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Tag: Ricardo Alberto Maldonado

Self-Criticism as an Act of Love / Autogestión Como Acto de Amor

The loveseat, my familiar, had me half-numb.

I made the sign at the rim of the clearing

outside on the fire escape,

where I would toss Marlboros out

in the dream of discipline. Milk in a bottle heating

in the sun.

I prayed, likely infected

by the warm climate

in the walk-up and the home inside it

where I read a book I would. And the pines keeping roots

nocturnal.

I would rise with my spectacles, light-headed and presexual.

My pallid face made me think of the fabric

on my chest,

pronouncing my fear

beyond words, mad to be in my flesh for one last

minute—

one thing I made by being there, waiting to find my home

by the curve

in the highway and the bridge,

day and night in Manhattan, the borough in the wind.

Sobre el sofá, con mi espíritu, me encontraba medio adormecido.

Crucé mis dedos al persignarme cerca del borde claro

de la escalera de incendios

para desechar los Marlboros

en un sueño de disciplina. La leche en su botella calentaba

bajo sol.

Oré, probablemente afectado

por el clima cálido

en el apartamento sin ascensor en su interior

donde leía lo que podría haber leído. Los pinos guardando de sus raíces

en un nocturno.

Me habría levantado con mis anteojos, ligero en mente y presexual.

Mi cara pálida pensando sobre la tela

de mi pecho,

pronunciaba algo sobre mi miedo

más allá de las palabras, enojado con mi propia carne, propia piel, en un último

minuto—

algo adicional figuré estando allí, esperando hacer de mi hogar

por la curva

frente al expreso y su puente,

día y noche en Manhattan, la ciudad en el viento.

from The Life AssignmentFind more by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado at the library

Copyright © 2020 Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Poorly Given / Miserias

We drink milk with minor courage

born of poverty—

we’d learned much from books: every day would carry

epistemological

imperatives

with moccasins to our feet.

Survival would depend on fidelity to internal

revenue, on observance

of parsimony. We would try

to make our way—

orange rinds decayed at the table;

the bread began to grow stale.

We awaken to visions, risk surrender

to exact change.

We consume yet live in abundance,

dream of metamorphoses

and self-government

before the white of eggs.

Lying in bed, we would parse circular deals

for indicators of the market’s villainy.

Timidly we paced

over foundations and used interpretation

for the octopus tin.

In winter, socks were thicker.

Water at arm’s length—we washed underarms,

washed feet with the fury

of lapsed prudery. A right hand probed

the left with uncoordinated

feel for its surface.

In the bath, we would pilfer the toothpaste.

We began to be simple again

yet ceased to be surprised by anything

we would produce.

We yielded to the tide

of urine in the morning, suppressed

lymph—the concentrate

would trickle down to residue.

On the mat, we would bend

to new posture

in the effort of thinking, to have more

to tell of, surely, more

of love, more to understand,

to present something

hopeful, instead, something emblematic

of improved life.

Bebíamos leche con coraje escaso

nacido de nuestra pobreza—

aprendimos de los libros: cada día sugería

su obligación

epistemológica

con mocasines en nuestros pies.

Nuestra supervivencia dependía de fidelidad al ingreso

interno, en la práctica

de mezquindad. Vamos haciendo de

nuestro propio camino—

una cáscara de naranja pudriéndose en la mesa;

el pan se ha endurecido.

Despertamos por visiones, arriesgamos nuestra rendición

al cambio exacto.

Consumimos, pero vivimos en abundancia,

soñando con metamorfosis

y autocontrol

ante claras de huevo.

Acostados en la cama, buscamos en los especiales del día

un indicador de villanía en el mercado.

Tímidamente, medimos nuestros pasos

sobre fundaciones e interpretamos

la latita de pulpo.

En invierno, nuestros calcetines son gruesos.

Agua sobre el brazo, agua en nuestras axilas, agua

sobre nuestros pies en su furia

de piedad recaída. Una mano derecha sondeando

la izquierda, sintiendo su superficie

de manera descoordinada.

En el baño, despreciamos la crema de dientes.

Empezamos a vivir simplemente otra vez

sin sorprendernos por nada

que habríamos producido.

Rendidos a la corriente

de orina en la mañana: linfa

suprimida—el concentrado

escurre su último residuo.

Nos doblamos sobre el colchón, con postura mejorada

en el esfuerzo de pensar, de tener más.

Podremos contar, seguramente, más

de nuestro amor, más para entender,

para presentar algo

esperanzador, algo emblemático, en cambio,

de una vida mejorada.

from The Life AssignmentFind more by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado at the library

Copyright © 2020 Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

I Give You My Heart / Os Doy Mi Corazón

I find myself on my feet with fifteen leaves.

Everything carries its own light on the walls.

I woke up to slaughter, my heart opening

to cemeteries of moon—

the parasites, the drizzle. The mud crowning

the undergrowth with immense sadness.

I knew death when I dressed

in my uniform.

I found the index of solitude: my country

in its legal jargon, its piety, its fiction—

Yes. It loves me, really.

I give my blood as the blood of all fish.

Me encuentro de pie con quince hojas.

Brilla todo en los muros.

Desperté en su sacrificio: mi corazón se abría

entre cementerios de luna—

los parásitos, la llovizna. El lodo coronando

la maleza con mustios grandes.

Supe de mi muerte al vestir

de uniforme.

Encontré el índice de soledad: mi país

en su jerga legal, su piedad, su ficción—

Sí. Me quiere, de verdad.

Doy mi sangre como la sangre de todos los peces.

from The Life AssignmentFind more by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado at the library

Copyright © 2020 Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Exit, with the Body

And out of remorse, I would pay

my debt with medicine—

I’m a Latinist, empirically, with my butane

flame. I would

1. Keep out of all cities

2. Raid the costume shop marvelously for Clarence’s head

3. Speak seditiously in society

—yet I would pull verdicts and revelation from Life.

And on the Internet

I browse for an answer to the coarseness

of the age, the erotics of the West I now give as émigré.

When in doubt, I go to the dictionary.

I put the utensils in the sink.

The fish dressed in newspaper burn in my reply—

two quietly listening minds hush, feeling, constantly, nostalgia

for the world.

from The Life AssignmentFind more by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado at the library

Copyright © 2020 Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Layaway

First, we would give in to disloyalty

with slack exchanges.

We were figuring what it might be like to live

knowing, intimately, conflicts with size.

Look, my life is not what I would like it to be.

This year, mornings imply an act of bravery.

Look, the window displays are changing.

We could prove what we have yet to dispraise.

All the males have mated and move on

in the city’s red gloss.

from The Life AssignmentFind more by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado at the library

Copyright © 2020 Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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