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  • Mall on 54th Street, and: Flourishing in Ruins, and: Under the Power of the Crinoline
  • Isaily Pérez González (bio)
    Translated from Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Mall on 54th Street

The children disentangled from the family shoallet loose to whirl like dervishesthrow themselves to the fences: look mom no linesand the fathers(actually I mean the men)hands in pockets pull something out:a coin a ticket to launch them to the heavensand when they fall they sometimes screamfrom fear waving: bye-bye look at us momcovered in ice cream they'll get off the artifactsthat simulate the experience we'll never have:a plane a horse a house of mirrors.The obnoxious loud speakers ate the hurdy-gurdy's tonguesand now let out their harangue: come on out buy something come back soonthen they sing awhile.In the middle of the fairon occasion a hand might find youin the crowd it's hard not to touchnot be mistaken.Without turning to see you'll want to grab holdwhose hand could it bebut your mother's reaching out over timeit's just another kid confused.Ten you see the dogin the crowd gulping down popcornin line for hoursbuying a few seconds of that somethingsuddenly you've seen the dog no leashfearfully watching the spaces opened closed by the shoalthat might gobble him up like leftovers [End Page 24] and you have to hold yourself back breathe anyway you canno one needs to knowthat in the middle of night spinning steedsand tiny painted cupsthe earth's come unhinged.

Flourishing in Ruins

Indescribable love flourishing in ruinsthe house that in years gone by belonged to the Chinesehas seen it all: beauty and feardesire is mercury you know that very wellthe sky in your house has risen up night after night in sequins.Let the shards of glass re-create everythinglike only they know howthe pieces of everything wound like glassstare at me with their turkey eyes.No one ever told me this would happenthe pain doubles me over with brutal elegancethe world is a handkerchief with its corners foldedwith me there in the middleif I drink some of its wine perhaps I can sleep.Indescribable lovefind a reason to shield youwhen you get home—whatever that is for you—so it doesn't hurt so much to go out on the balconywhen it's daybreak: your moment in the world.Return to the lotus and the mistletoesomewhere there's one where all swornlove kisses beneath its branches for always.I've said the forbidden wordswhoever weighs the heart finds it's not enoughand now the waters risemandrake shoots in the watchmaker's wallsraise a barrier forcing us to walk faster.Now my house seems unreachable:five sixseven blocks in time. [End Page 25]

Under the Power of the Crinoline

The soundtrack drowns out all the breathing.You've fallen asleep in the middle of the plotwhen attentive eyes follow the floating crinolineon the screen.Someone lights a cigarette and passes it to the one next to himthen another.The smoke could help the animal to hide its predominancebehind the fine grayish columns.Your hand is tiny measured against my handeven sleeping you hold your power like a dead queen.The crinoline's empiretranscends the glass squarebeneath the flannel I rub my musclesevery possible soundis dissonance to the rhythm of your breathingperhaps no one hears but me.If I don't watch myself I'll stretch out a hand toward that silent densitythe bare beginning of your backI admire sideways.You ought to open your eyesso the animal might sleep and I can exhale freelyalongside the sharp cliff.I return to the plotbut desire prefers stranger shapesthan smoke.Desire is a luminous necklacecrushing my throat.I could watch you all night...


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pp. 24-27
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