Victor Hernández Cruz


El Poema de lo Reverso

In which everything goes backwards
in time and motion
Palm trees shrink back into the ground
Mangos become seeds
and reappear in the eyes of Indian
The years go back
cement becomes wood
Panama hats are seen upon skeletons
walking the plazas
Of once again wooden benches
The past starts to happen again
I see Columbus’ s three boats
going backwards on the sea
Getting smaller
Crossing the Atlantic back to the

Glow Flesh

you are falling
sun shine miracle
your lips are wet
to our hearts
floods in every opening

on the stoop your skirt rises
fingers go up your legs

you are falling in the streets

the hallways of east harlem
the dark hallways of east harlem
the dark hallways with mattresses
of east harlem
you are falling

Mountain Building

The mountain have changed to buildings
Is this hallway the inside of a stem
That has a rattling flower for a head,
Immense tree bark with roots made out of
In the vertical village moons fly out of
Apartment windows and though what you
See is a modern city
The mountain’ s guitars pluck inside
It’ s agriculture taking an elevator
Through urban caves which lead to
Paths underground They say Camuy
To Hutuado
Taino subground like the IRT in
Constant motion


La luna
Sang the miles por los palos
de Nebraska
You bunch of lights
And houses How did you walk
to this place
Buffalo Bill
Better know him some Spanish
Para Horses ride
rubber horseshoes

El café
Boiled water/no milk in sight.
Homes that will travel interstate
8 o tomorrow in the morning
for the next edge of town.

Time Zones

Time is crying upon the backs of lizards,
Through the white stone of the medieval city
They dash.
The houses that are walking up the stairs,
Flowers out of ruins,
Further into the fortress,
The sounds of a language registers
In our dreams.

Words which are my hat in the city,
Coming through the bamboo
The shadows of lost meaning —
Tilted light making slivers
Through the forest of the mambo
Behind the eyes.

Two Guitars

Two guitars were left in a room all alone
They sat on different corners of the parlor
In this solitude they started talking to each other
My strings are tight and full of tears
The man who plays me has no heart
I have seen it leave out of his mouth
I have seen it melt out of his eyes
It dives into the pores of the earth
When they squeeze me tight I bring
Down the angels who live off the chorus
The trios singing loosen organs
With melodious screwdrivers
Sentiment comes off the hinges