Issue > Poetry
Ariel Francisco

Ariel Francisco

Ariel Francisco is the author of A Sinking Ship Is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020) and All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017). A poet and translator born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents and raised in Miami, his work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York City Ballet, The Academy of American Poets, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
Jacques Viau Renaud (1941—1965) was born in Haiti and raised in the Dominican Republic following his father's exile in 1948. During the Dominican Revolution of 1965, he joined the rebel forces in support of ousted president Juan Bosch, fighting against the US backed dictatorship. He was killed in battle at age 23.

From the Mountains

     for the towns of Costanza, Maimón, and Estero Hondo

From the mountains sleeping in the wind's skirts
rises a rumor
of pressed ash.
From the green
rise the dead
nailing themselves to the sun
and a naked shout wanders solitude
hammering the mind of a town.

Costanza, Maimón, Estero Hondo:
tombs growing towards the green,
tombs growing alone
towards the simplicity of dust
where words
and man die.

Costanza, Maimón, Estero Hondo:
tombs growing towards the sun,
scaling the blood,
peering out of the stone.
Constanza: torn from the light.
waves shearing away the green heat of naked men
illuminating the night,
the day,
the months and years
Estero Hondo:
an open shout in the wind,
on the path of man searching for man.
Costanza, Maimón, Estero Hondo,
clay, rock, and green
imprisoning life,
life assassinated by stars.

from the luminous howl of the injured
speaking with the grass,
with the trees
only protectors,
only friends,
the only ones devoured by the same fire;
on the same path
fallen with the morning.

The wind of this island,
of this island trapped in a tear,
a single tear,
collapsed in the night.

Night entered their stomachs,
fire consumed their limbs,
hatred and chains
crucifying hope.
The wind cleaned up the ashes:
since then
they're guarded tightly by the dream,
by the blurred face
by the crucified light.

but the shout echoes,
hammering the town's face
marching towards the day of birth.
Costanza, Maimón, Estero Hondo:
cracking from the light,
destroyed path,
crucified night,
June 14th 1959
march of unchained men
stopped in the blood.
June 14th 1963
from the blood
men march anew
towards the unchained.


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