island of Santa Elena I will arrive at midnight in complete darkness but someone will light a bonfire across the bay I will walk toward fire Dodging a whale bone I will trip over another They will be the bones of Napoleon I will not be able to get up I will give orders but there will be no army to listen to me There will be nothing else to do
Mis ojos serĂĄn como vagos que van dando tumbos por el cielo, pidiendo asilo en cada estrella â€”Eduardo Padilla
My eyes will be vagrants that stumble through the sky asking for asylum in each star â€”Eduardo Padilla Translation: Anne Gorrick
The English Section
I must improve my mind people keep telling me not the Latin Part, but the English section. Yes, it’s only five years old and it can already read and write. But it needs to hook up with Hemingway or Toni Morrison or F. Scott Fitzgerald. It can’t just be satisfied with being no more than a second language. So I’ve started haunting the library shelves, dipping into the prose and poetry masters. If you’re going to put pen to paper, friends say, then don’t hold back on the proper inspiration. That’s why Jane Austen stares at me from the cover of her collected works. She’s pale-faced and prim. I’m brown-skinned and rumpled. But we’re close, we’re friends almost.
Emu on the Menu
It was on the menu of the upscale restaurant reinvented at the edge of town. We were game, so we headed in, waited to be seated by a breathy wraith who said she really didn’t know much about the kangaroo (not local, surely) or the free-range buffalo—she wasn’t sure where it roamed, or which was the reptile of the day. They were all specials. We waited an eon for the emu, so we swapped stories about the strangest thing we’d ever eaten, all that everyone says tastes “just like chicken”—not all chicken tastes like chicken, I chime in. We are through the spelt bread now, the wild greens. Someone speaks of rotted fish, buried, then dug up in the spring— She ate it on a dare—I’ve had calves’ brains, tender in cream sauce, and then there’s haggis, Jack says, and pickled pig’s feet. It’s probably dog you eat at Famous Tang’s, Jeanne puts in—or cat. What’s emu like? No one knows. I’ve bitten my tongue, bitten off more than I can chew, chewed the fat, eaten my words, eaten my heart out—but emu? Who knew? I thought they were extinct. No, that’s the Dodo, Dumb-dumb! I should know. Some days everything tastes like crow.
The Neighbor Lieutenant Edouard Guilloux controlled everything on our street. Children stopped playing when they saw him, cars slowed down when his was spotted, his young wife stayed indoors when he was home. When I woke up that morning, our maid was telling Grandmother that a thief had broken into a house up the street. He had stolen a few kitchen utensils and some rags found in the backyard, before he bumped his feet on a bucket making enough noise for someone to yell “vole, bare vole - catch the thief.” For the Lieutenant, it was personal. After all, a thief had the audacity to rob a house in a street that he controlled, while he slept soundly with his wife and little girl. I lived next door to him and his family. His wife was a ravishing beauty barely over 18. She had caramel complexion, long dark hair and a majestic walk that brought to mind images of the poet Anacaona, a Tainos tribal chieftain who ruled over the land called Ayiti before Christopher Columbus arrived. I also thought the Lieutenant’s wife was exotic because she spoke with the distinctive accent and drawl of people from the northern CapHaitian area of the country. She was constantly baking cakes and other desserts as if to hush the screams we sometimes overheard and assuage the pain from her husband’s beatings. “Arrêtes, arrêtes, Edouard,” she yelled in her sing-song voice asking him to stop. It was hard for me to imagine how a man could beat a woman, much less one who was beautiful and also made such deliciously sweet things. Once he was gone for the day, she became a smiling girl and above the short concrete wall that separated our houses, she called on us to come get the generous portions she had reserved for us. My sister and I rushed over, coming back immediately, but not before saying the obligatory Bonjour to her two younger sisters and her mother who also lived with them. But it was also Lieutenant Guilloux’s business. For, he was an officer of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the country and it was his job to catch thieves and other lawbreakers. I saw him almost every day and immediately hid behind the tall dracaenas and palms on the porch to spy on him. He held his Colt 45 gun and holster as he got out of his car to walk briskly into his house, as if he could shoot it in an instant.
He was a handsome light-skin man with well-toned arms and a mediumheight body with not an ounce of fat showing in his starch-pressed Army uniform. I never saw his eyes for he wore his military cap very low on his forehead, and his dark-green sunglasses and well-trimmed moustache hid everything else. Until that day. By noon, it was desert hot. I had come back from school for my lunch break when the commotion started outside. I ran to the street following my sister, grandmother and maid and saw the neighbors standing on their porches and yards with hesitating looks on their faces. It was the first time that I had seen a thief, and he was all white as if he had rolled in powder. I stood watching Lieutenant Guilloux as he pushed the emaciated man on us with brutality. “Spit on him,” the Lieutenant yelled at us. So the neighbors came out ever so timidly. The thief’s hands and feet were tied with cording so he moved in spurts as if he was jumping as the Lieutenant hit him and the neighbors spit on him. “Hit him with the stones, so he knows never to come back to this neighborhood,” the Lieutenant ordered the assembling crowd. The unpaved street in which I lived had hundreds of rocks of various sizes. My neighbors bent down in the stifling heat to pick them up. I was made to watch them throw stones along with insults at the thief. The man, whose shabby underwear barely held on, had a smooth whitish oily paste all over his bald head and body almost like a second skin acting like a repellent to the obscene cowardice of the Lieutenant. His chafed knees bent a few times, but he never fell. His skin bruised and tore in a few places, and bled in others as if it was an offering to the scorched street. I remember the white mask of suffering on the man’s face. No movement came from him except when his scrawny body rebounded each time he was struck. I jerked every time a rock hit him. I have since pondered: How frightened must a Lieutenant holding a shiny gun have been to ask a crowd to do his dirty job? What tyrannical thoughts went through his bloodthirsty mind to allow children like me to watch such torture?
Among the images that still today crowd my mind is the one of the man’s terrified red eyes protruding from his whitened face, as if he was drunk from the lack of humanity shown him. I walked back home sweating profusely. I hid behind the plants until it was time to go back to school. Even then, it was obvious to all of us that Lieutenant Guilloux’s action was deliberate for he had driven the “prisoner” to our street, in front of his own house and had forced us into being his accomplices. He had pushed the man on us as prey leaving him no safe place to run. I learned then that men in khaki uniforms provide no human shield. My twelve-year old eyes were witness to the Lieutenant picking up the disheveled man and hurling him on the back seat of his car. He circled the car. His hands were covered with blood. He slammed the door shut. My eyes hurt as the windows reflected radiation on the man’s expressionless white-masked face. I stood condemned to silence as the car moved slowly at first, rocking a little bit over the stones, before it picked up speed until I didn’t see the Lieutenant anymore
The Dog Inside Me encroaches night after night another day of the growing few— a feral awakening crouches on black rock, an icy dilemma. What has it been? Chemistry of ages crafts the hair of mongrels— we are born out of elements gyrating forever, files of chance ordering, disordering particles who knows from where.
—Miriam de Uriarte
The Return Once more not the icy loneliness on the north side of the mountain â€“ rather these vermillion flycatchers in the wrinkles of the fountain, a welcome spray of bright feathers â€“ dusty rose, not the cage, but the recurring dream among the finches in this green garden.
â€”Miriam de Uriarte
October 25th Soon someone else will have to take over this day that has belonged to me since my first breath as I took it over from Picasso who must have taken it from someone else — a minotaur a harlequin perhaps or a woman with a contorted face all angles — I will pass it on with best wishes to another child — maybe Chinese who will celebrate with noodles and rice and write letters backwards — who will speak a language I never imagined when talking to her Chow Chow — who will speak a universal tongue same as my long and bony pooch.
—Miriam de Uriarte
[arqueología del padre] Tramado. A la variedad del catálogo de llanto habrá que ponerle cabezas, costos por las cabezas y los naufragios. Incendio. Nudos de porcelana, gesticulaciones de la mano donde se posa la rosa. La que pulveriza la atenta mirada del infante. Nuestro padre murió incendiado, sobrevivió sólo su sonrisa, su media sonrisa. Y la frase de los labios que no pudo enunciar: “Dime cuál es el secreto cada vez que nos decimos adiós.” Recoger la humildad de tus súplicas, rellenar el corazón con moho. Pasadizo donde las algas son frutos que el aire crispa. Restituirse. Panal de acertijos o activación de lenguas en paradero oscuro. —Mientras en las calles los hombre desertaban ante la guerra y la proximidad de otra guerra, las mujeres cuantificaban las migas. Asilo. Una forma. La misma forma: Debajo de la palabra padre hay sangre, cal, rodajes de un tiempo que ha borrado su cuerpo. —Rocío Cerón
[Archeology of the Father] Scenario. Heads must be added to the variety of the catalogue of tears, the cost of heads and shipwrecks. Fire. Knotted porcelain, manual gesticulations where the rose is arranged: the one that pulverizes the child’s attentive gaze. Our father died incinerated, only his smile survived, his half smile. And the phrase his lips failed to pronounce: “Tell me what the secret is every time we say goodbye.” Gather the humility of your supplications, refill your heart with mold. Corridor where algae are fruit set on edge by air. Restore yourself. Hive of riddles or the activation of tongues in a dark location. —Meanwhile on the streets, men deserted before the war or the proximity of another war, women tabulated crumbs. Asylum. One form. The same form: Beneath the word father lie blood, limestone, slices of a time that erased his body. —Rocío Cerón Translation: Tanya Huntington
1959 1 The new postman got injured in the minors, my Dad said, or he’d be in the majors. He’s still fast. Hey, would I like him to come on Saturday? Would I like to catch him? Let him see you throw? Hey, would I like a hammer on the head? I was what, twelve? I’d hit a kid in the helmet with a fastball, sure. The pitch got away, total accident. But it ate him up. He went down. The ambulance came. I learned the blood in this arm was wild and dangerous; but worse, if mine was, so was everybody’s. I got scared. I was diagnosed: Afraid of the Ball. Thus the injured ace was sent for. If I could stand up to him, of whom shall I be afraid? 2 The sonic boom arrived just after the ball rearranged the delicate bones of my palm. I caught every stinger, pitch after every angry pitch after every clock-he-had-to-punch pitch after every letter-postcard-magazine-he-had-to-deliver pitch, instead of the pitch he was born to deliver: the white lightning of joy, the power-tower roundhouse over the top kickass exploding drop-curve boomball. He may never throw that one again. I had to quell the shake in my skinny shoulders, each time I dug the ball out. I slowed down, hoping he’d get the message. I blew on my palm, all red and puffy and stinging and numb.
