From the Permian Basin to the Sound of Campeche

March 14, 2016 in Autotranslation, Crossgenre, Non Fiction

*

Oil boom. Farewell, boom.

The Permian basin has abruptly sinkholed a large chunk of caky earth in Wink, Texas. Gooey gold,

gooey eyes. It was in 1980, says the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), when the basin, a large

thick grueso depósito de rocas—langbeinite, sylvite, halite, potash—had to finish some unfinished

business.

Last year the sheriff of Winkler County warned of two winking sinkholes expanding. If you come

here, I’ll arrest you. I don’t want to be here myself. Wink Sink #2 is killing it, trespassing the roads,

breaking the asphalt, stopping oil tanks, making the calicheros kalichear la zona, and angering the

sheriff who doesn’t want the curiosos to wonder if the hole can take you to China, Campeche or the

Bakken plateau of North Dakota.

Someone at the Bureau murmured in a paper that those sinkholes occurred because of some

extractions in the 30s.

Texastelegram1:

barren land rocks sedimentary basin piled anthracite depleted air salted water injected completed

action let decision makers know, wink wink.

Texastelegram2:

most prolific oil producing area in america. increase from 850,000 barrels per day (2007) to

1,350,000 (2013). best formations 4ever (justkidding oilisnot4ever): Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Bone

Spring, Glorieta, Yeso, and Delaware. highly productive. better than Gulf of Mexico. Full stop.

*

So far, the user elundetakergearsofwar has posted two videos on youtube, one titled “El Chupa se

cae” in which a dark-skinned Campeche boy is lightly pushed by an adult and falls

precipitosamente onto the ground, and starts rolling down the street. The palimphested asphalt

disintegrates into a hole of pixels as the boy seems to be unrolled from a large tongue of warm air: a

digital hole devoid of meaning until a boy falls inside for a second.

The other video “The Sad Life in the Oil Rigs of the Sound of Campeche, México” appears to be a

romantic one. It’s a show-and-tell of life and work. A set of texts such as always smile you never

know who is going to fall in love with your smile or live life fully because you are not coming out of

life alive, fill in the gaps between photographs. Apparent platitudes, these lines insinuate a story that

nobody can decipher, except that group of workers photographed in the blueness of the Gulf of

Mexico. Images of orange-overalled workers, men and women, eating, sitting, talking, posing.

Many love stories evolve and implode in the already dangerous Pemex oil rigs.

Workers can spend more than 20 days in the plateauforms.

¡Saludos a toda la banda plataformera de los akales, jupiter, safe regency, litoral, cantarell y

barcos!

The dormitories in the oil rig have six or seven beds, sometimes a bathroom, but usually the

workers have to walk a narrow corridor to get to one. At night, a warm body quickly jumps from the

top bed: a slight noise in the middle of the ocean, a tap, a small tepid wave of sound. An innocuous

wave: a woman’s body waking up above the Gulf of Mexico to pee, while a drill extracts thousands

of black liquid years from the ground.

A solitary wave has sent a message to his peers about not falling asleep while working, because it

can cost you the job, about not trusting the bosses, not falling for power and money, and a word of

caution about falling crazy in love with the guy or woman next to you.

*

i called José Gómez, inhabitant of Mexico City, to ask him about his days at the mineral. His father

and the entire family worked as miners in Tequila, Jalisco. He used to joke about playing with big

pieces of gold and silver the size of his head, the patrones trusted him so much, the little slave. He

was a black black, he said once, the only visible shining thing in his body the pieces of metal that he

tossed around outside the mine. He didn’t want to get sick as the others so he left for the capital. i

wanted to ask him more about that time, but he is 100 years old, and the only thing he could tell me

over the phone was that he remembered when i gave him dólares for his birthday—or dolores, as he

would joke. It is very hard not to see him as a repository of stories, as the result of so many policies

and historical circumstances, and it is very easy to forget his deeply machista view of the world.

*

How does an oil rig speak to the ocean? In the language of money, production, accumulation,

desire, in the language of capitalism and technology. It writes in the air with fire and spits on the

working and living bodies around it.

