Two poems.
Some guy in red-and-white hooded jacket,
beard in bedraggled dress,
stood on a corner of Chicago's Magnificent Mile
during peak Christmas shopping days
as wet snow drifted about his ears
and the red in his cheeks froze on his face:
In his hands was a sign that read:
Will sell books for food.
And every once in a while he'd look at the sign
as if something were missing,
wondering why nobody
was taking him up on the Offer.
Questions for Which You Are Always the Answer
For Maria Tinidad, "La Trini"
Whose Jalisco harangues the Jalisco in my stroll;
who lays across the ruins of Teotihuacan like
whose face outlines the bathroom walls of
who is the aguardiente that tongues my callused
What sleep becomes the dexterous hand of
what skin is the lodestone of desire;
what song is fusion between a woman's walk
what drunkenness befalls while falling into
those native eyes;
what stitching collects the shreds of midnight
Who says what only solace can say,
what only mariachi's horns and good mescal can
What bones lift this face to a face of lovely bones;
what moist fingers straighten the collars of
what evening wind arouses the color in blood,
pretending the wet in water;
what voice is chocolate icing?
How deep are the potholes of lust;
how necessary is the milk of that touch;
how perpetual is the distance of thighs;
how vaginal is the soul's vortex?
Trini, you know what I can't know:
what tempest gathers in my lungs.
These poems are from LUIS RODRIGUEZ'S most recent poetry collection, Trochemoche, published by Curbstone Press in 1998. Rodriguez is a recipient of an Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, a Lila Wallace--Reader's Digest Writers Award, a Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, and a Public Service Award from the National Association of Poetry Therapy. He is also founder/director of Tia Chucha Press, the publishing wing of Chicago's Guild Complex.