He reached back. He threw harder. 3 He’d lived all those Chisox and Bosox and Yankee dreams— and here he was, showing his murderous stuff at Little League depth to the worthless son of his worthless boss, but he didn’t need to show anybody he had the arm. He had the arm. After the massacre, my dad put his arm across my shoulders, looking for me to say something. I opened my mouth, but I had no voice. It had been pounded out of me by the wrath of a strange, avenging angel. I’d taken deeply in the marrows of my hand the despair of a man who would give his life, or nearly take mine if he could use the one gift that made his life make sense. So if he would never show anybody else, he’d show this useless kid, once and for all, not how to pitch, but how much it hurts not to. —Robert Bensen
Ascension Cold, I rose alone this morning. I eat, then recline and hear the birds squawking for the first time in months. I lift the blinds and watch one swoop and dive into the river, then fly again gliding along the surface. I love the birds but cannot fly. I go to the porch and look over the railing across the river to the bare trees, the empty park. Lord, who I am to be so stubborn and vain, with the sun shining against my face, the water lit up. My skin is glass which holds the dust. â€”Dan Kraines
Mi cuerpo es lo avistado de un páramo insalvable, luz que desaparece en el espejo, el calor que atraviesa el blanco de la nube, la lluvia no formada todavía. Mi cuerpo, como un árbol, pierde hojas de viento, y chirría su corteza mezclada con insectos invisibles. Mi cuerpo es una cuesta de montaña, un afluente sin cauce, el sonido que rompe los ingresos. Mi cuerpo es el sendero de la espuma, una ola suspendida en el ojo de un pájaro. Mi cuerpo es el envés de una corola, paloma al día siguiente de un diluvio, agua ausente grabada en una piedra. De pronto una fisura en el plumaje, el eco en una cueva, el giro imperceptible de la luna, el polvo que implacable se levanta antes de la caída de la noche. Mi cuerpo como sombra de una vela o una estrella fugaz en una noche tibia: las figuras veloces que se mueven pero que, al distinguirse, ya han pasado.
—Augusto Nava Mora
In case you’re losing interest because no one has been murdered or buried in the cutting garden; and no cars have collided, leaving someone inside broken; someone else in shock in the weeds, I’ll tell you a story that Once-on-a-times in the city of Barranquilla, on the Caribbean coast. Spike Jonze will never know his title gave rise to this, same as the title of the movie with Nick Cage, Meryl Streep— the one about theft, orchids, sex, and drugs. Picture Ted and me. We’re walking, noses in a Fodor’s South America, to catch a boat upriver. Raul appears, asks where we’re going. After some small talk, he suggests we fund our travels with five little ounces of cocaine—this is Colombia, 1971. At the Amazon port of Belem, four thousand miles away, his compadre Amos will get in touch, claim the cache, pay back the earnest money five to ten times over. I tell him straight, No way! Not a chance in hell! But Ted says, Sure! It’s about to get more complicated, difficult. Back in our hotel we wait to hear from Raul. He calls, sotto voce. He’ll meet us for lunch at a corner café. Names a barrio, a street too narrow for cars. No matter what you’ve heard, South Americans don’t take siestas. They hustle in heat rare in Ohio. Everyone works fast-forward, rápido, rápido. We saunter in and sit down to chat—a conflation of English, Spanish, and gestures. The young entrepreneur hands Ted a roll of brown paper. Says, Es bueno. Pruébalo. Ted is eager to try the good stuff. Raul opens a plastic baggie to a tiny spoon under the table. Ted tastes. He’s satisfied. The package (a pound, I’d bet), twice as heavy as agreed, should alarm us. Wake up, ‘stúpidos! But Ted figures he’s one up. And hands over some twenties.
Raul shakes hands, leaves the restaurant, whispers, Cuidado. Colombia’s crawling with the FARC, with leftist rebels, antinarcotic and paramilitary squads as well. We’ve just returned to our hotel. There’s a call. Raul says his dealer’s busted. He’s on the lam. We must leave. ¡Pronto! We toss all we own into backpacks, take the first bus, walk several miles to find a new hotel. All the while we watch for someone trailing us. We tremble with the fear of arrest. Gringos can’t disappear on the street, so we find a cheap hotel, check in, sign names— I don’t remember whose—collapse on the bed. Wondering, if we’re caught, if stories of Colombian justice are as bad as people say. I think hard about what’s happened. Ted, did you open the package you wrapped in your boxers in the backpack? I slit the tape with a Swiss Army knife. Taste the powder. Ted tries it, too. The world’s costliest baking soda. I give it to the dueña for cookies, and she teaches me how to cook ripe plátanos, cooking bananas: cut off the top, score, peel, slice thick, pound flat, sauté in lard. It’s a fitting dessert. In the parlor we sit on a sofa sipping tea between the fancy china-head dolls señora tends as though they were the daughters she’d always wanted. Along the length of the east wall, a crimson velvet curtain hangs from the ceiling. Every half hour or so, young women, elegantly dressed, slip through doors behind the curtain. They’re followed by middle-aged men who exit separately. Christ on the Cross, cast in bronze, hangs from a hook on the southern wall. He also prays from a frame on the west side of the room. Hours measure the sunlight about to surrender the big-lipped orchids to shadows. Caged birds preen, twitter. A green parrot snake slithers up the avocado tree in the center of the courtyard. The heat is all but unbearable, though fans whip up small breezes. It’s sundown. We’re alive, and free. Who am I to judge? —Kathleen S. Burgess
Look and Look Away You wanna shoot some cottons while nixon cracks his soft-boiled breakfast are you gonna look or look away from cotton from the usa shoot some cottons and scrape a bit of the scum of a dream shoot the rubbish from scrimplings of litter and splinters some scat-shot some tailings and sweepings and droppings some hours after droppers filled with heroin filled with blood you want a semblance of fragment-reflection a glance at one of whose dreams you look or look away past the war on drugs past the girls who dance wearing recklessness past the bar now closed you wanna shimmy that look or shoot some cottons picked and baled ginned and weighed and freighted woven and worn bleached or dyed in blood's rising tide in a scant meal tasting of sidewalk while some look away don't rivers flow blood with commerce with meat and swelter and don't some still sing of the land of cotton of blood filling a glass tube a dream deadened to night-sweats propped on a window ledge you wanna wanna shoot cottons some cottons licking some taste from the dream some cottons are cottons the dream and the dream enough ?
Heroin users squirt a small amount of drug-solution into a cotton ball to remove air bubbles from the syringe. The residue can be boiled down and is much less potent than the original.
The Bleeding Stinking Mad Shadow of Jesus* Howard’s been dead for so long. Cheap vodka cinched the deal. Other things went wrong as well. That souring smell of decay. All he did was recover and read the New Yorker, Nabokov, and Welty, listen to Bach when most others slept, sip and smoke, get lost in Carver, the blurring river of humiliation, the eddying. Before he turned thirty he craved it rough, the unknown man yanking him down. Then he became frail, started dialysis, the apocalyptic stretch of afternoons. Toward the end, his glasses getting bigger, he looked a bit like Flannery O’Connor without a prayer or disciple betraying him. The worst kind of ending. Nothing holding him. Only the cross he couldn’t bear. The pain, that was always enough. —Michael Nelson
*title from Flannery O’Connor
4:30 No es la presencia lo que corrompe sino la ausencia, los muros donde se guarda el tibio dolor de la conversación de los hombres se recuesta a tu lado y nunca da marcha atrás, es el frío guardado por ciertas palabras, la posesión del único sitio saludable que guardas en la memoria que por no caer de lleno, unes tus manos en una actitud heredada de alguna seña que anticipa la palidez de lo eterno. ¿Qué sabes de lo eterno? Frágil andar de pólvora que enmienda situaciones, lugar intacto que se inventa sin que logres observarlo y que abre la ventana para recostarse en la lejana sombra donde no se dice nada. —Oliverio Macías Álvarez
J. Del B. Alguien construyó por arrepentimiento un faro en la colina para que sirviera de guía a los animales y no a los hombres alguien que pensaba que el tiempo era velocidad, alguien con la edad indestructible de una noche. Háblame tu con esas palabras de cosas finitas, con ese gesto que se pierde en el respirar, háblame de la vida, la muerte, el olvido, pero dime la residencia de las cosas, del temblor del vino, de tu cielo viudo regado con palabras, que jamás me explican pero que siempre escucho en tu difunto canto. —Oliverio Macías Álvarez
Polarship There is so much bad love but I donâ€™t want to be your bad love. I want to be your only love. I envy the polarship its unsinkable form, and how you still think your art will save you. I wait for your breath beside me like the whir of a furnace. If you feel it, we can play at your favorite game: I will be ugly, you can melt me down, you can make anything out of me. â€”Catherine Pond
Nave polar Hay mucho mal amor pero yo no quiero ser un amorío. Quiero ser tu único amor. Envidio a la nave polar, su forma incapaz de hundirse, y cómo aún piensas que tu arte será tu salvación. Espero tu aliento a mi lado como el zumbido de un horno. Si quieres, podemos jugar tu juego favorito: seré horrenda, puedes derretirme, hacer de mí lo que quieras. —Catherine Pond Traducción: Jorge Javier Romero
Boy Leading a Horse I’ll never be your muse: my heart spills out, poured iron looking for a place to land, but I know better. And you know better than to build me up. I worship you, specific as sorrow, casting each day in shades of rose and calliope. Your moods cool and harden when I press my face to your hands. This is the landscape I want. Your Ashkenazi eyes like soft, green cauldrons. My long, bridled nose looking for new life. It doesn’t have to be scary. It can be like water, whatever’s up ahead. We clink through the desert. My shoes leave circles in the sand. .