Is a machine a non-human entity or rather a human appendix for expanding his, not her, power? A

transducer, a translator of many fantasies.

Science is political, and science is corporate. Companies can sue countries.

A text may or may not do anything.

*

There’s a cumbia of the petrolero, in fact two. One is sung by children at schools, mainly in

Campeche, and tells the official and heroic story of the oil expropriation of 1938. Lázaro Cárdenas,

the president at that time, managed to kick out foreign companies from Mexico, and the oro negro

came back to the hands of the Mexican people, at that point the majority of whom lived and worked

in rural communities. In the social imaginary that moment represents a twofold retrofantasy: a

president stood up to foreign interests and Mexicans became the true “owners” of their economic

wealth.

They say that in order to be able to work for Pemex, the state owned company (almost not), you

need to have connections or you need to be the daughter or son of some high mando.

The other cumbia is more a laborcumbia. It talks about the everyday life of oil rig workers, orange

and red overalled workers, on a platform, in la sonda de Campeche. The theme’s music video was

actually shot by the workers themselves on the oil rig. It is a song about a hard and felt relationship

with a machine: an enormous structure of metal and salt.

 


Lorena Gómez Mostajo (Mexico City) is an editor, writer, and photographer. She studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recently, she founded Taller Salón, an independent publishing and printing house that serves the Tijuana-San Diego community.

On autotranslation: The tongue touches the paladar, the teeth, the lips; air comes out: a clasp, a noise, a sound that exists since childhood that gets twisted into a new one. When the tongue travels to perform the sounds of English, it traverses a field of random memories and images. For example, an English teacher in elementary school that gave candy away if the class pronounced “tree” and “three” well; the songs that, as kids, we pretended to understand and sing in a deformed English; hundreds of films; the political candidate who insisted that the future of success was learning “inglés y computación”; the security officers at airports and at the San Ysidro border; technology and its endless iterations; the promise that by way of speaking the “new esperanto,” one will be more connected to the advanced world.

I am enchanted by accents. By that sonorous declaration of having or having had another life somewhere else. The same way, when I write in English, the history of my intimacy with Spanish, created also by writing in it, gets to be transformed, revisited, altered. I twist my thoughts, the same way I twist my tongue, to find the rhythms that can have echoes in both languages.

 

El monstruo que me sigue

March 14, 2016 in Poetry

1 Nací de madre soltera,

Quien iba siempre con el corazón afuera,

Quien fue acusada de ser adultera,

Quien tenía los ojos glaseados de cera.

Amaba todo lo que no veía.

Proclamaba su amor cristiano a cualquiera en sus vías.

Ciega y cierta pasaba los días

Alabando a Dios y a la Virgen María.

2 Vino a su pueblo un hombre de, según decían, pelo rubio con canas,

De olor a manzana,

De tierra lejana

Y de lengua extraña.

En español de niño hablaba de sus capacidades milagrosas.

A todo volumen, describía sus actos de proeza con imperfecta prosa.

Sin embargo, demostraba que de la nada podían venir osos y mariposas

De modo que el pueblo, encantado, le creía cualquier cosa.

3 Aún con su fama,

El hombre carecía conciencia o alma.

Solo buscaba, de cualquier manera, llevarse una dama

A la cama.

Pues no vino

Solo para convertir agua en vino.

Pues compró sus poderes a precio vivo:

La vida suya o la de sus hijos.

4 Entonces, los más hijos que concibiera,

Lo más seguro que el hombre viviera .

De modo que nación a nación viajaba sin nombre

Seduciendo con su disfraz de prohombre.

Así fue como con promesas de visiones y sinestesia

Se llevó a mi madre a la iglesia

Y convirtiendo su aliento en anestesia

Le forzó un beso de amnesia.

5 La luz la encontró tirada en un colchón,

Vientre y mente llenas de repulsión,

Con la vista restaurada y entre sus piernas una comezón.

Supo que el pueblo sabría de lo acontecido al transcurrir su gestación.

Supo, por razones inexplicables,

Que el hombre me había dado de herencia una maldición palpable.

Todos los días que viviera, un monstruo invisible e implacable

Me seguiría y haría mi vida detestable.

