Multilingual Poems

who is it that

crawled into a shell
this afternoon xcept

it was a cocoon then  
a pill orange coated 

blue round &
rattling 

//

 
took me / take me

morning & night
reestablish the

blood / supply

my beautiful
walking stick

rooted / center

el ombligo
unbalanced

dominoes &
spinning tops

//

left the pill form
for mucus membranes

scabbing like finger
nails to join the rest

of mi gente arriba
donde están bailando

como un cuerno
shattered en el suelo

las luces bouncing
& screaming against

the lacquered floor 
boards y cervezas

//

no voy a responder
a tus preguntas

mi amor ya estoy
bien cansada y tengo

toda la noche to
contemplate our

crawling together

Beneath the Scalpel

“I could see the hospital in the distance and imagined the surgeons in the basement sharpening their knives.” – Jim Harrison

They’re performing 
surgery on me 
when the lights go out. 

With their phones, 
they put their flash 
on to finish the job 

to get the bullet 
out of my chest. 
Black fire destroyed 

my flesh 
in the streets 
of Caracas.

Agua, Ayuda

I didn’t even hear the—
I felt it rip through me first

Por favor

like a sledgehammer
to the ribs. They grab the

¡Ayúdame!

bola with tweezers
and yank it gently—

metal striking metal

Murciélagos

El viejito 
with the accordion
is singing tonight.

A child runs
across the cobblestones;
circles back to his mother.

Los murciélagos de Sevilla 
vuelan en el viento. The lights
from the bridge 

reflect along the river—
it silvers and sways como 
las ojas en sus aguas. 

In front of my eyes, a bat 
flutters, swoops, and returns 
underneath el Puente. 

The dark sky warms my skin.

[la lengua]

“Si es de jade se hace astillas, si es de oro se destruye, si es plumaje de katzalli se rasga…” –Nezahualcóyotl 

Antes de la conquista 
we spoke
whatever the fuck
we felt like.

Zapoteco—Maya Yucateco—
Náhuatl—Tzotzil—
Mixteco—Huichol—
Tzeltal—Chatino—

Después de la sangre 
dried to scabs
una lengua deformada 
pero útil; a mouth
-ful stinking
of shimmering fish. 

Garrett Gomez

What is the significance of this work to you?

These poems are significant to me for a number of reasons. However, maybe the most important one is that I get to share stories. Stories that are not necessarily mine, but that need to be shared. One of the poems features details of a surgery room in Caracas, Venezuela. My friend's parents are surgeons there, and (they) needed to finish their operation despite an electricity blackout. That (they) saved lives in the darkness with improvised phone light is Light itself. That is the significance of this work, to bring Light where there is darkness. 

What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?

The form is the sonics. Sometimes, I yell about it. 

What was your process for creating this work?

I try to mostly write poems of inspiration rather than imagination, which usually begins with a sound or phrase or image, and I let the natural flow of words rush out from there. However, one must always edit and revise, which is another way of saying locate, and it can be very difficult to revise one's own work. So I'd like to thank my friends who have helped shape these poems in one way or another with their direct or indirect influence: Alex Lemon, Curt Rode, Joe Darda, Ford McDonald, Jake Montgomery, Arantxa Soto and Julie Winspear. 

Garrett Gomez is a California based poet. He was the recipient of a Fulbright García-Robles grant in 2018 and spends most of his time surfing, listening, and smiling. He is currently working on a co-authored chapbook with the poet Ford McDonald.