Ghazal for a Tall Boy From New Hampshire
For Jim Foley, journalist beheaded on video by ISIS, August 19, 2014
The reporters called and asked me: Did you know him?
I was his teacher, I said many times that day. Yes, I knew him.
Once he was a teacher too, teaching in another mill town
where the mills have disappeared. There, they knew him.
He taught the refugees from an island where the landlords
left them nothing but their hands. In Spanish, they knew him.
They sounded out the English, made the crippled letters
walk across the page for him, all because they knew him.
He ate their rice and beans, held their infants, posed with them
for snapshots at the graduation. Ask them how they knew him.
Beliza, Mónica, Limary: with him they wrote a poem of waterfalls
and frogs that sing at night, so he could know them as they knew him.
We know his words turn to rain in the rain forest of the poem.
We cannot say what words are his, even though we knew him.
His face on the front page sold the newspapers in the checkout line.
His executioners and his president spoke of him as if they knew him.
The reporter with the camera asked me if I saw the video his killers
wanted us to see. I muttered through a cage of teeth: No. I knew him.
Once he was a tall boy from New Hampshire, standing in my doorway.
He spoke Spanish. He wanted to teach. I knew him. I never knew him.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Welcome to the third installment of a collaboration between Gus Harper and the literary journal, Hinchas de Poesia. Hinchas is an electronic journal that specializes in poetry from las Américas; I am able to publish Hinchas by reserving a tiny portion of the generous salary I make as a public librarian in South Central Los Angeles.
Gus Harper continues to be a generous partner and a busy painter. His paintings grace the background of the Death Row office in the new N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton; and, one of Gus’ paintings hangs in the background of Al Bundy and Sofia Vergara’s house in the popular television show, Modern Family. These are potent visual victories, and we salute his verve and hustle. The next time you are in Santa Monica, please check out his new mural
Before we start, I think that I should let you know that this night almost didn’t happen. About a month ago, I almost called Gus and asked him if we should even have an event on the 22nd. What I originally wanted was to mark one year since the death of my friend James Foley, and have a reading more tribute than anything, but what ended up transpiring was a reading in which Rebecca Gonzalez, Thelma T. Reyna, Trista Hurley-Waxali, and Peter J. Harris brought very different things to the reading.
The next time, we need to work on sound and light. Some of the lights were out at Gus' so while it created a "romantic" ambiance it might not be what we should have been pursuing. Also, it was a humid night, so maybe I can roll my little portable A/C unit over during the next reading because it got a little hot. But, there was ample space and the small group shared an intimate, unforgettable performance.
(Thelma T. Reyna)
(Thelma T. Reyna)
(Peter J. Harris)
(Peter J. Harris)
(Peter J, Harris)
(Yago S. Cura)
(Rebecca Gonzalez, Peter J. Harris, Trista Waxali, Thelma T. Reyna, Frank Escamilla, and Yago S. Cura)