6 Huyó en cuanto salió un bulto.

Ni familia ni amistad supo de su embarazo oculto.

Se fue para el Norte, donde creía que habría menos tumulto.

Entregando su corazón para que fuera sepulto.

Al nacer yo,

Solamente más se deprimió.

Todo lo que nos pasó

Ella me lo contó.

1 A los dos días de nacer, Guadalupe fui nombrada,

Aunque lo cristiano ya no dejaba a mi madre asombrada.

(Nombrada no nombrado, pues mi género asignado importa nada.)

Un pez no es un pescado, un pescado ya no nada.

Le daba placer vestirme con pantalones

Azules

Sobre olorosos pañales

Bajo camisas gules.

2 Yo lloraba.

Me cargaba

Pero si no paraba

Se encontraba

Odiando

El día cuando el hombre ingrato

Le quitó, sobre su vida, el mando.

3 Mi primer año fue uno en el cual mi madre dormía y comía poco.

El monstruo me seguía como la luz sigue focos.

Cuando yo tenía un mes de nacida, mi madre creyó ver una cara parecida a coco

Sobre mi cuna mientras se me escurrían los mocos.

Y cuando tenía tres meses, me dio una fiebre intensa.

Que se fue solo cuando mi madre concedió a la medicina moderna.

Y cuando tenía seis meses, encontró rasguños en mis tiernas

Piernas.

4 A los nueve meses la levantaba con aullidos

Y chillidos

Y dada la frecuencia de mis gemidos,

A mi madre le dieron despido.

Cuando acabó el año,

Precisamente en el día de mi cumpleaños,

Mientras mi madre me daba un baño,

El monstruo por poco me arrastró al soterraño.

5 El monstruo nunca me dejaba en paz; cuando yo tenía dos años, mi madre se puso histérica

Al no poder encontrarme en el apartamento durante una tempestad atmosférica.

Solo al contemplar la lluvia colérica,

Me vio afuera al borde de cadavérica.

Nunca me dejaba en paz; a los tres años, mi primera memoria,

Al salir de la carnicería Gloria,

Sentí detrás de la cabeza una sensación vibratoria

Que me hizo caer y tirar las zanahorias.

6 Desperté en cama mía.

Sentía

Que mi cara se hundía.

Sentada a mi lado, mi madre sonreía.

– Ahora te diré hijo mío porque el monstruo te sigue.-

Me reveló que mi maldición de mi padre prosigue.

-Si piensas en el monstruo, más rápido te persigue.

Piensa en no pensar, aunque te fatigue.-

1 El monstruo nunca paró de subyugarme, pues el pensar en no pensar todavía es pensamiento.

Aunque no pude verlo en nuestros enfrentamientos

Sus palizas me dejaban sin aliento.

At times when I slept, creía oírlo dar ahuyento.

A veces lo sentía lejano, como la primera vez

A los diez

Que modelé los tacones,

De mi madre, color nuez.

2 Yet more often I felt it close, like the time I was thirteen

And I wore a dress green

And clean

That on me no one had yet seen.

All I did was walk once around the park

When suddenly a group of boys had me as their mark.

They bit and they tackled and they grinded my face on bark

And after they were done, the beating was taken over by the monster, my birthmark.

3 Other times it lingered, present but not as present as it could be,

Such as the time when I was twenty

And drunkenly

Delineated dashes around my dick with Sharpie

With murky intentions to utilize

A pair of scissors to incise.

However, all I did was cry into my thighs.

Never made a cut to its surprise.

4 Yet now I find myself here, locked behind a pantry door

Terrified, since outside, the monster roars.

It trailed me home from my walk from the store

And, once inside, began flinging the decor.

It has never shown such prolonged might;

It has been pounding at the door since well past midnight.

I am relieved that so far the door hinges have held tight

But I know here I will die and here it will smite.

5 Away it hacks.

The wood cracks.

Soon it will reach the climax

Of all its violent acts.

I know this is my last, so why not a prayer?

God, if you’re there,

Fuck yourself and take care.

Its expirations moisten my leg hairs.

6 Ha entrado; I think I feel sus colmillos

Scraping against my tobillos.

Mis piernas están pintadas por un líquido amarillo.

