Poetry by Ricardo Alberto Pérez

It’s been a year since they buried Elena

in a little cemetery in Nebraska
you wake up
searching for the curve which six months before
should have ended in her womb
Elena was so young
and unblemished
and Russian.
The legume
engendered with alchemy
was starting to show its embryo
she looked happy
or she actually was happy
when the glamour of her eyes
offered a fierce contrast
to the noise from the factories.

What’s the deal with the cheap dolls?

In any corner of the house
or the garden
they have been leaving legs behind,
other times arms,
even heads.
Cheap dolls are accustomed to
exposing themselves mutilated
in public,
who do they hope to touch
if we are all aware of
their unsurpassable usefulness.
They tend to be pleasant, friendly
despite being banned from
the art of silence

The Bread Deliverer

was trying to reach me
I whacked myself on the head
with a fine metal rod
my hairs
appeared to split
imitating the filaments
of plant stems
Three men joined the bread deliverer
the rod was provocatively bending
foretelling the interest of the cranium
in that noble game
in which they were all immersed.

One does not have more space than the bird

With the pupil dilated
we searched in the geometry of the trace:
saliva, blood, quince
an insect’s fantasy
at the moment of segregating
How much of the cubic belongs to us
while its wings scrape against
our stillness?
It clings,
Cryptograms left by hooks,
the steam of every word
detached ftom the scraping.
In the clover
you acquire—still steaming hot—
a new scent of excrement.
How deep is it?
And it’s so little
so negligible
that the smell of what’s been collected
with the fingers
can reach the beak
the silhouette
of the thin straw he holds.


Ricardo Alberto Pérez

Ricardo Alberto Pérez was born in Havana, Cuban in 1963. He is the author of several books, including Trillos Urbanos, Vibraciones del Buey, Oral-B, and Vengan a ver las palamos de Varsovia. In 2007, he received Cuba's Nicolas Guillen National Poetry Prize.

Daniel Borzutzky

Daniel Borzutzky's books and chapbooks include, among others, In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (2015), Bedtime Stories For The End of the World! (2015), Data Bodies (2013), The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011), and The Ecstasy of Capitulation (2007). He has translated Raúl Zurita's The Country of Planks (2015) and Song for his Disappeared Love (2010), and Jaime Luis Huenún's Port Trakl. His work has been supported by the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pen/Heim Translation Fund. He lives in Chicago.

Copyright (c) Ricardo Alberto Pérez, 2013. English translation copyright (c) Daniel Borzutzky, 2015.