The Shifting Winds of Poetry

¡Hola! Everybody,
I’m getting ready to step outside, got a lot to do today so that things fall into place by next week. Everything seems to be coming together (finally!). I am also looking forward to meeting my friend Frankie tomorrow, who’s on her way to the Center of the Universe as I type.

Most people here know my love for art and poetry in particular. I recently purchased a sweet surprise of a book, an anthology titled The wind shifts: New Latino poetry. It’s chock full of new vibrant voices. Art saved my life – literally. I’ve included two here today. Enjoy and have a great day.

* * *

Within Me
— Naomi Ayala

War begins right here on my street.
It begins with me.
I see her weapons in the eyes of a child,
her face on windowpanes.
There are times I want war.
I lie down with her.
I stroke her back.
There are times she enters my house
and I enter into battle with her.
War slips in, into my name.
I have her in my blood.
She sweetens my morning coffee on Saturdays.
I betray her. I hide from her. I run away
but already war knows the course of my dreams
and wants to steal the children of my soul.
War begins with me.
It is with me that war begins
right here on my street
in the small showers of bullets
in an empty garbage can
in what I say and do not say
in the bewitching ivy of tedium
in the soap I use to bathe.
She is in my fingers
in the shadow of my eyes
in my lover’s hair.
I sing to her so that she may leave
so that war leaves me.
Today I sing to her
and she lets me sing.

* * *

— Lidia Torres
New York City, August 13, 2003

All this
is not unusual in DR or Iraq.
The city’s extension cord shorts.
Afternoon, offices evacuate.
The focus is on feet,
some people walking through the boroughs
for the first time. We stare at our feet,
elbow to elbow eyeing packed buses.
Some hitch rides on the back
of trucks. An orderly mob of feet,
legs pushing past fearless
grocery stores. Lincoln
center, Harlem, finally
in Washington Heights the street
party has begun. Batteries boost
the curbside music, click of candlelit
dominoes, night meeting a stream
of car lights, congestion
of bodies. Everyone is polite and briefly
romantic in the dark. On my block,
there’s a woman selling hot pastels
on paper plates, with ketchup
if you want.


Aragón, F. (Ed.). (2007). The wind shifts: New Latino poetry. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press.


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