Niño que conduce a un caballo Nunca seré tu musa: mi corazón se derrama, hierro vertido que busca dónde caer, aunque sé que es mejor evitarlo. Y tú sabes que es mejor no alentarme. Te rindo culto, específico como la tristeza, dando a cada día matices de rosa y calíope. Tus ánimos se enfrían y endurecen cuando oprimo mi cara contra tus manos. Este es el paisaje que quiero. Tus ojos de Ashkenazí como calderas verdes, suaves. Mi nariz larga, embridada, buscando vida nueva. No es necesario que sea temible. Puede ser como el agua, aquello que está más adelante. Tintineamos por el desierto. Mis zapatos dejan círculos sobre la arena. —Catherine Pond Traducción: Eduardo Padilla
Equinity My clothes dryer has a rhythm to it; I hear the track announcer at Churchill Downs, Luke Kruytbosch, say “bottom of the third” as the garments tumble. Christian rock singer Mylon LeFevre was once confronted by a televangelist who claimed all rock music was of the devil. LeFevre replied, “If the devil is in a good beat, my mother's washer was possessed.” The little devils of the track, Diazo, Devil's Cup, Satan (the last out of the great broodmare Sonnenwende), take turns at bat on a diamond that exists in my dreams alone. The bases are planted at the corners of the Fonner Park bullring, and the pitcher's plate is an old Kenmore washer-dryer combo. —Robert Beveridge
The Cat in the Hat January 21, 2017 No fur. Not tabby. Not calico. Not Manx nor Siberian nor sphynx. Possibly Himalayan. Or Angora. Knit, let’s say, from a yarn dipped in degraded discourse—then softened, a shade of pink heating the heart of the frozen country on hundreds of thousands of heads, over reddened cheeks. Simple structure—an emoticon, maybe; Just the ears the color of the factual cat, an opening to viscera. I didn’t wear one. I shouted, but couldn’t name it aloud. This hat, this cat escapes its profanation, So now I’ll call, call to you all, Here, pussy. —Susan Chute
A Chance Encounter On the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, 1978, I was visiting my parents in Manhattan from my home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where, after graduating from Brandeis as an English major, I was working as a house painter. That night, after partying with some friends in Greenwich Village, I came down into an empty Astor Place subway station to take the Lexington line back to my parents’ apartment on the Upper East Side. I know it was 1978, because that day Bucky Dent hit a famous three run homer in the seventh inning to lead the Yankees to victory over the Red Sox in a one game playoff. I bought an evening Post to savor the victory on the way home. The headline read: “Yanks Dent Sox.” After a couple of minutes, two black guys came into the station. One, a chunky dark skinned guy wearing a black leather jacket and rust colored polyester pants, plunked himself down next to me on the bench where I sat. The other, lighter skinned, wearing tan slacks and a beige windbreaker, shouted catcalls to the women who had entered the station on the other side of the platform. I did have the impulse to get up from my seat and find somewhere else to wait for the train, but, being a nice Jewish liberal, I thought that would be an insult to the fellow sitting next to me. After all, how would you feel if you sat down next to somebody and they immediately jumped up to sit in another seat? While I savored the details of the Yankees’ exploits, a train came through the other side of the tracks, and now the station was empty. Then Leather-Jacket grabbed my arm and I looked up to find Windbreaker suddenly standing in front of me. He snarled: “Give us your money or I’m going to shoot you.” His hand was in his jacket pocket and something was pointing through the cloth. At this point, I think the weed and alcohol I’d been imbibing all evening began affecting my behavior. I must have looked up at Windbreaker with a disgusted expression that said: “Are you shitting me?”, because Windbreaker said: “You don’t believe me? You don’t think I’ve shot people before?” As I pulled my wallet from my pocket, I said something which astonishes me to this day: “How the hell should I know?”
I handed Windbreaker a five dollar bill, the only thing in my wallet. “This all you got?!” “Hey man!” I replied. “I don’t have that much money either!” Nobody spoke for a minute. Windbreaker no longer was pointing his jacket pocket at me. I blurted out grumpily: “I don’t know why we have to be doing this. We could be just smoking a joint together.” Probably I said that because I had one in my pocket. Windbreaker smiled mockingly: “Sure. We’ll smoke together on the train.” “On the train?” I asked shakily. To be honest, I’m not sure whether I was more scared of getting arrested or of having these guys staying with me when I got on the subway. A few seconds passed before Leather-Jacket told Windbreaker: “Give the man his money back. Don’t take the man’s last five dollars.” So Windbreaker, who was clearly the junior partner of this operation, handed my five dollar bill back to me. Then we waited quietly like that, Leather-Jacket and me sitting on the bench, Windbreaker standing in front of us, in a silence which seemed strangely companionable. Leather-Jacket said: “Where you from?” “Boston,” I said. “Boston?‼” he exclaimed with a snort. “Take the man’s money back.” “But I’m a Yankee fan!” I said, as if that was what bothered him about me being from Boston. But, who knows—maybe it was, because they didn’t take my money back. Not long after that, the subway pulled into the station, and the three of us walked towards the track. I got into the train, and they stayed on the edge of the platform. I stood facing them from inside the train, looking through the open doors. Suddenly, it seemed as if the balance of power had shifted, as if those subway doors marked the border between them and the white world, where the advantages were all mine. I noticed how young Windbreaker looked. He reached across the entry-way and touched my chest. “You come up to 145th and Lenox sometime,” he said. “Ask for Jay and Boo. We’ll take care of you.” Then the subway doors shut and I was on my way back to the Upper East Side, leaving Jay and Boo on the platform.