Escucho que de su garganta provienen sonidos like a million grillos.

I

Cry.

I

Die.


Mi nombre es Raúl Alberto Escareño Cortés, pero prefiero que personas me llamen Beto. Nací en

Sacramento, California de padres mexicanos. A temprana edad fui inscrito en escuela bilingüe donde

aprendí materias en español e inglés. However, when I entered high school, my Spanish suffered from

lack of practice other than at home, común para hijos de inmigrantes. This abrupt change in language

has made my brain work differently: I do not simply speak, read, and write English when I speak, read,

and write English; rather I speak, read, and write English with Spanish influence. Cuando hablo, leo y

escribo español, hablo, leo y escribo español con influencia inglesa.

The building

March 14, 2016 in Poetry

IMG_1240

Rebecca Seaberry

1

Once upon a time it was imposible to wonder.

Once upon a time a city, another city, every space that’s known as a city and what they hold inside

their guts.

Once upon a time the tar, the concrete, the noise, the windows facing nowhere.

Once upon a time a buildings and streets complex, the kind of anarchic government that rules it,

the dense and numerous population inhabiting it, busy with their own most important occupations.

And You. And Him.

What are two men living in the same building?

What are two men living

What are two men

What are

What

What are two men?

Two male sexed human beings

What is the male inside the human body?

What is the male sexed body?

What is

What

What is sex?

2

Once upon a time You had your own name.

A proper noun, they call them.

A proper noun is the special word that we use for a person, place or organization, like John, Marie,

London, France or Sony. A name is a noun, but a very special noun – a proper noun. Proper nouns

have special rules.

Once upon a time walking meant walking towards You. Towards a proper noun with special rules

but without a metaphor. Tramping around the small section of the city that kept my body away from

the place that you called home.

A building.

A last floor.

And You.

It was around these days when I started to walk around the same path everyday. Looking for

reasons not to go there. Not to get there. Not to go up. Thinking about the other girls up and down

the elevator.

A building

A last floor.

And Him.

An older man who wasn’t You, who wouldn’t take off his sunglasses while in front of a camera with

who he discussed his job.

A job around, through and about the body.

A job from flesh to flesh.

In front of the camera.

A video camera is a device that captures images by converting them into electrical signals, in most

cases turning them into video signal, also known as television signal.

In other words, a video camera is an optical transducer.

3

Once upon a time Him, an older man, spoke about a world unbeknownst to me. About the control

that happens when a body above another body. About the flesh we are and the flesh we desire.

About the flesh we are and the flesh we’ll become. About the flesh we are and the flesh we

consume.

A carnivore, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “An animal that feeds on flesh.”

In front of the camera Him, who wasn’t really You but could have been, spoke about desire and

capitalism while actually speaking about the videos in which flesh against flesh, flesh rubbing flesh

penetrating flesh pushing flesh consuming flesh feeding on flesh devouring the flesh.

I’ve heard that what hurts of love it’s not love itself. What hurts about love, they say, is not what

they taught us when we were children. What hurts about love, I heard, is the language in which

love develops.

If I have learnt my lesson right.

Still, it takes us one conversation to learn that what hurts of love stops hurting from that darkened

place called lust. Or so I heard.

That’s why some of the us prefer the possibilities held inside our bodies.

That’s the reason why Him understood the organic relationship between money and flesh.

A body is a body is a body is a body.

A body is also profit.

Sex, as cinematography and love, exists inside its own language.

A video camera is an optical transducer.

I’m proud of turning regular girls into porn stars.

Eyes are also made of edible flesh.

A body is a body is a body is a body.

A body is also an optical transducer.

A body is also a translator.

A body is also a credit card number.

4

Once upon a time that older man lived in the same building that made You appear the first time.

What are two men living in the same building?

That’s why I have already crossed the threshold one first time far before meeting You.

What is the male sexed body?

That was also the first time I learnt what flesh means through a lens.

What is sex?

Very few things prepare you for life as the notion that you can go body shopping.

What is love?

Flesh collapsing. A close up.

The sound that befalls penetration. The click of the tongue. The percentage of water loss. The

percentage of water exchange.

