Sunday, March 30, 2014

Climb the Wind

—Rosario Ferré

                                   I hear you've let go
                                   now listen
when you walk down the street
everyone points a finger at your craning head
as if they wanted to floor you
and squeeze the trigger and bop!
your forehead crunches like a beer can

don't say hello to anyone
don't comb your hair or shine your shoes
cross the street on your own arm
shake your own hand, stiffen your neck
and watch out
                         there goes the looney, they say
you wobble by, your head dusty
like a wooden saint sticking up in a parade
its feet nailed to worm-eaten boards,
gazing far off
don't let your flesh blossom
let yourself be chewed up
                         I hear you've finally let go
                         listen carefully
rope yourself to a mast
tie yourself to the Polestar
don't take down the old planks
don't pry the oars out of their locks
nail your best eye to the star
keep the faith
don't wink too often
sleep quietly on your fists
don't worry about remembering
shut your glass-cutting teeth
cage your tongue
don't swallow anything
                                   I hear you've let go, friend
                                   the time has come
                                   now cut the cord
                                   climb the wind
                                   toughen your heart

(trans. from the Spanish by Willis Barnstone)


—Medusa, with birthday greetings to Sacramento's Annie Menebroker!

Joyce Odam and Annie Menebroker
—Photo by Sandy Thomas, Sacramento