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The Poetry of America

June 30, 2008

Of the sixty-two
viceroys who served in New Spain, three of them
had private Indian mistresses and fourteen of them had mulatto
They flayed skin and drank oyster juice.

They burnt corn tribute to Huitzilopochtli
in the name of Yahweh. I raise my arms to them.

Salut, I say. Salut. In the center of the table.
I can see their nakedness; this harpoon, I carry, in their accent.
This invention of being.

I must dive deep to find my father now.
In this office there is little to save except the disintegration
that plagues all species. I have learned to play the piano
and the clarinet. This is my new awareness.

I wear a bluish wig. I have learned to kneel
on water, outside where the old woman loosen their clothes.
Ocelotl swishes his knife blade. He shows us his teeth.
The Central Valley coughs and fumbles for words.

How to describe this illusion:
in New York, the Metros have rusted on their tracks.
Another homicide tells of this. Chiapas lives on bagels and tequila.
They know the history. They know where to find the President’s
They read Artaud in Braille and rub their genitalia.

A sandwich, a Cézanne to mix things up a bit. Bologna or
ham on rye, garlic butter. More. Duck sauce and rasberry sausages.
Lobster, ostrón and calabaza. We must eat.
We must crash through our faces
and discover the new opening.

Eat the gold,
chew the strings, digest until we are ribbons,
reddish and jade green. Chinese and Vietnamese.
Cambodian and Hmong villages in tuxedos. Manila
and Northern Luzon where the Ilongot seek the words
for the new revolution.

Juan Felipe Herrera

“Juan Felipe Herrera was initiated into the Word by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movimiento and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz, and blues performance streams. He is the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California – Riverside. His published works include Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream, Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas, and Thunderweavers / Tejedoras de Rayos.” ~~City Lights Booksellers and Publishers

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