Poetry 365

October 14, 2012

Poet Eduardo C. Corral

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting the dazzling debut collection of poet Eduardo C. Corral.  The first Latino winner of the prestigious Yale Younger Poets prize, Corral has been roundly praised for vividly portraying his experiences as a Chicano and gay man with a Robert Hayden-like resistance to reductivism.  In Slow Lightning, he mixes colloquial Spanish and English into sensual and sobering sonnets and free verse that touch on everything from illegal immigration to Freda Kahlo to difficult memories of family and lovers.  So don’t miss this engaging new collection, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

Self-Portrait with Tumbling and Lasso

I’m drumroll and voyeur.
    I’m watermark
and fable. I’m weaving
    the snarls
of a wolf through my hair
    like ribbon. At my feet,
    and jigsaws. I’m
    an autopsy on my shadow.
My rib cage a wall.
    My heart
a crack in a wall,
    a foothold. I’m tumbling
    a French acrobat. I’m judder
and effigy.
    I’m pompadour
and splendid. I’m spinning
    on a spit, split
in half.
    An apple
in my mouth. I know
    what Eve
didn’t know: a serpent
    is a fruit eaten to the core. I’m
a massacre
    of the dreamers,
a terra cotta soldier
    waiting for
his emperor’s return.
    When I bow,
a black fish leaps
    from the small of my back.
I catch it.
    I tear it apart. I fix
the scales
    to my lips.
Every word I utter
    is opalescent. I’m skinned
and Orphic.
    I’m scarlet
and threshold. At my touch,
    a piano
melts like a slab
    of black ice. I’m
steam rising,
    dissipating. I’m a ghost undressing.
I’m a cowboy
    riding bareback.
My soul is
above my head like a lasso.
    My right hand
a pistol. My left
    automatic. I’m knocking
on every door.
    I’m coming on strong,
like a missionary.
    I’m kicking back
my legs, like a mule. I’m kicking up
    my legs, like
a showgirl.

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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