Forty years later, I sometimes give myself a hard time for not having the guts to visit Jay and Boo in Harlem. After all, they invited me. What kind of friend was I? â€“Dan Chernin
El retrato de Emigdio Se asomó por la ventana de la sala. Una sala de ricos de pueblo, con sus muebles de patitas retorcidas y su piano vertical. Habían llegado los calores y el lugar estaba sumido en un sueño que parecía eterno después de un mediodía ardiente, en el cual los contornos de las cosas casi desaparecían bajo una luz cruda y amarilla. Cuando el calor comenzaba a bajar las jacarandas de la calle, las casas, las pocas personas que salían, retomaban por fin sus contornos. Ignacia recorrió con los ojos esa calle tan conocida, esos árboles morados, las sombras negras de sus ramas, como una placenta redonda y oscura. Sus ojos entraron luego en el saloncito y en los objetos dispuestos con orden y primor: porcelanas de Austria, un jarrón Chino no muy grande en la cómoda de la esquina, el juego de té, las carpetas de gancho tejidas por ella. De pronto y sin poderlo evitar, su vista se posó sobre el cuadro: era una pintura al óleo muy pequeña, colgada en el muro opuesto a las ventanas. Un retrato de ella con Emigdio. Lo pintó el maestro Hermenegildo, experto en retratos, ex-votos, cuadros de cielos nocturnos con estrellas... En el cuadro se veía a Ignacia con su mejor vestido, el de satín marrón con detalles florales color coral, de mangas anchas y amplio cuello. Rodeaba a su hijo con el brazo derecho; su mano izquierda, que llevaba varios anillos de oro, tomaba con suavidad y cariño la pequeña mano de Emigdio. El niño se veía triste y ella parecía protegerlo. Un suspiro hondo le oprimió el pecho. Desde que nació había sido enfermizo. Por eso Adolfo, el esposo de Ignacia y ella misma lo habían protegido tanto. Quizá demasiado. Quizá debieron haberlo dejado salir a tomar el sol, codearse con otros niños de su edad. Pero cada que Emigdio pedía permiso para jugar con sus amigos de la escuela, ella o la abuela Remigia le decían que no, que mejor se quedara a jugar o a leer en la casa. “¿Qué vas a hacer afuera con la muchachada? Nomás ensuciarte y romperte la ropa, rasparte las rodillas y hacer que los escuincles te aporreen.” Así que Emigdio se quedaba en la casa y hacía lo que su mamá y su abuelita le decían: dibujaba animales, castillos y caballeros con armadura, jugaba con sus soldados de plomo y exploraba los libros de la biblioteca familiar: las historias de aventuras, el Atlas gigante que tenía tantos países de colores... Él pensaba que África era toda de color naranja, que Arabia era azul y que México, su país, era verde. Se imaginaba las casas de la gente en esas tierras lejanas y soñaba con irse de explorador a la China o a Japón, de donde alguna vez salió un intrépido grupo de
samuráis que querían que el Papa los bautizara. También quería ser cazador, traerle a sus padres la piel y la cabeza de un gran león que habría matado en África. El maestro Hermenegildo le platicó una vez que él había ido al Ártico y que en su casa tenía de alfombra la piel de un oso gigantesco. A veces mamá Ignacia lo dejaba ir a la esquina, a la casa del maestro a comprar una nieve. Era un local muy fresco donde Hermenegildo recibía a los del pueblo, que en las tardes calurosas venían por su nieve de limón o su mantecado. En invierno, recibía a la gente con tamales, atole calentito y té de hojas de naranjo porque cuando el clima comenzaba a cambiar también cambiaba la oferta. A Emigdio le gustaba mucho platicar con él porque siempre estaba contando aventuras extraordinarias y porque sabía hacer muchas cosas. Además de preparar helados y comida, el maestro pintaba cuadros muy bonitos y en Semana Santa era él quien diseñaba y cosía los disfraces para el Vía Crucis: los uniformes de los romanos, las túnicas de las mujeres santas, la toga de Poncio Pilatos. Hermenegildo vestía un uniforme militar que él mismo se había confeccionado, pero contaba que era de cuando había combatido en la guerra contra los gringos, de la que también guardaba tremenda cicatriz en un costado. Como era la única salida que se le permitía, el niño saboreaba la plática tanto como los dulces sorbetes de limón. Un día en la escuela Pedro, el hijo del maestro albañil, le dijo que había un tesoro enterrado en el cementerio. Emigdio le preguntó al maestro Hermenegildo si eso podía ser cierto. “Pos pué que sí, pué que no... Yo te puedo decir que una vez que regresé de León, pasando por el camposanto, vi unas luces amarillas que salían de por la tumba de Apolonio Sánchez, allá abajo del sauce. Dicen que los dineros a veces están allí donde las luces aparecen. ¿Tú qué crees?” El niño decidió que tenía que ir al cementerio y ver con sus propios ojos esas luces, y ¿quién sabe? Quizá hasta desenterrar la olla con dinero y con eso poder emprender sus expediciones a tierras lejanas. Al otro día, en la escuela, le confió su plan a Pedro. Éste invitó a Javier y a Romualdo, los gemelos del farmacéutico. A todos les pareció un plan buenísimo. Quizá hasta podrían ver a alguna calaca salir de una tumba y claro, se harían ricos con el tesoro que dividirían equitativamente. Pusieron fecha: el sábado siguiente, cuando los papás de Emigdio y los de los gemelos iban a esas reuniones donde los señores jugaban a las cartas y las señoras tejían y platicaban a la luz de los quinqués.
El cuarto de Emigdio era el último de una larga fila de habitaciones que constituía la casa y era contiguo al de sus papás. Tenía una ventana que daba al huerto. El cuarto de la abuelita y de la criada estaban del otro lado del patio. Con los papás ausentes, no habría peligro de que alguien lo oyera salir por la ventana. El sábado en cuestión, la familia merendó su pan dulce y su café con leche (Emigdio leche sin café) y los papás de dispusieron a salir. Ignacia le puso el camisón, lo metió en la cama y le dio la bendición. Una vez rezado el padre nuestro y pedido el perdón por los pecados (él no sabía aún bien cuáles eran los suyos) fingió quedarse apaciblemente dormido. La abue Remigia se retiró a su cuarto a rezar un último rosario y la casa se quedó a oscuras y en silencio. Sólo el rumor de algún búho turbaba la noche. El viento se metía entre las ramas de los naranjos y los manzanos, haciendo un ruido como de tormenta. Emigdio por poco se quedó en la cama pero luego pensó que Juan y los gemelos se burlarían de él el lunes en la escuela. Así que tomando valor se puso pantalones y zapatos, y salió por la ventana. Atravesar el huerto fue el primer obstáculo. En noche sin luna era casi imposible no tropezar con algo en el camino: piedras, ramas, terrones. Metió un pie de lleno en un montón de estiércol, lo que le dejó un olor horrible que a pesar de sus esfuerzos frotando el zapato con un guijarro, no se pudo quitar. Cuando llegó a la barda trasera, sólo tuvo que abrir la puertita de tablas que separaba el huerto de la calle. Se había quedado de ver con los demás en la esquina de la escuela, que quedaba justamente camino al camposanto. El cielo amenazaba con lluvia y el viento arreció de pronto: los cuatro niños lucharon contra él, agarrados de las manos y con la ropa volando en desorden. Pedro, que llevaba un sombrero de paja, lo perdió casi de inmediato pero no quiso dar marcha atrás para buscarlo. El portón del cementerio estaba abierto como siempre. Las tumbas, algunas de ellas muy antiguas, se veían desordenadas y derruidas. Había tumbas humildes, sólo marcadas con una cruz de madera, y otras ricas, con nichos o con capillas aderezadas de estatuas, ángeles ciegos y mujeres lánguidas. Había también tumbas de personas célebres del pueblo, bustos severos parecían regañarlos por estar allí turbando la paz de esos desiertos. Entraron directo al sepulcro de Apolonio, presidente municipal de hacía muchos años que por eso era merecedor de una capilla rococó llena de guirnaldas de piedra y de alas de ángel. “¿Ora qué hacemos?” preguntó el gemelo Javier. “Pus, esperar las luces...” respondió Emigdio.
“Para calentarnos me traje el ¿alipuz? de mi papá”, dijo Pedro. Los otros tres no estuvieron muy entusiasmados por la idea de darle tragos a esa botella cochina, llena de algo que sólo por el olor los asqueaba. Pero ninguno se atrevió a decir que no. Por turnos dieron tragos a la botella. Emigdio sintió que se le quemaban la boca, la garganta y la panza, pero se aguantó. Los demás dijeron que “estaba re-bueno” y todos esperaron escondidos en una tumba vecina a la del insigne alcalde. De pronto una sombra salió de la capilla. Emigdio pensó que era el efecto del alcohol, pero no, la sombra había salido realmente de allí; los cuatro chicos la vieron. Al cabo de unos minutos, la sombra regresó y se acercó a ellos. Se trataba de una niña. Traía un vestido color marfil, de encajes muy maltratados. En algunos lugares el vestido se veía percudido y rasgado. La nena tendría unos siete años, la edad de ellos. El pelo le llegaba apenas debajo de las orejas y era color miel, como sus ojos. Su piel era muy pálida y resaltaba como el nácar en la oscuridad. “Buenas noches, caballeros”, les dijo. “¿Qué los trae por acá? Por fin alguien viene a visitarme...” y se quedó allí frente a ellos como esperando a que continuaran la conversación. -¿Estás muerta o viva?- le preguntó Pedro. - Creo que muerta – respondió ella, pensativa. -¿Cómo moriste? - se atrevió Emigdio. -Pues creo que me caí de un caballito, pero no estoy segura-Oye, ¿es cierto que aquí hay dinero enterrado?- intervino Javier yendo al grano. -Sí, la olla de oro que papá Apolonio enterró – contestó ella sin chistar. -¿Y cómo sabemos dónde buscarla exactamente?-Pues... escarbando en la tumba...-dijo ella con una risita. Los cuatro varones se miraron entre sí. Era grande la tentación de empezar a escarbar en ese preciso momento pero... en la precipitación de sus respectivas fugas, habían olvidado lo esencial: picos, palas, quizá alguna carretilla para cargar el botín. Además, la idea de platicar con una muerta, por linda que fuere, no les agradaba demasiado. “Mejor volvemos otra vez”, sugirió Emigdio. -¡No me dejen, no quiero estar aquí sola todo el tiempo!, exclamó la niña, -quiero ser su amiga, jugar con ustedes...a lo mejor hasta alguno podría quedarse aquí conmigo...Empezaron a caer gruesas gotas, preludio de la tormenta que se desató poco después. Emigdio, Pedro y los gemelos echaron a correr hacia la salida del cementerio y al llegar a la esquina de la escuela, se separaron sin acordar nada preciso para el rescate del tesoro. ¿Deberían decirle a alguien? ¿Deberían guardar ellos el secreto y el dinero? Estas
