Poetry at the Post-Austin Annex: 3-2 Salsa & “The Poem Bodies Make”

“The Poem Bodies Make” by Luis Alberto Ambroggio, as translated by Naomi Ayala

Behold the poem the bodies
of gods who love one another make;

This poem is so lovely, its language so lush. The call to the reader loops me in—to the poem, the image.

Listen to how they knock against each other with the breath of waves;
heart open, light infusing them;

Arco de Córdoba 2007-11-16 CC BY-SA 2. Photo courtesy of  Walter Gomez -
Arco de Córdoba 2007-11-16 CC BY-SA 2. Photo courtesy of
Walter Gomez –

Ambroggio was born in Córdoba, Argentina. Although I have never been to Argentina, I have a touch of it close by at Esquina Tango. Dance classes, Yoga, Latin American films and Spanish conversation—it’s a fun place.

High heels and dancing make me smile. I rarely dance but when in Austin I head to Esquina Tango and catch Salsa Aerobics on Saturdays. The foot moves are fast. I’m off beat most of the time yet I find myself feeling lighter, more hopeful. Perhaps it is the music, the lift and tilt of the Spanish language.

Speaking of lift, here is one of Ambroggio’s poems in Spanish, “Mi Primer Vuelo”, or “My First Flight.”

Con mi sonrisa feliz
le traigo algo del sol triunfante.

Poetry at the Post, Day 8: A Trip to Argentina!

“Running Water” by Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938), as translated by Muna Lee

May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014

Yes, I move, I live, I wander astray—
Water moving running, intermingling, over the sands…

I am obsessed with water Yes, clean, abundant water. After three years living on and off in Oaxaca, Mexico, I have lots of water stories. Oaxaca,Oaxaca is a city of scarce water.

I seem to be attracted to dry places. Now I am in the desert of Far West Texas, It is June and we are waiting for the rains. If all goes well, the rains will begin soon. They have already begun in Oaxaca.

Alfonsina Storni
Alfonsina Storni

When I read Storni’s poem “Running Water,” I can see and feel the water running….But wait! There is something else, an obstruction: “What are you doing here…/You, the stone in the path…?”

We all find those stones in our way. Sometimes, they are more than stones. They are boulders. I prefer to read the ending of this poem as hopeful. The stone in the path offers a diversion, another possibility. You can read the full poem here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse/26/3#!/20575067

Sadly, for Alfonsina Storni, the boulders of breast cancer and solitude were just too big. At 1:00 am on October 25, 1938, she left her room and walked down to the sea.Legend has it she just kept walking into the sea until she drowned. Her body was discovered later that day.

Here is a link to “Alfonsina y el Mar,” a hauntingly lovely song in memory of Storni. Composed by Ariel Ramírez and Félix Luna, it is sung here by Mercedes Sosa.

I read “Running Water” to the deer this morning. With poetry, you have to find your audience wherever you can. They were not impressed. They ran away.