Excerpts for Panoramas


maraca

NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1966-2000
By VICTOR HERNÁNDEZ CRUZ

COFFEE HOUSE PRESS

Copyright © 2001 Victor Hernández Cruz
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-56689-066-7

Contents

1966...............................................................................4
Glow Flesh.........................................................................6
A Poem for Downtown................................................................7
The Mystery........................................................................9
Beyond Coney Islands
from Papo Got His Gun..............................................................11
The Land...........................................................................12
11:30 in the Park..................................................................13
Carmen
1967-1968..........................................................................15
The Music Is Like Search...........................................................16
Piano-Piano Piano..................................................................18
Final Poem.........................................................................19
Out in the World...................................................................21
The Story of the Zeros.............................................................22
boricuas & blacks
from Snaps (1969)..................................................................25
White Powder 1.....................................................................26
Today is a Day of Great Joy........................................................27
Snag...............................................................................28
Going Uptown to Visit Miriam.......................................................30
Cities.............................................................................33
latin & soul.......................................................................35
Born to Be Burned..................................................................37
Megalopolis........................................................................38
The Eve Uptown & Downtown..........................................................42
/ MOVING /.........................................................................46
RITMO 1
from Mainland (1973)...............................................................48
#3 Business........................................................................49
Thursday...........................................................................51
Los New Yorks......................................................................53
Discovery..........................................................................55
Berkeley / Over....................................................................57
Part Four..........................................................................58
California # 2.....................................................................59
The Sounds of Colors...............................................................61
Interstate 80......................................................................64
Nebraska...........................................................................65
african things.....................................................................66
Loíza Aldea........................................................................68
The Man Who Came to the Last Floor
from Tropicalization (1976)........................................................75
from New York Potpourri............................................................78
The Latest Latin Dance Craze.......................................................79
Entro..............................................................................81
Three Songs from the 50s
1978-1990..........................................................................84
Untitled...........................................................................86
[It is the year 1125]..............................................................87
Dreams and Forms...................................................................90
[Do you need balcony fish].........................................................92
Ná.................................................................................95
Caribbean Glances..................................................................96
Is It Certain or Is It Not Certain Caso Maravilla..................................100
Matterative........................................................................103
The Perfect Rose...................................................................105
The Sound of Love..................................................................106
Financial Report...................................................................107
The Cruelty of Love................................................................108
Lunequisticos......................................................................110
Visibility 0
from By Lingual Wholes (1982)......................................................112
Anonymous..........................................................................113
Art-This...........................................................................115
Geography of the Trinity Corona....................................................119
Ironing Goatskin...................................................................120
Two Guitars........................................................................121
Mountain Building..................................................................123
The Physics of Ochun...............................................................128
Here Is an Ear Hear................................................................129
Groenburgewal Straat...............................................................131
Borinkins in Hawaii
from Red Beans (1991)..............................................................137
Red Means..........................................................................138
Snaps of Immigration...............................................................140
New/Aguas Buenas/Jersey............................................................144
Scarlet Skirt......................................................................148
Problems with Hurricanes...........................................................149
An Essay on William Carlos Williams................................................150
Areyto
1993...............................................................................155
El Poema de lo Reverso.............................................................156
Iliacion...........................................................................159
Ajonjolí...........................................................................160
Dimensions of a Linguist...........................................................161
Red Beans..........................................................................162
Suite
from Letters from the Island (1995-2000)...........................................166
[This is my lelolai]...............................................................168
[Rain].............................................................................169
[There was a pirate]...............................................................171
Kairi: Painting....................................................................173
from White Table...................................................................176
Root of Three
ESPAÑOL CARIBE (1996-1999).........................................................179
Federico Garcia Lorca..............................................................182
De Tres Raíces.....................................................................184
Bobadilla, España..................................................................189
Poema Chicano
from PANORAMAS (1997)..............................................................194
The Lower East Side of Manhattan...................................................200
It's Miller Time...................................................................204
Mesa Blanca........................................................................214
Panoramas..........................................................................233
Atmospheric Phenomenon: The Art of Hurricanes......................................239
Time Zones.........................................................................242
If You See Me in L.A. It's Because I'm Looking for the Airport
SEEDS (1996-2000)..................................................................247
Muhyi-din Ibn'Arabi................................................................250
Nabokov............................................................................252
Juan Gris: Poem with Still Life....................................................254
Cantinflas.........................................................................216
Jos Martí.........................................................................259
Jalalu'd Din Rumi..................................................................262
La Lupe............................................................................264
Machito............................................................................266
Benny More.........................................................................269
Frank Sinatra......................................................................271
Kobavashi Issa.....................................................................273
Mark Twain.........................................................................275
Miles Davis........................................................................277
Washington Irving..................................................................279
Clarabel the Clown.................................................................283
Federico García Lorca..............................................................286
Juan Rulfo.........................................................................288
Camarón de la Isla.................................................................290
Jack Kerouac.......................................................................292
Moroccan Children..................................................................299
Title Index


