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POETRY
Drunken Child
Roy Guzmán
Writer of the Month

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                                 a loose cento-sestina

If everything I write is in some way an immigrant narrative
     why else would we be drinking beer?
                                                                     The sand in my hair, 
the sand in my shoes     near the satin-coco lining—     a dolphin washed ashore, 
your mouth     the memory of a rooster on top a hanging silence…

     When the rooster jumps up on the windowsill     what pleasure
for an immigrant!     The dolphin, the only other animal, I’m told,
     has the smell of grapevines and beer.     Boys / too large to be clambering
coconut trees—     
                         the powdery sand was their bones.

Things we saw in the / sand at that moment of sinking—
     where the spike hat rooster bristles his tiny ears—:

                                                                            Floating down a river coconut
the sore thumbs / of my parents’ immigrant luggage.
     You give me afternoon-colored beer
                                                in which sad light a carvéd dolphin swam.

                         To paint a dolphin in a forest

                         and ribcage bleach in the sand

he used to flatten beer cans on the top of my head,
                                                   giving away a rooster with this feeling.

    All love is immigrant.
                                                                        Love is also like a coconut.

Husk coconut—
                          beautiful beyond dolphin dreaming.
     Pay no mind to immigrant syntax.

I am sand—
his dreadful rooster come to mean forgiveness.

                                                                           Cállate, cerveza.

Watch him fall backward legs flailing beer stench across his chest.
     The difference between a harmless nut?     A rooster
// crows all day from mist.     My Dolphin, you only
guide me by surprise.     The pismire is equally perfect, 
and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren    
     bewildered // immigrant.

If the cyborg you read about in bookstores
is an immigrant     curl around wet sand.     

                          A dolphin’s smile is the greatest          deception.

 

***

Lines taken from:

1.    Chen Chen’s “Poem in Noisy Mouthfuls.”
2.    Naomi Shihab Nye’s “My Uncle’s Favorite Coffee Shop.”
3.    Ed Bok Lee’s “Night Work.”
4.    Wang Ping’s “Immigrant Can’t Write Poetry.”
5.    Ari Banias’s “Villagers.”
6.    Ailbhe Darcy’s “Ansel Adams’ Aspens.”
7.    Bhanu Kapil’s “Handwritten Preface to Reverse the Book.”
8.    Arthur Rimbaud’s “Novel.”
9.    Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas.
10.  Mark Halliday’s “Bad People.”
11.  Philip Levine’s “Blasting from Heaven.”
12.  Rebecca Lindenberg’s “Catalogue of Ephemera.”
13.  Jacob Saenz’s “I Remember Lotería.”
14.  Derek Walcott’s “The Schooner Flight.”
15.  Daniel Borzutzky’s “Dream Song #16.”
16.  Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”
17.  Sheryl Luna’s “Woman as a River Between Borders.”
18.  Arthur Sze’s “Chrysalis.”
19.  Carl Marcum’s “Dreaming Pancho Villa.”
20.  Natasha Trethewey’s “History Lesson.”
21.  Craig Santos Perez’s “ginentidelands [latte stone park] [hagåtña, guåhan].”
22.  C. Dale Young’s “Devon House.”
23.  Vi Khi Nao’s “Tarragon, Are You a Wild Boar?”
24.  Bertolt Brecht’s play Baal.
25.  Dana Ward’s “This Can’t Be Life.”
26.  Michael Hofmann’s “Portrait d’une Femme.”
27.  Francisco Aragón’s “Asleep You Become a Continent.”
28.  Joy Harjo’s “Becoming Seventy.”
29.  Sandy Florian’s “Our Big City.”
30.  Marianne Boruch’s “The Mermaids.”
31.  T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.
32.  Robert Lowell’s “Dolphin.”
33.  Ric O’Barry’s documentary The Cove.
34.  Elizabeth Bishop’s “Roosters.”
35.  Rosmarie Waldrop’s “Conversation 9: On Varieties of Oblivion.”
36.  Ai’s “Cuba, 1962.”
37.  Gertrude Stein’s “Idem the Same: A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson.”
38.  Juan Felipe Herrera’s “Iowa Blues Bar Spiritual.”
39.  Jorie Graham’s “San Sepolcro.” 


Roy G. Guzmán was born in Honduras and raised in Miami, Florida. They are currently pursuing a PhD in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, where they also received an MFA in creative writing. Roy is a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow. Their debut collection will be published by Graywolf Press in 2020. Website: roygguzman.com. Twitter: @dreamingauze.