The consuming.

What is a camera?

The process of running camcorders begins with the decomposition of light from three components

(red, green and blue) through a prism of dichroic mirrors. On the other side of the prism are

sensors, which reconstruct the image and forwarded to the circuits preamplifiers.

What is pornography?

Cameras, as the body itself, are built with a gap to allow light coming through.


 

MarieJo Delgadillo is a Mexican journalist and multidisciplinary artist. Having worked for over six years interviewing artists, politicians and everyday people to find out about them, and publishing in newspapers and magazines both nationally and internationally, she is now expanding her own creative work. Currently interested in finding ways poetry and journalistic investigation can work together, exploring topics as pornography, fashion, capitalism and the idea of the body as a commodity. She is also a dance instructor. Her literary work in spanish can be read athttps://mariejodelgadillo.wordpress.com/ and she tweets as @MarieJoDel.

The Defendants Are Found to Be Highly Intelligent*

March 14, 2016 in Fiction

“Red Adidas? Now tell me, who wears red Adidas? No wonder he got killed,” says the one with the pigtails. (Who makes pigtails?! Are you in kindergarten or something? She must think it’s cute, Lolita or something.) One girl looks at her condescendingly, one can see the contempt in her eyes. “You think this has anything to do with the red Adidas, you dimwit?” says one girl’s best friend. The best friend is the smartest boy in the Sharon area, if not in the entire state of Israel. And one girl is also very very smart and pretty, too. One cannot disclose all the information about them here, due to discreteness and modesty. Let’s call them one girl and the curly one.

One girl and the curly one are best friends, ordinary human beings can’t even imagine this kind of friendship. It is friendship ordained from above, by blood, by poetry. They have an understanding, as they say, that goes deep. So deep that an ordinary person could drown. But they haven’t drowned, they’re good swimmers ‘cause they were sent to swimming lessons at a young age at the ‘Brawn Swimming pool’, Kfar-Saba’s public swimming pool. One girl was a bit pitiful, everything was handed to her on a silver platter, a silver platter bought at the nice department store. For others this was a privilege, for her it was a hardship, she wanted to end it all already. The curly one also got everything handed to him on a silver platter, but in a different style. He was like a prisoner in jail, they would leave him the silver platter outside his room door, knock and leave, leaving him alone with the silver platter.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Rebecca Seaberry

Every single day one girl and the curly one met at the mall and they loved and destroyed everything. They set their little city on fire, burned houses under heavy mortgages, air-conditioned shops and huge parking lots. They set on fire public gardens, public toilets, curtain shops and candy stores. They felt great hatred for their city, they feared never being able to get out of there, even though they would always see bus number 149 driving back and forth along Weizmann Street, taking passengers to Tel Aviv, the big city. They never took it. They would go from the mall to Ussishkin woods, from the mall to the ‘Defenders Garden’, from the mall to the Kiryat-Sapir neighborhood. The mall was their meeting place. They’d say, Let’s meet at five by the water fountain. They hated the mall.

One day they had enough. They said, Let’s do something, let’s kill, ‘cause we are kings of the world! They walked and walked around the city. The curly one said, “Who shall we kill, my dear?” One girl answered, “Anyone.” They laughed hard. And then, boom, they met someone else. Someone else says hi to the curly one and they start talking. “Have you seen this movie?”

And the curly one says, “Yes.” “Have you read this book?”And the curly one says, “Yes.”

One girl taps the curly one’s shoulder, signals someone else to wait a moment and they move away. She whispers in his ear, “Let’s kill him okay?” The curly one nods in approval but doesn’t make a sound.

One girl asks, “Do you have anything to smoke?” Someone else takes out a bag with a bud, “This weed is the shit, it grows in my parents’ yard, organic fertilizer.” One girl is impressed and the three take off together to the Rabin High School sports facility. 

Darkness falls on the small city of Kfar Saba, only the white light of urban streetlights brightens the sky. The three sit by the running track, there’s no one in sight. Sometimes, fired up soldiers-to-be practice here, with fire in their eyes and fire in their arms, wanting to puff up their muscles, wanting to kill Arabs, grrr grrr grrr, but today there’s not a soul in sight.

