Monday, November 14, 2011

Aimless Reading: The P's, Part 26 (Omar Pérez)

Oiste hablar del gato de pelea?
Pérez, Omar
¿Oiste hablar del gato de pelea?

Given to me by the author. Inscribed (in English):

To Mike:

In memory of his marvelous mumbling.


The reference here is to a reading I gave in Havana in 2000. I used to always end my readings with a kind of showstopper. At the time, my favorite was a short prose poem called, "Democracy in America." I used to read it so fast you could barely understand the words a la Tom Raworth or Miles Champion.

At the reading in Havana, I only had one or two of my poems translated into Spanish, so I decided the best thing to do was read poems that lent themselves to performance. That way, at least, the sound could get across to those who did not speak English. I finished with the aforementioned poem, read at breakneck speed. Everybody cheered  when it ended.

Afterwards, a friend who had been standing in back next to representatives of the Cuban government told me that they asked he why I read it so fast. Was he reading an anti-government message, they asked? She said no, that it was just the way I liked to read. I guess they left it at that, as they never asked me about it.

from ¿Oiste hablar del gato de pelea?

Extremo Espíritu

Eh, el espíritu
Eh, el elegido, ¡eh!
extenderlo en el hecho extremo          eh
no tiene puntos cardinales

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