Three Poems by Mónica de la Torre​

BOMB 98 Winter 2007
098 Winter 2007 1024X1024

For Rose to Be We Need a Celebrity

In a library with at least eleven windows
less than eleven women who knew each other not
told each other secrets
that were meant, at some point, to be public.
Who’d like to be Oprah?
When a secret comes it is not silent,
unless it’s not even a secretion.
Saliva is not interchangeable with ink.
“I am purposeless,” the secret cried
but words were meant to imprint themselves
on the mind of the woman whose stomach
kept making discomfiting noises.
How about Charlie?
It should have been decreed that every Friday
they tell each other secrets.
The problem was that they gathered secretly in a semicircle
and nobody was comfortable giving orders.
A voice said, “Time’s up!” but it was only a voice
waiting for the minutes to elapse.
“Tell me what Sophia is thinking and I’ll tell you what
Sandra’s about to write,” bartered Kara, to no effect.
“What fun this is, or can be,” thought Jessica of telling Linda.
Billie muttered to herself.


Durango, Durango

There once was a weeping willow that never wept. Maybe
someone missed the weeping, or the tree just looked like it
was grieving but it wasn’t because there was no reflecting
pool below it.

This is how one who has a story can begin a story. When one
does not have a story one can write a letter, for instance.

Dear Papa, 
I imagine you on your sailboat, drinking a beer and
thinking about the splendid life you’ve got now that
you keep fewer houses. I miss your Sunday sense of
humor. I think about it constantly.


PS: Perhaps you and I could talk over the phone one
of these days, about why the only time you’ve ever
mentioned your hometown was when you told us the
story about the locals burning down a set for a Western
film so as to heat their tortillas? Like you, I’m afraid
of sounding trite when I talk about local flavor. Is that
why I’ve got no story? There’s a big lake here that you
might find attractive. You could practice your water
sports while I remember the right spelling for lacunae.


On Eroticism and Cutting Fabric

When we say canapé we mean something else,
an edible thing to hold you up until the next meal.
Hers meant a sofa with extensions
shaped as body parts sewn to it,
all upholstered in tweed.

A friend from Mexico wore tweed jackets and vests
even in the warmest months, take March for instance.
If it wasn’t tweed it looked like it.
He wrote about memory and died last May, at forty.
In 1999 we sat on a sofa and listened to music.
An Ennio Morricone soundtrack cracked us up.
He was the type you’d think ate canapés.
He drank more than he ate,
and ended up crawling back into the walls;
his form of DT.

Tweed as his surrogate self.
The sofa was the bread, we the meats on top.
Might have chewed on each other.
Swallowed by time, he was the edible one.
You can do whatever you want,
I was told by a dealer with a crook’s reputation.
What if I don’t know.
You always do, said another man.

Artists: Express surprise that they dress like everyone else.

The artist knows what her tweed figures—
anachronisms in the age of self-lubricating vaseline
are doing.

Mónica de la Torre is the author of the poetry books Acúfenos (Taller Ditoria, 2006) and Talk Shows, forthcoming from Switchback Books in 2007. She is co-editor (with Michael Wiegers) of the anthology Reversible Monuments: Mexican Contemporary Poetry (Copper Canyon Press) and translator and editor of Poems by Gerardo Deniz (Lost Roads). She grew up in Mexico City and has lived in New York since 1993, where she is pursuing a PhD at Columbia University and researching poetry groups of the ’70s in Latin America. She is the poetry editor of The Brooklyn Rail.

Badlands Unlimited's New Lovers Series by Mónica de la Torre​
Badlands 01 Bomb 132
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Two Poems by Diann Blakely
Allison Anders by Bette Gordon

“I never give them archetypes. I’m totally anti-Jungian, symbols are intellectual. Emotions are universal, not symbolic. So that’s where I try and keep it, with the emotions.”

Originally published in

BOMB 98, Winter 2007

Featuring interviews with Gabriel Orozco, Gronk, Virginia Fields, Margo Glantz, Salvador Plascencia, Jorge Hernandez, Cherrie Moraga, Doña Julia Julieta Casimiro, Alberto Kalach. 

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098 Winter 2007 1024X1024