the louderARTS Project

Magdalena Gómez

Magdalena Gómez, a Bronx native, is an award winning poet, playwright, and performer. Ms. Gómez began her multidisciplinary arts career as a performance poet and cultural worker in 1971 and continues to perform and teach nationally. Encouraged in her youth by poets Sandra Maria Esteves, El Reverendo Pedro Pietri, José Angel Figueroa, Emilie Glenn, Barbara A. Holland, Richard Spiegel and Louis Reyes Rivera, she now mentors young poets despite a demanding travel schedule. Ms. Gómez has been a featured reader and keynote in venues such as Lincoln Center, St. John the Divine, Hunter College, Vanderbilt University, The Massachusetts State House, BAM Café, Latina Letters Conference, BAAD! Ass Women’s Festival, APSAC national conference, The Donnell Library, Smithsonian Institute, and countless schools K through University, cafes, bars, libraries, prisons, hospitals, monasteries, CBO’s, and conferences both nationally and internationally. Her recently produced play, Lobster Face (or the shame of amanda cockshutt) premiered at INTAR last December under the direction of Daniel Jaquez. Last May she released a poetry CD, Amaxonica: Howls from the Left Side of My Body.

"A fierce and compassionate anthem here. We need these songs, these words, these rhythms for this earthly dance." • Joy Harjo, Poet and Musician

atabex49@yahoo.com
www.amaxonica.com




Lines

in the cane fields you drove out serpents
with the flames of wild dancing;
in the mountains you outran incest
shred it with fingernails
gouged it with teeth.
eventually it caught you, Mami
and sold you at the market
next to onions and potatoes
where you pressed roses against your skin
alluring malaria to rescue you.
Mosquitoes ended their stinging
men did not;
they licked the fever
deeper into you
fever that pushed you
out of windows
into rivers
into walls;
fever that tempered
your soft spots into leather,
impenetrable skin that
repelled rain
and all thoughts of love.
fever in my blood
with every kiss
you pushed away,
offering instead
a little fist
of rice and beans.

you cleaned
all spills and broken things
into the shine of perfection
the mop, the broom
arrows against insults.

you learned to praise
other women’s children:
the ones
with straight hair,
perfect teeth;
the ones
no darker than
an August peach.

you made your way
on trains
and always got two seats
one for your shopping bag;
de vez en cuando
you got lost
signs and maps
hurting your eyes.

you hated the smell of cats
and said so to anyone who listened.
you called all politicians liars
with wives who couldn’t cook
assured yourself their children
surely must be drug addicts.
had your hair done on Saturdays,
made pin curls on Monday
to get through the week.
did laundry for the families
of the dead,
made sopitas for the sick,
made your own clothes
adding lace to church dresses
for the glory of God;
made Jesus out of dish towels
and rocked him to sleep.

Every night
you jumped off the edge of the world
in search of just one little dream
your mornings
full of nothing,
you slipped into your uniform
of faith,
sipping your coffee
like an heiress
knowing you once
drove serpents from the cane fields.

No man ever raped you deeper
than the English you didn’t speak
your eyes collapsing
into dead birds
always in the presence of white folks.

if only we could go back
and I could
tell you the truth
about who they are
about who you are
and give you all the kisses
I saved
por si acaso.
if only we could rub ourselves in roses
simply because
they are beautiful.



© Magdalena Gómez



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