preguntas quedaron en el aire y cada quién regresó corriendo a su casa, empapado y con emociones contradictorias en el pecho. Emigdio tuvo que emprender la odisea de atravesar de nuevo el huerto, que ahora con la lluvia era un lodazal. Caminó con gran dificultad. Los zapatos se hundían más que antes en una materia que ya no sabía si era barro o estiércol o los dos a la vez. Los árboles se agitaban con el viento, y el agua le hacía casi imposible ver dónde ponía los pies. Tardó un buen rato en llegar a su ventana y no se atrevió a entrar en su habitación con los zapatos llenos de esa materia apestosa y fea. Así que los dejó afuera, medio escondidos en una mata de ruda y entró sigilosamente como había salido. Se metió en la cama sin siquiera tomar la precaución de cambiarse, tanto miedo tenía de hacer ruido, ahora que sus padres estarían seguramente ya durmiendo en el cuarto contiguo. La ropa mojada se pegaba a las sábanas y no pudo entrar en calor a pesar de que tenía varias cobijas y de que se acurrucó como un cachorro dentro de ellas. La mañana del domingo era de descanso para todos. Él despertó con dolor de cuerpo y de cabeza. La garganta le quemaba y supuso que fue por el aguardiente. Cuando más tarde Ignacia entró al cuarto, el niño estaba ardiendo en fiebre. “¿Qué te pasó? ¿Qué hiciste?” gritó angustiada. Emigdio no sabía mentir así que le dijo: “Fui al cementerio por la olla de dinero...” Ella le puso ropa seca, cambió las sábanas y las cobijas húmedas y mandó a la criada por el doctor. El segundo día, el enfermo empezó a delirar y a hablar de la niña que lo estaba esperando, una niña muy bonita con ojos y cabello del color de la miel. Decía que quería que enterraran su cuerpo junto a la tumba de Apolonio para poder encontrarse con su amiga y jugar con ella. Al tercer día perdió el conocimiento y sólo temblaba y rechinaba los dientes. Vino el cura y los afligidos padres dispusieron todo para la ceremonia. No se sabe si lo enterraron junto a la tumba de su amiga, pero sí que Ignacia y Adolfo mandaron pintar el retrato al maestro Hermenegildo. En el extremo inferior izquierdo el artista escribió en un medallón: “Emigdio Prado falleció el 30 de mayo de 1868 a los 7 años, 10 meses y 6 días de su edad.” —Lirio Garduño-Buono
Jewish Mexicans - Oy vey: From Jewish Mexican to Mexican Jew in the novels of Rosa Nissan, Sabina Berman and Sara Sefchovich For most of the 20th century, Mexico’s sense of its racial identity was predicated on the notion that Mexicans were a glorious mixture of Spanish and indigenous blood. This way of thinking was a dramatic departure from the 19th century allure of all things European. In a book written in 1925, Secretary of Education, José Vasconcelos, declared mestizos the cosmic race. In 1928, Mexico began to celebrate October 12 as Dia de la raza. All Mexicans learned to take pride in their dual racial/cultural heritage and to defend it against the invasion of foreign cultures. Mexico’s official culture was mestizo, its ideology ignored the history of its 200,000 black slaves, the so-called third root, most of whom had been absorbed into the general population by 1910. Other immigrant groups, such as Syrians and Jews who made their way to Mexico in the early part of the 20th century and during the second world war were similarly marginalized in the discourse of Mexico’s selfnarrative. Historian Judith Elkin wrote: “The centrality of race to the concept of Mexicaness and the impossibility of Jews being included in La Raza raise impassable barriers for Mexican Jews.” For most of the 20th century, Mexico’s official cultural identity did not include its considerable non-mestizo population – of Jews, Arabs, and the roughly 3.8% of Mexicans with African blood. Approximately 50,000 Jewish Mexicans comprise about .63% of Mexico’s population (compared to 2.2% in US). Most live in the large urban centers of Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Statistics say that only 10% of Jews marry non-Jews (in US in 1990 60% of Jews out married), 95% attend synagogue, 85% of Mexican Jewish families send their children to Jewish day schools, and 70% have visited Israel. Most would consider themselves Jewish Mexicans rather than Mexican Jews. In Mexico City, there are more than 30 synagogues, orthodox, conservative and reformed. There are Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi, Ladino-speaking Sephardic and Arabic-speaking Mizrahi communities that, for the most part, remain separate. There are even two Syrian
synagogues – one founded by Syrians from Aleppo, the other by Syrians from Damascus, known as Shamis. Because of Mexico’s long official history of religious intolerance, Jews have not assimilated to the extent they have in the United States. Some say they are one of the least assimilated Jewish communities in the world. Although invisible in Mexican history, Jews have been in Mexico since the arrival of the Spanish in 1519 and are documented participants in the conquest. The Inquisition’s persecution of practicing Jews and people of Jewish ancestry in Spain caused many to seek new lives in Mexico. As Jews or descendants of Jews, the crown would not grant them permission to migrate, but they came as conversos, officially Catholic, but often practicing their religion secretly. The offices of the Holy Inquisition, which came to Mexico in 1569, burned hundreds of suspected Jews at the stake. Many descendants of those 16th-century Jews, known now as “crypto Jews,” continue to live in the southwestern United States, formerly the hinterland of the vast Mexican Empire where Jews went to live at a distance from the center of power. Although they had converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition centuries earlier, they maintained certain customs such as not eating pork or mixing meat with dairy products, and lighting candles on Friday night as family traditions, not always aware that those customs were based in Judaism. One woman had never thought about why she swept the dust on the floor into the middle of the room instead of out the door. Her grandmother and mother had taught her to sweep without realizing that the tradition was of Jewish origin and meant to keep dust off the mezuzah that would have hung at the entrance to their ancestors’ houses. In a small town, Venta Prieta, Hidalgo, an Indian community practices Judaism. They worship in a synagogue in which ancient scrolls are kept even though nobody reads Hebrew. Most of the males are circumcised. (In the general population, the circumcision rate is 10-31%) Communities like this one also exist in Veracruz and Morelia. They are known as Indian Jews and claim to be descendants of conversos who converted back to Judaism in the mid-19th century. For the most part,
they have not been accepted by the traditional immigrant Jewish communities. One of the more famous converso Jewish families in Mexico’s early colonial period was the Carvajal family. Luis Carvajal was a military hero who founded the city of Monterrey. He was a devout Catholic converso, but the Inquisition executed his nephew, mother and three sisters for practicing Judaism. His nephew, also Luis Carvajal, known as the younger, produced the first Mexican Jewish literature in the form of a personal memoir that he wrote in jail before being burned at the stake. In it he describes how he learned he was Jewish from his father, embraced the faith and circumcised himself with scissors. The memoir was written under the pseudonym of Joseph Lumbroso. Recently this tiny book, written in miniature, was the subject of some intrigue when it came up for auction in New York after an 80-year odyssey from Mexico’s National Archives to London to New York. Its purchaser, Leonard Milberg, returned it to Mexico’s National archives in March. In post-colonial Mexico, the newly independent country’s anticlerical backlash against the wealth and power of the colonial church attempted to dissolve the unity of the cross and crown of the previous 300 years. Church properties were nationalized, religious orders were suppressed, and strict separation of church and state was decreed. The government was decidedly anticlerical, but the people were still fervently Catholic. Jews continued to keep low profiles and were still considered dangerous outsiders. Small numbers of Jews began to arrive from Germany in the 1830s, followed by groups from Russia, Central and Eastern Europe. The first large group of Jews to come to newly independent Mexico openly as Jews was 100 families from Austria and Belgium invited by the ill-starred Maximilian in 1864. Later, in the 19th century, despite his close ties to the Catholic Church, Porfirio Diaz invited Jewish bankers to establish a modern banking system and offered to donate an island off the coast as a semi-autonomous Jewish colony. In the 1880s, approximately 9,000 Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, escaping pogroms in Europe, migrated to Mexico. Early in the 20th century, the fall of the Ottoman Empire
brought about 6,000 Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews from Turkey and Arabic-speaking Mizrahi Jews from Syria. By the 1890s, Jews were involved in railroads and mining. They were store, hotel and restaurant owners, merchants and peddlers, intellectuals and inventors with patents for photo paper, belts and a printing press. More Jews came to Mexico after 1920 when the United States began to limit immigration. A contemporary Catholic publication portrayed the influx of non-Catholic immigration as a social crime and during the 1930s depression, Jews were expelled from their stands in Mexico City’s Lagunilla market and prohibited from selling or peddling. Signs in the city read “Buy from Mexicans - boycott Jews.” Right wing critics of President Lázaro Cárdenas pointed to a Judeo-communist conspiracy that aimed to destabilize Mexico. The largest wave of Jews to Mexico came during World War II. In the post war period, Ashkenazis, Sephardics and Mizrahis built separate communities and rarely intermarried. Such marriages were considered interracial. By 1970, there were seven separate Jewish communities in Mexico City comprised of Arabic, Yiddish, Ladino, German, Hungarian and English-speaking Jews. Today there are 30 synagogues, a Jewish sports center, 16 Jewish day schools and a Jewish retirement home. In November of last year, the first stone was laid for the Center for Documentation of the Mexican Jewish Community. It will contain a library and museum. The Diario Judio is a daily newspaper of general news as well as news specific to the Jewish community – it contains, death, birth, marriage announcements, stories about members of the Jewish community, and histories of Jews worldwide. Kosher shops and restaurants advertise in its pages. A Jewish film festival is an annual event in the capital. The first Jewish book fair was held in Mexico City in August 2017. The Mexican Jewish community, while not assimilating completely into general Mexican society, has produced artists and writers with national and international reputations. Indeed Diego Rivera, claimed converso ancestry and wrote: “Jewishness is the dominant element in my life. From this has come my sympathy with the downtrodden masses
