Guest Poet: Lorenzo Casanova

Posted on April 14, 2020

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I’m excited to introduce a guest poet today! Meet Lorenzo!

 

Hi, I’m Lorenzo Casanova, an AHS graduate from the class of 2005. I am currently finishing my MA in English Literature at Texas University A&M-San Antonio. April is poetry month, and I’m honored to share my writing and artists that I admire. I’ve been introduced to many poets whose work I admire, like Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Adrienne Rich, Fredrico García Lorca, and Martín Espada. I wrote the villanelle below in Spring 2019.

 

Tom and Jerry

I.D. required for a glass of red-berry.

the rush of fluid pours over ice. A lime, twist, shake.

Clear fluid infuses irrationality. An orange and a cherry.

 

In the forest the structures are altered and fairies are full of merry.

bartender twenty, “whatever you can make.”

I.D. required for tom, sherry and jerry.

 

Fairies’ dupe smile that collects bottles in their library.

exchanging bills and I.D’s that are commonly fake.

Clear liquid infuses tom and jerry that dance missionary.

 

To devour a cherry or not to eat a cherry?

let the body explore each ache,

Clear liquid infuses with sweet or dry vermouth, cautionary.

 

The balcony overlooking Alamo plaza. Where tom meets jerry.

Vacant eyes and loitering white fog awaits their wake.

I.D. required because all innocents are lost. A bloody mary, cranberry?

 

A broken chair, historic Napoleon awaits your arrival.

Do you flee temptation or push the brake?

I.D. required for a glass of red-berry.

Clear liquid alters reality with an orange and a cherry.


I’ve also included a poem by contemporary Latinx poet, Martín Espada “The Poet in the Box,” from Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002. I referenced his poem in a research project and found his poetry to be relevant among marginalized groups and young audiences.

From Martín Espada

The Poet in the Box

for Brandon

 

We have a problem with Brandon,

the assistant warden said.

He’s a poet.

At the juvenile detention center

demonic poetry fired Brandon’s fist

into the forehead of another inmate.

Metaphor, that cackling spirit, drove him to flip another boy’s cafeteria tray onto the floor.

The staccato chorus rhyming in his head

told him to spit and curse

at enemies bigger by a hundred pounds.

The gnawing in his rib cage was a craving for discipline. Repeatedly two guards shuffled him

to the cell called the box, solitary confinement, masonry of silence fingered by hallucinating drifters, rebels awaiting execution, monks in prayer.

Then we figured it out, the assistant warden said. He started fights so we’d throw him

in solitary, where he could write.

The box: There poetry was a grasshopper in the bowl of his hands, pencil chiseling letters across his notebook

like the script of a pharaoh’s deeds on pyramid walls;

metaphor spilled from the light he trapped

in his eyelids, lamps of incandescent words;

rhyme harmonized through the voices

of great-grandmothers and sharecropper bluesmen whenever sleep began to whistle in his breath.

So the cold was a blanket to him.

We fixed Brandon, the assistant warden said. We stopped punishing him. He knows

that every violation means he stays here longer.

Tonight there are poets

who versify vacations in Tuscany,

the villa on a hill, the light of morning;

poets who stare at computer screens

and imagine cockroach powder

dissolved into the coffee

of the committee that said no to tenure; poets who drain whiskey bottles

and urinate on the shoes of their disciples; poets who cannot sleep as they contemplate the extinction of iambic pentameter;

poets who watch the sky, waiting for a poem

to plunge in a white streak through blackness.

Brandon dreams of punishment,

stealing the keys from a sleepy jailer

to lock himself into the box, where he can hear the scratching of his pencil

like fingernails on dungeon stone.

 

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