Someone else has black dreadlocks, perfect blow-job lips, and red Adidas. One girl can’t stand it, naturally. The curly one doesn’t care, he can’t stand anything, nothing at all. One girl notices a discarded iron rod behind them, one of the sports facilities had fallen apart and no one cleared the trash. One girl taps the curly one’s shoulder, signals someone else to wait a moment, and they move away. She whispers in his ear, “Kill him with this, okay?” She points at the iron rod. The curly one nods affirmatively but doesn’t make a sound.

One girl goes back and sits down by someone else. The curly one is lagging behind them, pretending to be peeing.

“Where are you from?” she asks.

“From Hadarim,” someone else points westward.

And then, boom! Crash! What happened? Someone else’s forehead suddenly bled and now he’s dead.

“Run, Run!” One girl shouts and they run, just like that, running off from Rabin High School. Luckily, one girl’s house is really close, just a few hundred meters away. They run, skip, go up the stairs and lock themselves in the bathroom until there’s not a drop of blood left on their bodies and their breathing becomes regular. Now they swear, they swear so much. Now it’s real friendship, there’s no such friendship in the whole world.

Someone else’s body is discovered the next morning.

That night his mom was worried, she said to her husband, “Where’s someone else?” The husband said, “Pfff”, they fell asleep and whatever happened, happened.

*Excerpt from the book Kfar Saba 2000, to be published in Hebrew this year by Penn Publishing, Tel Aviv.


Julia Fermentto is a writer and journalist from Tel Aviv, Israel. Her debut novel, “Safari”, was published in Israel in 2011 and became a Bestseller. Her work has been published in newspapers and anthologies in Israel, Germany, and the United States. Her second novel “Kfar-Saba 2000” will be published in Israel in 2016. She’s a first-year graduate student in the Ph.d program and her main research interest is early 20th century Jewish-American literature.

Julia Fermentto on Autotranslation: Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE. Modern Hebrew, my mother-tongue was revived in the late 19th century. Being a Hebrew writer I carry this history whether I like it or not. My mouth speaks an ancient language but my life is post-modern; shopping online, eating skittles, getting bored. This tension is a great source of playfulness in my writing. In English however, this tension doesn’t exist. A new tension arose while translating this short excerpt from Hebrew to English. By undressing the Hebrew speech, my characters can be seen more clearly, which allowed me to understand their feelings much better.

Si/Re/No/ A Transgender Swimming

March 14, 2016 in Poetry

SI/RE/NO

Un subtítulo aparece mientras nado:

Aquí se ve el cuerpo transgénero nadando.

Desde cuando que no he visto al mar,

tanto tiempo que me siento incomodo

en su presencia.

Somehow, coming out to the ocean (the interpersonal and geographical event) is different than coming out to family or friends. I’m swimming in a pool and this (woman’s) shape displaces water in a way (that makes no sense). Wouldn’t it be sweet if a shark came and bit off  these parts I have (ceased to want).

Le hago promesas de novio al mar:

algún día regresare con un pecho liso y firme.

Entraré a el océano sin camisa,

un hombre entre la olas sin tetas que desplacen el agua fuera de este ojo marino. Jamas (seré hombre.) Este cuerpo, tal como es,

esta hecho de papel

que se despedaza en la boca mojada del mar.

You,

my salty,

do you still love me (if I am to become a man)?

Do you desire me, want me, need me, forgive me? Am I your dovefish? Your lovecruise?

Turning over in the serpentine water,

a warm thing,

fluid thing, it ripples around me,

transparent when wet,

then drying to white crystals on my skin.

Cerca, muy cerca,

unos hombres han subido su lancha a la playa.  Están limpiando tiburones muertos, c

ortándoles las aletas y las cabezas.

Si me quito la camisa los hombres van a ver

que no soy hombre. Pero si nado con camisa

no sabrás lo tanto que te quiero.

The men in the boats are men, aren’t they?

One is making a thing with his hands.

He is weaving slowly a beautiful net

for catching fish.

He is making lace to eat with.

“The sea belongs to Mexicans,” says the man who is my uncle without being my uncle.

