EXCERPTS FROM shadowslongshoreman

by José Daniel García
translated from Spanish by Jesse Tangen-Mills



Day is a cooling ember.
Before it gets dark
as the well
that engulfs the sun and retains its water,
I will describe fractals with my finger
over the ashy skin of dusk.
Seashells swept away at night
damp like an evaporated sea,
like an opaque spill
on a blue tablecloth
covered in white crumbs.
Before it splashes me
I'll split dreams, strands
with which to sow
an impermeable roof
that blocks the path of filthy foam
until daybreak catches, first light
birthed from a cinder,

and signals the end of the shift.




I bring leftovers from a nightmare in my hands;
they get in your skin, like gunpowder.
I gobble on the residue of my nails,
I lick until poisoned.
My tongue turns
into a pliable
Colombian necktie
that impedes my shrieks while I choke,
but the dream does not pool in my lungs
and I keep breathing.
Before waking
I contemplate a tunnel
where the bodies fall
in smooth sleeves of cotton
and nylon
black and white, each according to
his existence.



I have scratched the skin
of a few light bulbs;
if I ingest its skin,
diluted in some liquid,
it will cause
a constellation
of red dwarfs
inside my organs.

Sub umbra, dego




She said…

— You were like the sigh in a Munch painting.
The shadow without the student at recess.
The kid in the see-through uniform
that leaves his pajamas on
under his clothes.
— All of your classmates knew
Freud's advice:
"appeal to the maniac while he sleeps";
so I did, child. It was a question
of survival.

— And although now you camouflage yourself
under a thick foulard of fiber optics,
there aren´t corrective lenses that fix
the drab brown
that blacken your eyes' iris.
      Since when did that veil
of contaminated light drip?

      — You embarrass me, son.
You need a biopsy
of your pineal gland.

Mugs empty,
we kiss. Correction: I kissed her.
Clarification: I tried to kiss her
while she only – held back – smiling,
a fringe of teeth.
I took my tongue back and chewed on it a bit.

Everyone head on home.





You are the avatar
of the amber bird
that inoculated rye
in Salem’s bread.

For every crumb
a fermented dream1
or a rung of


You can see a haystack
in a pin
and the shadow of a tree
in the desert.


Plumed sorcery
on wilted paper is your poetry,
a useless labor.


From you only a sweet dirge is expected,
not the metallic caw
of a crow strangled in chicken wire.   


You nourish the stems of a cage.


Icarus´ wishes on your shoulders
won´t leave scars.



1A vision is just a fermented dream, a cutting from a lush oneiric tree, planted in the “real.” Its purpose is to transform the human landscape.




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