Chapter One

1966

Glow Flesh

you are falling sun shine miracle your lips are wet rain to our hearts floods in every opening

on the stoop your skirt rises fingers go up your legs

you are falling in the streets

the hallways of east harlem the dark hallways of east harlem the dark hallways with mattresses of east harlem you are falling roll with us the avenues you are falling the night queen of the earth you are falling on us with lips & thighs & big round breasts we hold in our hands & hear your bomb tick your blood get hot

come out crack your eggs on stupid american heads queen of the earth push us to the walls

fall on us kill us with your love & tongue

harlem queen fine mama sprinkle us with it

there are no bargains pure product you are falling

bloom bloom you got all sing

dark & you shine grown fat for love

in the dark you are like a volcano with a sea of heat explode you are falling explode

A Poem for Downtown

(Some thoughts on a bus ride)

trees coming at you now from the right side trees only miles of trees till now when we hit concrete white walls dead stone almost pressing against the window the sun on the glass making things look like paintings clean gutters look at the clean streets run bus go fast the man is holding hands because they are happy they are not uptown they are safe so they think

but on the side the stones are on the grass & leaves are floating on water everything is floating now maybe even this bus

The Mystery

the neon signs a line up & down the Ave. my feet have been walking all night into & out those ugly places/ "Look man, look man, no light." why have you been there in the dark so long sometimes alone look here i am on this corner those scenes in novels are real funny look how that lady walks look how i have stayed up all night with the wind talking to me/

there was buildings remember & they came to destroy them made them into dirt/

a young girl said to me what do you want to do with art-what have you done already-why are you doing this to it-why

look how i plan to wreck made art into what comes out of the streets.

look i remember those broken shapes those trees around the corner & cold hands on someone's throat as if in another country

where are you today in some basement or on some roof where even your touch is alive.

Beyond Coney Islands

(Note: for some youthful 1966 reason I wrote this poem in large caps ... so I present it here as I wrote it.)

NO SWEETER THAN THIS A BRICK PASSING I WONDER

I GOT TO LEAVE THIS PLACE IS ANOTHER IS BIGGER & BETTER IS BRIGHTER PASS WE ARE ONLY PASSING THRU THE WILDERNESS SO STRONG STRONG KING SIZE & STRONG TALL AS MOUNTAINS BIG INDIANS BIG INDIANS FROM THE ISLANDS HUSKY & BRAVE INDIANS

KING SNAPS KING SNAPS WONDERS THE HOUR OF DAY THE COLOR OF NIGHT UNCERTAIN BE FOR REAL ALL LET THE LIGHT GO LET THAT SWIM IN THE STREETS HOWEVER YOU WANT WHENEVER YOU FEEL & WHERE YOU WANT TO BEST SWING DRUMS & PIANO & TROMBONES LIFT PAST THE CLOUDS.

Chapter Two

from

papo got his gun

a mimeographed booklet published September 1966

The Land

for Albizu Campos

Our blue sea now filled with cheap scum-bags made in the USA the continuous forests now interrupted by Coca-Cola signs the land something to buy the yankee man touch everything touch the sand that saw Columbus and our grass stepped on by Hush Puppies the pueblo of my mother of pretty music of midnight songs now sold in stocks the yankee hand touching my land the touch of hate the touch of death Albizu locked in a cell spoke of new times to come I freeze in New York a native of a hot land.

11:30 in the Park

I stared for a long time at her eyes her big beautiful eves they were brown her skin was brown against the night she looked dark her lips were hard to find but I found them in the dark night her tongue was warm her belly against mine was round and the noise of the river came to our ears and we enjoyed it the noise from the street came and the noise from under the grass came and the noise of the clouds came from above and of the birds flying of the ants eating of the fish swimming and all the time me and her kissing in a while we left the noise we left the night we left.