which motivates all my work.” Pedro Friedeberg’s work is exhibited in museums around the world. For most people, a Jewish Latin American is an inconceivable combination. In the United States the idea produces astonished gazes and conflicting images of the stereotypes for both. Jews are often asked if they are Mexican, for example, or Jewish. Jewish Cuban Ruth Behar writes in “Salsa, Merengue and the Hora:” “I’m white, I speak Spanish and I’m Jewish. It doesn’t make sense to them.” Mexican Jewish scholar, Ilan Stavans writes that while growing up in Mexico where he was born, he was seen as Jewish. When he went to live in the US, he turned Mexican. Mexican Jewish Literature: In Mexico, a tradition of Jewish literature began in the 1920s with Russian and Eastern European Jews fleeing the Russian Revolution and the First World War. For the most part, however, writers such as Jacobo Glantz wrote in Yiddish for their own communities and their work had little influence on Mexican letters. In the 1970s, when the children of some of these writers, such as Margot Glantz, began to write in Spanish, a body of Mexican Jewish literature emerged, although that literature has been slow to become part of the Mexican canon. Ilan Stavans notes that while many Jewish Mexican writers are published by prestigious presses and are widely read, their works with specifically Jewish themes fare less well. Those works remain in the cultural margins of Mexican literature. Another scholar, David Lockhart, suggests that their exclusion from bibliographies and anthologies is due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of Mexican Jewish writers are women. Two women of a second generation in the 1960s of well-known Jewish writers, Esther Seligson and Angelina Muñiz-Huberman, use the themes of Jewish universal exile and their marginalized pasts as a means of assimilating while retaining connections to Judaism. Muñiz Huberman’s El Sefardí romántico is a picaresque tale of a Sephardic young man who makes his way in Europe and eventually to Mexico in the 1930’s. The protagonist is a witness to the rise of fascism in Italy, the Nazis and the defeat of the Republic in Spain. Her novel, La Burladora
de Toledo, narrates the story of a transsexual in Sixteenth Century Spain. Another woman of this generation, Margot Glantz, an internationally known literary scholar, wrote Family Tree (1981), a chronicle of her family’s experiences as Jewish immigrants in Mexico. This paper discusses the works of Rosa Nissan, Sabina Berman and Sara Sefchovich, so-called 3rd generation of Jewish writers who have been recognized nationally and internationally. It examines several of their novels and why I believe they reflect historical assimilation patterns of Mexican Jewry. I see in these works a transition in the writers’ identities from Jewish Mexican to Mexican Jew as they decenter the Jewishness of their identities. Their narratives claim space in Mexican literature for their dual Mexican/Jewish identities and for themselves as women and as marginalized people. Rosa Nissan, one of Mexico’s best-known Jewish writers, was born in the capital in 1936 to a Sephardic family who came to Mexico in the early 20th century. She was raised in a traditional Sephardic community and attended Jewish schools. Until she became a writer in her early 40s, she lived the life of that community as a wife and mother. The three novels I will discuss are to a certain extent autobiographical and chronicle Nissan’s trajectory from daughter of Jewish immigrants in a closed community to liberated woman and assimilated Mexican. Nissan’s first two novels, Novia que te vea (1992) and Hisho que te nazca (1996), have been published as one volume in English, Like a Bride and Like a Mother. Unfortunately, the English translation does not reflect a Jewish family’s wishes for their daughter’s fulfillment, expressed in the subjunctive mode – you should be a bride, you should have a son. The books are narrated by Oshinica who longs to be Catholic like the other girls in her grade school. As a crypto Catholic in her Jewish family, she prays to the father, son and holy ghost, collects images of saints, and dreams of her first communion only to be taunted by her classmates as the school’s Christ killer. Oshinica outgrows her Catholic phase when her parents send her to Jewish school where she makes new friends, goes happily to synagogue and becomes interested in Zionism. But when she wants to join a school
trip to Israel, she is told: “Women leave home with their husbands. You can go wherever you want with him.” Novia que te vea, is a girl’s coming of age story told against the background of the Sephardic Jewish community of Mexico City. Like other girls, Oshinica dreams of being a bride, resents her mother, giggles about boys with her girlfriends and chronicles the appearance of breasts. Nissan has a didactic purpose in mind as well - to educate her readers about Judaism and the Jewish community. She describes Jewish practices and holidays such as bar mitzvahs and Purim; she discusses the differences between the Orthodox and Conservative communities as well as the Sephardic, Mizrahi and Ashkenazis. Narrator Oshinica speaks in a girl’s voice, but we can also hear Nissan, the grown woman, budding writer and feminist who wonders why girl children are not celebrated at birth, why her younger brother is given more responsibility, why the women always stay home, why she is discouraged from continuing her studies. Nevertheless, by age 17, Oshinica has found her groom, a man who promises to let her continue her studies after they marry. She has fulfilled her community’s expectations by becoming a bride. The book ends with a Sephardic wedding wish: You should soon be a mother – hisho que te nazca. Indeed, Oshinica soon finds herself pregnant and in Nissan’s 2nd volume, Hisho que te Nazca, she goes from bride to divorced mother of four with a promising career as a novelist and photographer. This novel is a liberation story – liberation from the prisons, as she describes them, of marriage, of her small Jewish community and even from motherhood. Oshinica discovers an intellectual self, a sexual self, a competent self as she moves from the confines of her childhood and marriage to a greater Mexican world. Her story is the 2nd generation immigrant story of children who grow up speaking the language, eating the food, learning the history of their parents’ adopted country. She makes friends with non-Jews, she travels to unknown parts of Mexico and even of Mexico City where she grew up: In the Mexican world, she introduces herself with her Spanish name, Eugenia. With the 2003 publication of The Journeys of my Body: The Adventures and Misadventures of Two Mature Women who try to Remake their Lives, Nissan leaves her Jewish community. Narrator Lola is a Catholic,
divorced mother, photographer/videographer, a defier of convention. Her mentor in this novel is an overweight sexually liberated woman from whom the inhibited Lola learns to be comfortable with and take pleasure in her body. Journeys is also a liberation story in which Lola frees herself from the confines of her gender, race and class. Like Oshinica, Lola knows little of Mexico beyond her middle-class Mexico City neighborhood and family vacations in Acapulco. Her working class, mulatto lover to whom she is alternately drawn and repulsed, guides her in her sexual, class and national awakening: With him she travels in a Mexico where there are towns without hotels, bathrooms without doors, faucets without hot water, restaurants without menus. In these places she eats wonderful food, sees glorious pageants and vibrant colors, meets generous, open people. She wonders at her racist and classist attitudes as she discovers a Mexico that looks nothing like the one she grew up in. In this last novel, Nissan paints a Mexico that is religiously, culturally, socially and economically diverse. Sabina Berman was born in Mexico City in 1954. Her parents were Polish Jews who fled the Nazis. Berman is an award-winning playwright and movie director. Only one of her plays, Heresy has a specifically Jewish theme (the Inquisition’s persecution of Luis Carvajal in the 16th Century), but all concern questions of identity in a culturally diverse society and speak to her dual cultural heritage. Like Nissan, she introduces a foreign language into her Spanish text with Hebrew prayers. Another play, Rompecabezas (Puzzle), about the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico, examines questions of assigning identity. Although Trotsky ignored his Jewish heritage, Mexicans labeled him as a Jewish type. Berman’s novel, La Bobe (1990) chronicles the changes in the Jewish community over three generations from the times of her immigrant grandmother to her own. Nissan’s titles derive from Sephardic phrases: Berman’s La Bobe uses the Yiddish word for Grandmother and her text is sprinkled with Yiddish and Hebrew words. Like Nissan’s earlier works, La Bobe is autobiographical and like Nissan, Berman’s narrator is a young girl trying to make sense of her Jewish heritage in Catholic Mexico. “My grandmother’s profile is outlined
against that of the cathedral: I see the golden clock atop the cathedral. My grandmother’s profile comes forward, obscuring it.” Berman too has a didactic purpose, to explain things about Judaism to her non-Jewish readers: She describes kosher laws and the ancient customs of ultra-Orthodox Jews and more modern Jewish practices. Berman also wants her Mexican readers to understand that Jews are not a monolithic community. Berman’s young narrator too is critical of the limitations placed on women by Judaism. She is witness to the near break up of her grandparents’ 40-year marriage because her womanizing grandfather no longer finds his wife sexually compatible. The rabbi has ruled that, under those circumstances, the man has a right to divorce. She wonders at the story of her grandmother the bride circling her groom seven times on her wedding day as a sign of subordination. The young girl is caught between her grandmother’s devout religiosity and her mother’s devotion to psychoanalysis and science. During the services for Yom kippur – the Jewish holy day of atonement – the narrator sits between her mother who reads Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and her grandmother reading her prayer book. The young narrator sees an intense amber light through the curtains as her mother and grandmother argue. The light is what her mother would call the mind while her grandmother would call it Ayn sof, the substance of God. Then she sees two doves, one behind her mother and one behind her grandmother. Thus she finds peace with the contradictions between mind and faith, tradition and modernity, the old world and the new, Jewish and Mexican. My third author, Sara Sefchovich, was born in Mexico in 1943 also to an Ashkenazi family. She is a researcher in social sciences at the UNAM, has written extensively on Mexican history and politics as well as three novels. While she appears on lists of Jewish Mexican writers, her works do not specifically treat Jewish themes. Like Nissan and Berman, she examines women’s struggles and issues of Mexicaness. Her 1991 novel Demasiado amor (Too Much Love) tells the story of two sisters who plan to open a seaside guesthouse in Italy. One goes ahead to investigate. The other, Beatriz, stays in Mexico to earn money for their dream. The story is told through Beatriz’s letters to her sibling.
