This week we’re featuring work by two poets in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. To begin, a poem by Charlie Vázquez, appearing here in both English and Spanish.

BRONX DHARMA

From the air I saw not one mountain
But the Manhatta Range at dusk
In mandarin crimson and pink silk
A monsoon crawling toward the eyes

Escape artist animal writhing in
The street in the pelt of the great beast
And I like a small and alien louse
Watching it all from a safe distance

Wild animals are waiting nearby
Threatening in cages of iron
Cement for earth rocks their hills
Rivers of urine mountains of shit

It is true I danced with tigers in burning temples
Blessed with luck and dreams
Surrounded by smoke that dense nebula
Flor de jojoba on mother’s altar

At the edge of the wood pulsed a minaret
Red knowledge bitter knowledge
Son of a great whore! Son of a motherfucker!
Screamed the troubled neighbors

Then fell to the small river a leaf signaling
The onset of the death of the world
The autumn tender leaf your destination
The infinite sea a universe of water

Ghosts dance in that watery rhythm
Savage and brutal and animal thieves
Conspiring killing for gold for jewels
Drunkards dreaming of smiling children

And the screams of animals continued
Without shame without fear not knowing that
The rhythm of nature exists here too
Flor de jojoba on mother’s altar

BRONX DHARMA

Del aire no vi sola una montaña
Pero la Cordillera Manhatta en anochecer
En ceda mandarina carmesí rosa
Un monzón arrastrando hacia los ojos

Animal escapista retorciéndose en
La calle, en el piel de la gran béstia
Y yo un piojo diminuto y ajeno
Mirándolo desde una distancia segura

Animales salvajes esperando cerquita
Amenazadores en jaulas de hierro
Cemento por tierra piedras sus colinas
Arroyitos de orina montañas de mierda

Verdad es que bailé con tigres en templos
Encendido bendecido con suerte y sueños
Rodeado de humo en esa niebla densa
Flor de jojoba en el altar de mamá

Al borde del bosque pulsaba un minarete
Sabiduría roja sabiduría amarga
¡Hijo de gran puta! ¡Hijo de cabrón!
Gritaron los vecinos atribulados

Calló al arroyito una hoja señalizando
El comienzo de la muerte del mundo
El otoño hojita tierna su destinación
El mar infinito universo de agua

Fantasmas bailen en ese ritmo aguado
Salvaje y bruto y animal ladrones
Conspirando matando por oro por joyas
Borrachos soñando de niños sonriendo

Y los gritos de animales continúaban
Sin vergüenza sin miedo ni sabiendo que
El ritmo de la natura existe aquí también
Flor de jojoba en el altar de mama

——

CHARLIE  VÁZQUEZ is a radical Bronx-bred writer of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. His fiction and essays have been published in various anthologies and publications; he also hosts a monthly reading series called PANIC!, which focuses on unusual and original queer fiction and poetry. His second novel Contraband, was published by Rebel Satori Press in spring 2010, and his third, Corazón, is wrapping up for future publication. http://www.firekingpress.com/.



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  • Lou Kief

One Response to “Charlie Vázquez, “Bronx Dharma””

  1. Bryan Borland 28 September 2010 at 4:50 PM #

    Reading Charlie is always a pleasure, especially when he dances with tigers.