Thursday, November 20, 2014

Victor Hernández Cruz

Victor Hernández Cruz [Butler MFA]

from Victor Hernández Cruz's Maraca: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000:

Mesa Blanca

If I were writing on rock,
It would be the wind of the year
That caressing me will make
Me aware of the shadows on
A distant stone —
That signifies an eclipse
On some unseen distant roof,
From where in the form of
A kite a diamond leaves for heaven.

It would be that sound that I would
Make into a face,
Present it at the banquet of those
Who came lost on the boats
Punctuate on key
A coco-net of cybernetic eyes
Transmitting from the beach.

The sea a rush or mists,
Christ carrying the cross of Castile
Soldiers laundering heads of crushed guava
Have popped out of there
Salty like bacalao which here has been
Fricasseed with calabaza,
So we have to church the word
Half and Half —
So that textbooks claiming total
Taino vanishment
Should four pages later erase
The word Mestizo,
With the same mouth they say we are,
Was Webster wasting his time:
"mes-tiz-o [Sp. fr. mestizo, mixed, fr. L.L. mixticius]
a person of mixed blood; specif: a person of mixed
European and American Indian ancestry."

The sensational things coming together,
Of the Arawak-Taino
The only thing that remains is
What is not gone:
The looks,
The gestures,
The thoughts,
The dreams,
The intuitions,
The memories,
The names of fruits,
The names of towns,
Certain fish,
The gourd making music
In the mountain,
The maraca making feet
Areyto dance,
And this cigar between my fingers.
More than half is the ground itself
The rock in my hands was in Arecibo's palm.
This is not to disagree with the
Anthropologists of text
But merely to reaffirm what they mean
When they don't say.

This paper which was a tree
is crying for its leaves
That's the route of your mind
To dance its branches,
For that canopy red flower
Of the Antilles,
So high up in air spirit,
Flowing right through that bark,
A water shaft,
A city of bamboos
Liquefied fructus,
Humid swamp for that
Night frog.
To sing without rest
Till the roosters brush their
Beaks with the first
Arriving morning light.

The joyful noise of the night
What might be coming from lips,
Or the rubbing of legs
The full harmonic tropical berserk
Begging for love
In abundance
Not one thousand
But one thousand and one
Lights of cucubanos,
Morse-coding lovers,
That come down,
meow not now
Of the cats —

For that's the flavor,
Within the opening of the
Two mountains,
A glance following the
That goes to fish its memories,
Scratched one next to the other
Like the grooves of shells,

To think that no one believes
We are here.
The past in the smoke of the cigar,
Bringing the future in-formation.

. . .

The caciques were descendants of hydrogen
The sun hung upon their chest
Candles near the Indian Head
Simaron rockets
They passed singing through
Mavi trees and rock —
They migrate with the blood
And filter through the bricks
Going toward feathers —
In the frozen ice a gold head
Ring upon a finger calls
And the water boils as if
For tea star anise —
When the prayer takes cadence
Someone's hands circle in the
Rising heat
Elevating from the intestines
A stream
Canoes in fierce paddle
Passing the throat
Broadcasting splinters of words
Like a prairie fire
En route to ignite the Crown.


A brush of airs full of words —
Ink on limestone marble —
The house itself is a poem,
Enter through the word: See
Shadows and rhythmic stone.
Sara churns 2,000 pieces of silk,
Passports for sailors,
Shepherd streams in the desert,
A caravana of gold tooth wagons,
Long skirts and sharp eyes.
A-string vibes in the air
The ear that heard the doors
of the Cathedral of Burgos open:
Arco de Santa Maria —
El Cid and his sword
Pointed on the parchment —
Riding the sweet eyes of a little girl
Into the stare of macabre machos
Thirsty for blood.
Peace and rage
The picture brings memory to its knees.
The stroll of a scroll pulled
From the pocket of a Cataluña Street.
In the presence of the past — 
Coming back to wonder
How a fresh of air
Can come and bow amongst us —
In the humid Antillean
From dream to terror:
From Bohíos to apartments
From cathedral to mosque
Words ironed into stone.

The Castilians were coming
Out of the mouth of a volcano
Falling as ash unto red dirt.
Orocovis navel earthenware —
Artisans of finger palms
Had designs for each fruit taste
It is that subtle of a music
What silence for cadence split
Coffee people to enter you
Tobacco people to enter you
Sugar cane to enter you.
Corozo palms supply the material
For the black asabache
The space between stars
To enroll your finger
Vegetable craft
Working bones
Placing mother-of-pearl
Like light into the seeds
Three years before Columbus
The future spoke
The mouth of Volcanos:

. . .

What is the melody in the mountains,
Tubers imagining deep in dirt,
Used to be chanted rosaries
A cadence emerging out of wood,
Down ravine circling region
Eating the wide silence —
In trance with the rosary beads
A medieval gloss,
They lived in Maria's womb.

The coast what it got —
Rhythm and waves —
Palms clapping awake the perfume
Humid women in plaza dance
Tongues out of mouth
At the men who jump in the shadows
Panama hats transmitting
Toward the radar 
Of the waits.

Cucarachas in the chicken dance
The roosters bebop.

Heat that is sweat is the ink
A calor in Spanish that
The Church starts to run
Down Avenida Piel de Canela.

Hot waters rising through the
Songs of minerals
As mountain and coast
Morel Campos danza —
Antique contraband bones,
Flesh of bamboo walking
Senegal the Force Feet
of mountain trovador
Rhythm golden bird
Inventing itself on the

A disjoint of bone
Like yoga
The Rig Veda becomes
Foot and step —
From Guayama the priest
Ferment of herbs
Frog breath
Lizard Tail
Opticals of owls
And all the fires there are.

What choice do you have:
Might as well jump toward
land like seed
Tongue in moisture
With green mountain light
And coastal curves —
To lick the invisible

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