Written over several years, they reveal that she cannot meet her own expenses let alone the restoration of the Italian villa. One night she meets a man in a cafeteria who pays her for an evening of sex. After that, she returns to the cafeteria frequently until she is sleeping with several men each night, working in the office all day. Soon she is going to the cafeteria six times a day and converts her house into a love den for all kinds of men. “I’ve known one who gets drunk on wine made by his mother, one who knows where to eat the best pipian, one who writes historical essays on ancient China, one who organizes student strikes, one who knows how to fill out tax forms, one who makes good coffee, one who understands national politics, the owner of a travel agency, a tv cameraman” and on and on for 2 pages. The weekends remain sacred for traveling throughout Mexico with the man she loves who introduces her to Mexico’s foods, crafts, colors, mountains, smells, tastes, faces, spices, churches and music. Meanwhile the requests from Italy continue – money is needed for a garden, furniture, domestic help. The letters reveal that their dream will never come true. The sister in Italy marries, has children. The guesthouse becomes the family house, while the apartment in Mexico becomes a whorehouse. In this novel, Sefchovich, the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents, describes a deep love affair with a Mexican man, with the pleasures of her own body and with the country of her birth. Sefchovich was born into a Jewish family but in this novel, her protagonist claims space for herself as a woman and as a Mexican. Sefchovich wrote La Señora de los sueños (The Woman of Dreams) in 2003. The novel’s protagonist is Ana Fernández, a middle-class housewife who escapes her boredom through books. The novel is presented through Ana’s fantasies and in alternating narratives through each family member’s visits to the psychiatrist who recommends that Ana can restore peace and sanity to the family by ceasing to read! In her fantasies, Ana lives the life of a Muslim woman in 15th century Spain, a wealthy Russian woman in the era of the Tzars, a crack head in 21st century New York, a young woman disguised as a man in the Galapagos who inspires Darwin’s writings, a lover and advisor to Fidel Castro, a founder of one of Israel’s first kibbutzim, a disciple of Ghandi. The first women she encounters in her readings are completely
dependent on men. Later they are more liberated, more revolutionary. As Ana’s mind expands through her reading, she tries to introduce changes to her family. For example, the life of the aristocratic woman in Tzarist Russia inspires her to dress extravagantly, to insist on the need for servants, to prepare elegant 8 course dinners. After reading about Sara, a mother earthy agricultural laborer on an early Israeli kibbutz, Ana converts the family to vegetarianism and suggests to her husband that they have more children. After her imaginary stint as Fidel Castro’s lover, she begins to treat the maid as a member of the family, buys her clothes, a tv and sends her to school – all signs to her family that she has gone mad. Finally, Ghandi’s student leads Ana to understand the possibilities of personal and spiritual growth. Through her reading, she escapes the prison of her boredom as she imagines the lives of women across time and space and tries to make sense of her own. Like Aisha, a devout Muslim in 15th century Spain, Ana has been taught that every woman should have a male guardian and that the good woman hides her feelings and is submissive. She laments that she was born a woman with her destiny limited to family and the home. She envies the 19th century woman who lives in the Galapagos, working as a scientist disguised as a man. In an essay in Modern Jewish Studies, Sandra Messinger Cypress argues that despite the lack of specifically Jewish themes in Sefchovich’s novels, “some of the ongoing preoccupations of her texts and their inclusive quality speak to issues that are important to Jewish writers and specifically, to the Jewish writer in Mexico.” She cites various Biblical references that reflect a broad Jewish or Judeo-Christian world view and makes a point, for example, that Beatriz, the protagonist of Demasiado Amor, begins her amorous adventures on a Friday night, the start of the Jewish Sabbath. She claims that La Señora de los sueños treats Jewish issues because “the narrative focuses on books, and the Jewish people have been called the “people of the Book.” In both novels the repeated use of the Jewish mystical number seven may be an expression of Sefchovich’s Jewish sensibility. Ana Fernandez reads seven books, Beatriz writes of seven years of bad luck for breaking a mirror, the seven years she was with her lover and the seven kilos that she gained during their relationship.
One can point to various similarities among these works. They are all presented as women’s memoirs or letters. Each of the narrators searches for meaning in her life as a woman who seeks liberation from the confines of patriarchy. All three describe a multicultural world with characters who speak English, Russian, French, Ladino, Yiddish and Hebrew. All present some instruction on the customs and diversity of Jews. These works of Nissan, Berman and Sefchovich, second generation Jews in Mexico, reflect historical assimilation patterns as they move away from the Jewish Mexican world of their parents to become Mexican Jews. While they may have seen themselves as marginalized both as Jews and as women, they have created a comfortable space where they write as Mexican Jewish women. They have successfully bridged the gap between the old world of their parents and the new one into which they were born, and they offer the possibility of diverse discourses in which culture, class, gender and religion meet. The works of these woman of dual identity have become more secular as they find their voices in a country whose dominant language is still Spanish, dominant religion is still Catholic and whose dominant culture is still largely predicated on the revolutionary ideal of the Cosmic race. But as Mexican intellectuals of the last decades have looked to new paradigms to define their country, these narratives contribute to an evolving inclusive and heterogenous Mexico that challenges the monolithic Mexico of the early 20th century. Jews no longer have to choose between being Jewish and being Mexican. That combination, like the kosher chilaquiles served in Mexico City’s Sinai Restaurant, is no longer inconceivable in Mexico.
Books discussed: Rosa Nissan: Novia que te vea (1992) – A coming of age story of a young woman in a Sephardic Mexican Community Hisho que te nazca (1996) – The continuation of Novia que te vea that chronicles her escape from that community
(Published in English as one volume; Like a Bride, Like a Mother) Los viajes de mi cuerpo (2003) – A woman’s love affair with Mexico Sabina Berman: La bobe (1990) – A young Jewish Mexican girl’s struggle to reconcile her dual identity (Published in English as Bubbeh) Sara Sefchovich: Demasiado amor (1991) – Also a woman’s love affair with Mexico La señora de los sueños (2003) – A novel of a woman who lives her life vicariously through books Some Mexican Jewish Writers: First generation: Jacobo Glantz Salamón Kahan
Fourth Generation: Sophie Goldberg – Lunas de Estambul Victoria Dana - A donde tú vayas, iré
Second Generation: Margot Glantz – Family Tree Esther Seligson Angelina Muñiz-Huberman Gloria Gervitz Sara Levi-Calderón Third Generation: Rosa Nissan Sabina Berman Sara Sefchovich Barbara Jacobs Ethel Krause Silvia Molina Ilan Stavans
Our cover artist, John McQueen, began his art-making as a basketmaker, initially constructing functional baskets, then gravitating to more abstract work. McQueen has always envisioned the body as container, a metaphor he drew from the function of baskets. As well, he has extended the container metaphor to other subjects, such as language. Building words as three-dimensional objects is similar to a sentence. A complete thought with a beginning and end is not that different from the way a basket starts at the bottom and ends with a hole at the top. The title, “Same Difference,” implies the link between these objects. Each depends on gravity to provide the desired result. He is from Saratoga Springs, NY.
Declaración del Artista Nuestra artista de portada, John McQueen, comenzó su creación artística como cestero, inicialmente construyendo cestas funcionales y luego gravitando hacia un trabajo más abstracto. McQueen siempre ha imaginado el cuerpo como contenedor, una metáfora que extrajo de la función de cestas. Además, extendió la metáfora del contenedor a otros temas, como el lenguaje. Construir palabras como objetos tridimensionales es similar a una oración. Un pensamiento completo con un principio y un final no es tan diferente de la forma en que una canasta comienza en la parte inferior y termina con un agujero en la parte superior. El título, "La misma diferencia", implica el vínculo entre estos objetos. Cada uno depende de la gravedad para proporcionar el resultado deseado. Es de Saratoga Springs, NY, EEUU.
Anna Adams has an MA from Boston University in Latin American literature and a Ph.D. from Temple University in Latin American History. She is Professor Emerita of History from Muhlenberg College where she taught Latin American, Latino and Women's history. Her academic interests center on non-Catholic religious communities in Latin America and among Latinos in the US. Paul Bamberger has published several poetry collections, the most recent Down by the River (Islington-Bryer Press). His poems have appeared in Chiron, Muddy River Poetry Review, American Journal of Poetry and others. He currently teaches at Northern Essex Community College in Lawrence, MA Danny P. Barbare lives in the Southern US. He attended Greenville Technical College where he works. His poetry has appeared locally, nationally, and abroad. Lately it has appeared in Along the Shore and Halcyon Days. He has been writing poetry on and off for 36 years Robert Bensenâ€™s latest and fifth book of poems is Orenoque, Wetumka (Bright Hill Press, 2012). He has been awarded fellowships from the NEA and NEH, the Robert Penn Warren Award, and others. Besides poetry, he publishes literary and legal studies, and anthologies of Caribbean and Native American literature. He has been Director of Writing and Professor of English at Hartwick College since 1978. Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Dime Show Review, Communicators League, and Mad Swirl, among others. Peg Boyers is Executive Editor of Salmagundi magazine and author of Hard Bread, Honey with Tobacco and To Forget Venice. She teaches writing workshops at Skidmore College, Columbia University and the New York Summer Writers Institute. Timothy Brennan is a poet, painter and woodworker living in New Paltz, NY, where he's been renovating his old house for almost thirty years. His poems have been published in Chronogram, Awosting Alchemy,
The Blue Collar Review, and in the 2011 and 2014 editions of the Wallkill Valley Writers' Anthology. He assists Susan Chute in New Year's Words reading series in New Paltz, NY. Kathleen S. Burgess, senior editor, Pudding Magazine: The Journal of Applied Poetry, is a retired music teacher; union officer; activist; pink-, white-, and blue-collar worker; videographer. Her poetry appears in North American Review, Main Street Rag, Sou’wester, Central American Literary Review. She authored two chapbooks, Shaping What Was Left and Gardening with Wallace Stevens, and edited the anthology Reeds and Rushes—Pitch, Buzz, and Hum. Rocío Cerón, poeta, ensayista, y editora, ha publicado 8 libros y ha recibido premios incluido Best Translated Book Award, US (2015), America Travel Award por sus crónicas de viaje. Ganó el premio Nacional de Literatura Owen, 2000. Nudo vortex fue (arqueología del padre) publicado por Proyecto Literal, México, 2015 y aparece aquí con el permiso de la poeta.