Este momento en que estoy nadando es

un matrimonio arreglado, es el deseo de morir. Este momento en el agua, no tiene nada que ver con mi cuerpo, este

cuerpo cuya geometría rechaza el desplazo de agua en la forma de un sireno.

The men in the boats watch me while they cut and pile pieces of dead sharks. They pile them so high that the towers topple and create a land bridge from this beach to Japan, which eases the export of shark fins. But the sea belongs to those Mexicans not to this

(Mexican?) body.

This body doesn’t even belong to itself. The sea, meanwhile, (belongs to men). These men. And if/when I become a man, I ask not if you will belong to me, o sea, but, will I belong to men?

Cuando era niña soñé dos sirenos andróginos que se alineaban perfectamente, labio a labio, pecho a pecho. Esto sirve de comprobante que una vez fui lesbiana y que nunca he sido lesbiana. No lo soy (y es imposible que lo sea en el futuro.) (Incluso, jamas seré tu lesbiana y jamas lo fui.) También es posible que siempre seré lesbiana.

(My anatomy is a shark attack. It preys on people en route between Mexico and Japan.)

No soy mujer.

No, soy mujer.

Sí.

Soy hombre.

Ahora. ¿Hoy? No.

No soy hombre.

Si soy hombre, soy sireno.

¿Sí o no?

Sí, lo soy.

Soy

re

no.

A Transgender Swimming

As I swim, I caption my actions clinically:

Here we see a transgender swimming.

I haven’t seen the ocean in so long I feel awkward around it.

Mi confesión al mar es un momento

geográfico, geológico, interpersonal,

un suceso incomparable al mismo momento replicado con amigos y familiares.

Nadando en este ojo azul de agua salada,

este cuerpo (de mujer) desplaza el agua

(en maneras que no tienen sentido)

y tengo un deseo profundo: quisiera que un tiburón me quitara a mordidas estas partes de mi cuerpo (que he rechazado.)

To swim in saltwater is to make lover’s promises. Someday I will return with a

hard, flat chest, shirtless,

a man between swells withouts tits to

displace the water in tidal pools.

I will (never be a man).

This body is made of paper

and comes to pieces in the wet mouth of the sea.

Tú,

mi amor sabor sal,

me amas (¿aunque me convirtiera en hombre?)

¿Me deseas, me anhelas, me perdonas?

¿Seré tu pez, tortolita?

¿Tu lancha de besos?

Volteándome bajo las aguas serpentinas,

cosa calorosa, cosa fluida, serás siempre

esa presencia transparente mientras mojada,

que queda seca en mi piel en forma de cristal.

Some men have pulled their boat onto shore nearby. They are cleaning dead sharks and cutting off their fins and heads. If I swim topless they will see me in this pool, so I cannot show my love in a gesture of swimming.

Los hombres en el barco,

¿son hombres, qué no?

Algo esta pasando entre

las manos de uno de ellos.

Esta tejiendo pausadamente

una hermosa red de pesca.

Esta tejiendo encaje con que comer.

“El mar le pertenece a los Mexicanos,”

dijo mi tío sin ser mi tío.

I go swimming like an arranged marriage.

I go swimming like a deathwish.

I go swimming like I am unrelated to this body. This body who’s geometry refuses to displace water in the shape of a merman.

Los hombres me miran mientras despedazan los cuerpos de los tiburones haciendo columnas de sus cuerpos sangrantes. Una de estas columnas se cae, formando un puente de carne entre Mexico y Japón, que facilita la exporta de mariscos. Este mar le pertenece a esos Mexicanos, no a este cuerpo

(¿Mexicano?).

Este cuerpo ni se pertenece a si mismo, mientras el mar (le pertenece a hombres, estos hombres.) Si yo me convierto a hombre, mar mío,

no es que me pertenezcas a mi,

si no que yo le pertenezco a los hombres.

As a child I dreamt about androgynous merpeople aligning perfectly face to face so that their nipples would touch. This is clinical proof that I was once a lesbian and I have never been a lesbian. And I will not (and cannot) ever be a lesbian (or your lesbian) again. Also note that I may never stop (being a lesbian.)

