jueves, 4 de agosto de 2016


Joseph O. Legaspi 

Nació en las Filipinas, donde vivió antes de emigrar a Los Ángeles con su familia a los doce años. Recibió una licenciatura de la Universidad de Loyola Marymount y un MFA de Programa de Escritura Creativa de la Universidad de Nueva York. Legaspi es el autor de Imago (CavanKerry Press, 2007), ganador de un premio Global literaria filipina. Es beneficiario de una beca de poesía 2001 de la Fundación de Nueva York para las Artes, y en 2004 fue cofundador de Kundiman, una organización no lucrativa que sirve al conocimiento de la poesía americana asiática. Trabaja en la Universidad de Columbia y vive en la ciudad de Nueva York.


Los anfibios viven en ambas.

Los migrantes dejan su tierra,
endurecen en el mar.

Fuera del agua.

En griego, anfibio significa
“en ambos lados de la vida”.

Terra et Aqua. Costa.
En agua fresca:

los anfibios dejan
huevos sin hueso;
los migrantes dan luz
a americanos.

Renacuajos y ranillas
se transforman: branquias
a edad temprana. En tierra,

a los anfibios les crecen pulmones.
A los migrantes les crecen pulmones.

Con la piel húmeda,
los anfibios se oxigenan.

Los migrantes se desgastan
y duermen sin aliento.

Piel que da glándula.
Ojo que da párpado.

Los anfibios buscan tierra; los migrantes otras tierras.

Sus colores brillan, camuflaje.

Se sabe que caen
del cielo.

Bajo la lluvia se sienten en casa.

Versión: Esteban López Arciga 

The Red Sweater

slides down into my body, soft
lambs wool, what everybody
in school is wearing, and for me
to have it my mother worked twenty
hours at the fast-food joint.
The sweater fits like a lover,
sleeves snug, thin on the waist.
As I run my fingers through the knit,
I see my mother over the hot oil in the fryers
dipping a strainer full of stringed potatoes.
In a twenty hour period my mother waits
on hundreds of customers: she pushes
each order under ninety seconds, slaps
the refried beans she mashed during prep time,
the lull before rush hours, onto steamed tortillas,
the room’s pressing heat melting her make-up.
Every clean strand of weave becomes a question.
How many burritos can one make in a continuous day?
How many pounds of onions, lettuce and tomatoes
pass through the slicer? How do her wrists
sustain the scraping, lifting and flipping
of meat patties?           And twenty

hours are merely links
in the chain of days startlingly similar,
that begin in the blue morning with my mother
putting on her polyester uniform, which,
even when it’s newly-washed, smells
of mashed beans and cooked ground beef.

 Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

[ a subway ride ]

His artfully unkempt strawberry blonde head sports outsized headphones.  Like a contemporary bust.  Behold the innocence of the freckles, ripe pout of cherry lips.  As if the mere sight of the world hurts him, he squints greenly and applies saline drops.  You dream him crying over you.  For the duration of a subway ride you fall blindly in love.  Until he exits.  Or you exit, returning home to the one you truly love to ravish him.

From Subways (Thrush Press, 2013). Used with permission of the author.

Whom You Love

             “Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Creole Proverb

The man whose throat blossoms with spicy chocolates
Tempers my ways of flurrying
Is my inner recesses surfacing
Paints the bedroom blue because he wants to carry me to the skies
Pear eater in the orchard
Possesses Whitmanesque urge & urgency
Boo Bear, the room turns orchestral 
Crooked grin of ice cream persuasion
When I speak he bursts into seeds & religion
Poetry housed in a harmonica
Line dances with his awkward flair
Rare steaks, onion rings, Maker’s on the rocks
Once-a-boy pilfering grenadine
Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska
Wicked at the door of happiness
At a longed-for distance remains sharply crystalline
Fragments, but by day’s end assembled into joint narrative
Does not make me who I am, entirely
Heart like a fig, sliced
Peonies in a clear round vase, singing
A wisp, a gasp, sonorous stutter
Tuning fork deep in my belly, which is also a bell
Evening where there is no church but fire
Sparks, particles, chrysalis into memory
Moth, pod of enormous pleasure, fluttering about on a train
He knows I don’t need saving & rescues me anyhow
Our often-misunderstood kind of love is dangerous
Darling, fill my cup; the bird has come to roost

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 11, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.


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