Daniel Chernin has previously published essays in the Christian Science Monitor Monthly Magazine, and won the 1990 Massachusetts Artists Foundation fellowship for non-fiction. He is resuming his writing career after a twenty year hiatus to raise a family with his wife, and has retired from his job as a software development manager in order to focus on this endeavor. Susan Chute is a librarian-archivist and writer who curates the reading series Next Year’s Words in New Paltz, NY. Her occupations include writing poems, giving tours of Lincoln Center, and creating handmade books. Her work most notably appears on the blogs of Women’s Studio Workshop and The New York Public Library, and in the 2015 Wallkill Valley Writers Monique Clesca, a Haitian writer, now living between Miami, Haiti and Paris while writing a memoir. Her essays and articles have been published in The New York Times, Black Renaissance Noire Magazine, Huffington Post, Jeune Afrique, The Root, Le Nouvelliste and others. As an international development and communication expert, she received numerous recognitions for her work as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Niger 2012-2016.
Shira Dentz is the author of four books, black seeds on a white dish, door of thin skins, how do i net thee, and the sun a blazing zero, and two chapbooks, Leaf Weather and FLOUNDERS. Her writing appears in many journals including Poetry, American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, and Poets.org, and she is the recipient of several awards including Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem Award. Lirio Garduño-Buono, poeta y artista, ha publicado mucho y ganó premios incluido: en 2009 el Premio Internacional de Poesía Nicolás Guillén, con “Memorias de la Ropa,” en 2011 el Premio de Poesía León por el poemario "Animalia Mexicana," en 2013 publicó "Retratos pintados con Agua" con el Instituto Cultural de Querétaro y en 2015 "Visiones" con la editorial de Gobierno del mismo Estado. Es fundadora de lectura “Perro Azul” en San Isidro, Guanajuato, y es traductor. Anne Gorrick is the author of: A’s Visuality (BlazeVOX Books, Buffalo, NY, 2015), I-Formation (Book 2) (Shearsman Books, Bristol, UK, 2012), IFormation (Book 1) (Shearsman, 2010), and Kyotologic (Shearsman, 2008). She co-edited (with poet Sam Truitt) In|Filtration: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry from the Hudson River Valley (Station Hill Press, Barrytown, NY, 2016). Her visual art can be seen at www.theropedanceraccompaniesherself.blogspot.com Olga Gutiérrez-García, poeta. Físico-Matemática. Traductora. Promotora cultural San Diego-Tijuana. Editora del Anuario de Poesía de San Diego. Tanya Huntington. Bi-national writer and artist residing in Mexico City. Managing Editor of Literal: Latin American voices. Author of Martín Luis Guzmán: Entre el águila y la serpiente (2015), A Dozen Sonnets for Different Lovers (2015), and Return (2009). She holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from the University of Maryland at College Park, has taught there and at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. Follow her on Twitter at @TanyaHuntington.
José Kozer Poeta y ensayista cubano. Hijo de inmigrantes judíos; en 1960 se trasladó con su familia a los EE.UU. donde reside desde entonces. Durante treinta años fue docente en varias universidades. Recibió el Premio Iberoamericano de Poesía Pablo Neruda en el año 2013 y en 2017 la Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College.
Dan Kraines earned an MFA in poetry from Boston University and an MA in modernism and social criticism from New York University. His poems have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The Journal, Phantom Limb, and Salmagundi among others. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester. He teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology and City Tech and lives in Brooklyn.
enriKetta luissi has written a novel El Peso de los Ovarios and nine books of poetry: Ostrich Sky, Disclosed, In Vitro, Poetica Mathematica, Binaria, ÍÍÉ, Dark Matter, Re-Versed and Emily. Oliverio Macías Álvarez. Estudió Lengua y Literatura Hispánica en la UNAM. Autor del libro “un mundo extraño” editado en Portugal y México. Cameron McGill is a third-year MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Idaho and poetry editor of the journal Fugue. He is the recipient of a Silver Creek Writer’s Residency, a scholarship to the New York State Summer Writers Institute, and a University of Idaho Centrum Fellowship. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Queen Mob’s, Fogged Clarity, Poetry East, Measure, Aesthetica, and Grist.
Campbell McGrath is the author of nine poetry collections; his most recent XX Poems for the Twentieth Century, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His many awards include a MacArthur “genius grant”, and a Guggenheim; his poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares and others. He teaches at Florida International University and lives with his family in Miami Beach. Pedro Mena Bermúdez Ha publicado los libros: Pútrida voz (poemas 2004-2005), ICL, 2007; The City (poemas, 2009), ICL, 2010; Unheimlich (poemas 2005-2010), Fondo Editorial La Rana, 2011; 12 Voltios (Compilación del primer Encuentro Nacional de Poetas en León), ICL, Conaculta, INBA, 2013; La corbata y otros ensayos, Editorial Los otros libros, 2016; Tizne (poemas 2012-2016), ICL,2017 y Heráclito (poemas), Cinosargo, 2017. Lori Anderson Moseman’s poetry collections are Light Each Pause (Spuyten Duyvil), Flash Mob (Spuyten Duyvil), Full Quiver (Propolis Press) and All Steel (Flim Forum Press), Temporary Bunk (Swank Books), Persona
(Swank Books), Cultivating Excess (The Eighth Mountain Press. Her VisPo recently appeared in Gramma.org, Opon, Posit, Really System and The Volta. She founded and ran the press Stockport Flats. Augusto Nava Mora. Doctor en Filología Italiana por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid; es especialista en Dante Alighieri. Estudió Letras Españolas en la Universidad de Guanajuato. Hizo estudios de postgrado en Filosofía de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona y obtuvo en la Universidad Complutense el Diploma de Estudios Avanzados en Teoría de la Literatura y Literatura Comparada. Michael Nelson’s poetry, published infrequently since the 1980’s, was most recently published in The Missouri Review. He assists in judging the Cirardi Prize at BkMk Press where he was once employed as assistant to the editor. He divides his gardening life between the Flint Hills of Kansas and his home in southern Sweden. Eduardo Padilla, poeta y traductor, es autor de Wang Vector (Ornitorrinco), Zimbabwe (El Billar de Lucrecia), Minoica (escrito en colaboración con Ángel Ortuño, publicado en la editorial Bonobos), Mausoleo y áreas colindantes (La Rana), Blitz (filodecaballos), Un gran accidente (Bongo Books) y la antología Paladines de la Auto-Asfixia Erótica (Bongo Books). “Junk Bonds” fue publicado previamente en Un gran accidente y es publicado aquí con permiso del poeta. Catherine Pond's poems have appeared in Boston Review, Narrative, Rattle, and many more. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She holds an MFA from Columbia University where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2013. Carter Ratcliff is a poet and art critic. His books of poetry include Fever Coast, Give Me Tomorrow, and Arrivederci, Modernismo. His first novel, Tequila Mockingbird, was published in 2015. Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. Her work has been published in Pennsylvania English, Harbinger Asylum, Petrichor Machine and Madcap Poets. Jorge Javier Romero. Es matemático y escritor, autor de los poemarios nadie se está quejando (2015) y no más preguntas (2017). Formó
parte de Amanecimos sobre la palabra. Antología de poesía joven venezolana (2017). Edita el blog de cine El tren en marcha. Now residing in the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York state, Laurence Ryan was born in Peterborough, England. He came to the USA in 1965. While living in Manhattan, he attended evening writing workshops and classes at NYU and the New School in the sixties. Now retired, he continues writing prose, essay and verse pieces Julie Suarez teaches writing and literature at Hartwick College. Her poems have appeared in Salmagundi, Phoebe, Women’s Voices of the 21st Century: Experiences that Shape Women, Tightrope, The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, The New York Times, and a variety of small press publications. Bright Hill Press published her chapbook It Does Not in 2006. In her small but exuberant garden, she grows lilies taller than herself and finds the seeds of many of her poems. She lives in Oneonta, New York with her husband David Hayes. Norberto de la Torre González. (Ciudad de México) Premio estatal Manuel José Othón. Textos traducidos al Neerlandés, Inglés y Francés. Autor de “Ciudad por entregas”, “Juan del Jarro”, “El arte del tropiezo”, “Escríbeme una llave”. Miriam de Uriarte has published poetry, short stories, art reviews in museum catalogues and in the East Bay Express in San Francisco, California. She taught at UC Berkeley Extension, founded the Berkeley Child Art Studio, was education director at the Mexican Museum; director of the Stockton Children’s Museum, The Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco, Director of Education at Museo del Barrio, in Manhattan. She is bilingual, of Mexican heritage.
LA PRESA, published three times a year by Embajadoras Press, is a literary journal of poetry and short fiction, articles, essays, and other...
Published on Jan 5, 2018
LA PRESA, published three times a year by Embajadoras Press, is a literary journal of poetry and short fiction, articles, essays, and other...