By: Jose Espinel

Poem 1: Untitled


So many nights

I’d branded myself Mycenaean

And wondered in silence

Whether Helen might visit my dreams If I walked down Allenby Street

And continued into the sea.

I swore I’d stay there,

Devoting my days on Elba

To studying the taxonomy of stones And other enlightened arts

Of great men who never bathed

Until with labored certainty I’d say: This is grey.

And so much toil would make me a rational man.

And rational men do not weep at her memory.

And rational men find beauty in numbers and stones.

But if a letter from Josephine Spoke of her living –

By some miracle returned to Paris, I’d be a rational man,

Abandon the stones,

Forgive myself.


Poem 2: Untitled (translated to English)


Fatally breached by a confounding Reinhardt

My mind scuttled the abstract and set itself

With furious attention to the serious and pressing Task of tracing my genealogy to its avian roots.

Among the crumbling pages,

Of a prehistoric catalogue, Mothballed, boxed, and forgotten

In the attic of an old Victorian nest It found

I must be the pigeon.

Only the pigeon,

It reasoned,

Could maroon itself on the alcove Over the metropolitan skylight, Cast its beak down,

And lament its monochromaticity,

In spite of the fact that

Its plumage,

Assembled in that most

Random genetic haste

Commands a masterful order Unmatched by Pollack,

Adored by its color-blind mate, Imitated by the woman whose hand Fills mine.

Jose Espinel (espinel@college.harvard.edu) continues to drift, abandoning stones.