Carmen

Why this girl has no fear of night Maybe she very wise seen everything has been there more than once has seen the remains of the night before has looked up at the moon from a crowded stoop has seen the sun come out early this girl is not afraid seen the crowded street seen the blood everything trembling she goes real smooth she's been there more than once.

Chapter Three

1967-1968

The Music Is Like Search

for the Joe Cuba Sextet

What new word that is soft like water can i use for you my love and that burns like gasoline to guide you into the night what strange habits you have the way you turn in a kiss give it fire torture it till it screams like a running whore the hands are explorers and the body the jungle what will you find next i know what it is i know how did you like Cookie soft warm and sweating what sound is that whose side sound like you lost something the beat is the thing even that sound will be my knife you got a blade Victor slice ass.

Piano-Piano-Piano

for Eddie Palmieri

for all night the grass at your fingers

walking with yellow thumbs & drinking water spread like a blanket on the floor

wonder what be looks but to if his fingers just touch the piano goes on fire fast fingers

let tin cans get together with animal skin & produce a note we rise like fire like magic in the street a mile of noise heavy heads listen note splitting molecules

piano-piano & let the door open he wants water got this thing red eyes in the almost dark room will turn killer

piano piano making america as a floating chunk of garbage soon to go over the horizon piano-piano.

Final Poem

1 The noise on the street brown arms and brown heads whisper wrinkled flesh little bones-almost white blood coming from where the head hit the gutter crying in the back

like some mother lost her child like some mother

Whispering- a shout-a scream an old lady's hand going through the air on fire like a shooting star the screams go out of control-someone falls an old lady's brown hands touch the ground.

2 & then where the light wants to shine someone gets in the way & says: it is these buildings getting high around you you see lovely moon shining from the roof puertorican trees getting bright Spanish-black town

getting dark the black & puertorican moon getting dark & then where the light wants to shine these things bother it

Out in the World

1 our heads leaned back to the lights moving above over the bridge to the bronx willis ave./179th street under the el

back with claudia tired & sleepy

to the el paterson projects 3rd ave. the bridge 125th street

out for carlos down lexington down third 112th street off jefferson park

louie home

back on lexington going uptown light up some golden joints to the bronx music palace.

2 let him kill that drum if he wants to go ahead break it in half make talk make talk.

3 people fell asleep heads against the table musicians untie themselves walk on the stage & walk off all band jam session people falling to the floor after 30 minutes.

4 squat by stage heads leaning touching the floor eyes opening.

5 the sweaty necks met the cold street move fast going back cold train our eyes close darkness & into the tunnel asleep

all the way past your stop.

The Story of the Zeros

zero zero zero the museum of modern art/is zero ugly cans & piles & piles that equal anglo zeros zero can O soup & O how wonderful the lady said about a geometric business machine zeroness is her/her empty zeros/the zero film the crowd made ape sounds & vomited their chairs/as they spoke later about how some zero would equal some other zero/also other's zeroness compared with another zero ness/it was zeros talking zeros/& about other zeros doing zero things/around zeros/things that came from computer & IBM/zero said to zero what about his latest film O it's really his best do you not think/O & she was such a good actress/hehehehahhhah rowa ro wa rawarearaaaaawaaaraaaratraooooo / the zeros walk from call to can from zero to zero to zero within zero/in the zero building of zeros & some zeros try to become 1/2 but they are the biggest zeros/within zero books/some zero said they going to write book on zero culture/ the amount of zeroness in the modern novel/or do development of zeroism in poetry/or zero play/& how zeros went to puerto rico & tried to add up/& how zeros went to são paulo & tried to do the samba/how they went to nairobi & tried to give some rice/& to/da hang searching for weird things to get into/but all them zeros did was to become bigger zeros & uselessness & de museum started raining dollars & all de zeros tried to get one.

Boricus & Blacks

ly from west to cast side uptown music thru the park thru the chants thru the windows thru the indian girl's legs we spoke spanish in the parks boricua night time time boricua boricua / boricua soul sisters & soul brothers boricuas & soul brothers together ly from west to east in dances not recorded / in harmony rice & beans chitterling greens & cuchifritos elements of rhythm drums / spirits / animal skin/elecua/shango obatala/espiritu indio- ly

from west to east ly ly ly ly ly ly ly ly & you'll see.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from maraca by VICTOR HERNÁNDEZ CRUZ Copyright © 2001 by Victor Hernández Cruz. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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