I hear a wave crashing,

rolling, then pulling across the sand.

It’s sounds like it’s saying,

“Cunt,

tits,

ass.

Cunt,

tits,

ass.”

 


 

Migueltzinta C. Solís was raised in Mexico and California. He earned his B.A. from The Evergreen State College in interdisciplinary studies. Migueltzinta’s work has appeared in Midnight Breakfast, Lunch Ticket, PANK, and Apogee, and he is an alumnus of VONA/Voices. He is a graduate student in writing at UC San Diego, and also works in performance and textile art.

Migueltzinta on this translation: “The first draft of this poem was in both Spanish and English without any translation across the two languages. That draft lacked narrative strength so I wrote a second draft in Spanish and a third in English. I was going to set them side by side and be done, but when I did that they were just two separate poems with a thematic connection. By shuffling the paragraphs together I hoped to bring back that sense of lingual inter-dependence that existed in the original draft. There is also the reward, if you know both languages, of finding out that the poems do not fully, literally translate. The poem in Spanish ends in a completely different way than its English version. But even if you were bilingual you might still miss this because you had decided to read it only in one language.”

Sobre la pureza

March 14, 2016 in Poetry

I’m not a pure man

You want me alba You want me foams You want me nacre Like an amaryllis

is it necessary

possible

does it taste good

Above all, chaste With faint perfume Closed corolla

have you tasted absolutely pure water

Hispanics in 2012 represented 8.2 percent of the total Federal workforce. Whites made up 65.4 percent, Blacks represented 18.2 percent, Asian/Pacific Islanders 6.1 percent, American Indians 2.0 percent, and 0.1 percent of the workforce was of unspecified ethnicity

lab water

no grain of sand or manure

Not a moonbeam Filtering me Not a margarita May call herself my sister

I love

I like to eat pork

potatoes

chickpeas

sausage

eggs

chicken

lamb

turkey

fish

seafood

Hispanics account for about 15 percent of all jobs, but a whopping 36 percent of all high school dropouts

I like to drink rum

beer

brandy

wine

I fuck

Hispanics make up about half of all farm workers and laborers, 44 percent of grounds maintenance workers, and 43 percent of maids and house cleaners

impure / completely impure

You want me snowy You want me white You want me alba

thinks that are shit

the purity of the 90 year old hymen

fiancées that masturbate each other instead of getting laid

boarding schools where pederast animals open up their provisional semen flowers

the clergy

the academics

the grammar Nazis

the purity

If you believe race does not matter in America, you are wearing a powerful and dangerous blindfold only education can remove

of those who insist on being pure

of those who claim they’ve never had blennorrhea

of those who never licked a glans

of those who never sucked on a clitoris

You who drank all The glasses by hand With fruit and honey Purple lips

the purity

You who at the banquet Covered in grape leaves Let the flesh Celebrate Bacchus

of those who never got to be

impure enough

to know what purity is

You want me snowy You want me white You want me alba

These figures suggest that at least two separate, simultaneous things are happening. It’s likely that network effects within racial and ethnic communities have contributed to certain professions having far-above-average concentrations of certain groups. The stratification of work probably suggests that there are underlying education (and family) differences.

impure enough

to know what purity is.


Marco Antonio Huerta featuring Alfonsina Storni & Nicolás Guillén

Marco Antonio Huerta is a Mexican translator and post-conceptual poet. Won the Carmen Alardín Poetry Award in 2005. Is the author of the poetry collections: La semana milagrosa (Conarte, 2006), Golden Boy (Letras de Pasto Verde, 2009), Hay un jardín (Tierra Adentro, 2009). During the summer of 2009 he decided to kill his own lyrical self. Magnitud/e (Gusanos de la nada, 2012) is a poem-in-progress written together with Sara Uribe and translated into English by John Pluecker. His work has been published in several periodicals and anthologies in Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, and the United States. He has performed on experimental writing gatherings such as Not Content, curated by Vanessa Place and Teresa Carmody (Los Angeles, 2010), the &Now Festivals (San Diego, 2011; Paris, 2012), and Los límites del lenguaje (Monterrey, 2012). His interest is now focused in language as a community builder, especially in virtual contexts.