Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 3



Ana M. Fores Tamayo



Las vías del tren

Palabras no significan nada
y la vida permanece tenue
en las vías del ferrocarril
andando audaz sobre el árido desierto,
suelo y sonido de metal
marcha y marcha.

Y el río marrón acero chirría seco
su aullido siempre presente
entre los bancos embarrados con sus sucias telarañas.

En sus paredes de grafiti negro,
en su laberinto de rieles de orín,
los ratones anidan su inocencia
a través del hollín y la basura
de los vagones del ferrocarril
tirados por manos imprudentes,
            por manos borrachas,
            por manos que nunca se preocupan y que tocan,
pero paganas,
se convierten en la mugre que conllevan.

El hombre blanco nunca duerme
mientras trae muerte
como la palabra,
como el ayer…
ya una eternidad,
cuando la vida antigua
arrebata toda agua,
            toda palabra.

Pero la palabra significa aridez,
vacío eterno.

Los vacuos ríos mueren,
las vías del ferrocarril – abandonadas,
y ratones
arrancan al sentirse
acorralados,
aunque las telarañas hacen eco,
solitarios susurros del pecado.

Railroad Tracks

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

Words mean nothing
and life is disembodied
in the railroad tracks
running sleek over the arid desert,
soil and sound of metal
                        churning churning.

And the steel brown river screeches dry
its ever-present howling
of muddied banks and dirtied cobwebs.

On its black graffiti walls,
in its maze of iron clubs,
mice nest their innocence
through the soot and garbage
of the railway cars
thrown away by reckless hands,
            by drunken hands,
            by never-caring hands that touch,
yet godless,
they become the filth they bear.

The white man never sleeps
while bringing death
like words,
like yesterday,
eternity ago,
when the life that was
snatched away all water,
                        all words.
But words mean desiccation,
everlasting void.

Empty rivers die
and railroad tracks abandoned,
and mice —
            they scamper when
            they're cornered,
though these cobwebs echo
vacant sounds of sin.




The Voyeur

All thoughts race through her head
yet she captures nothing,
lets them trickle down like sand
into the hour glass,
into daydream,
into time, which means...
oblivion.

She thinks of the virgin Mary,
of her special day,
of her immaculate conception,
of Gabriel García Márquez’ magic realism,
Remedios the beauty floating up to heaven
with yellow butterflies hovering all about
and she laughs,
thinking of the absurdity
of passion:
passion becomes religion.

So she thinks of her depression,
of the old man
sitting on the train
with his steel blue eyes,
warmed, set on fire,
rekindled by his mousy brown-eyed woman
next to him, softly vacant,
(though brown eyes do have their fire
even in the most absent squats...)

She notes her finger on his chestnut colored belt,
voluptuously laughing with him,
fondling him secretly,
while yet another man's tie —
blue with checkered reds —
stands in the way of them,
stopping that classical moment
when the voyeur may get her chance...

And she smiles,
though still depressed. 

El Voyeur

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

Todo pensamiento la arrastra sin cesar
pero no captura nada,
deja que salpiquen como granos
dentro del reloj de arena,
hacia un ensueño,
dentro del tiempo, que significa ...
olvido.

Piensa en la virgencita,
en su día especial,
en su inmaculada concepción,
en el realismo mágico de Gabriel García Márquez,
Remedios la belleza flotando hacia el cielo
con mariposas amarillas revoloteando,
mientras se ríe,
pensando en lo absurdo
de la pasión:
la pasión se convierte en religión.

Entonces piensa en su depresión,
observa el viejo
sentado en el tren
con sus ojos azules de acero,
excitado, prendido fuego,
reavivado por su mujercita de oscuros ojos
a su lado, suavemente vacante,
(aunque los ojos negros tienen su fuego,
incluso en las cuclillas más ausentes...)

Descansa el dedo en su cinturón color castaño,
sensualmente riéndose con él,
acariciándolo en secreto,
mientras la corbata de otro hombre –
azul con rojo a cuadros –
se interpone en su camino,
deteniendo ese momento clásico
cuando el voyeur agarra su oportunidad ...

Y sonríe,
aunque todavía triste.




The Cat

Split.
Lost in the labyrinth
of a zoological doorway.

Foot dragging
            limp
with the fervor of intimacy.

Fingers twitching,
she inhales
the turbid fumes of smoke
burning in her lungs.

Can she throw it all away?

The feline eyes yellowed
behind those shadows
penetrate her being,
burn a hole
in her lungs in her soul,
making the indentation
of her path
            pronounced and pensive...

Like the cat
whose fiery hell lunges
at her dreams of passion
and destroys
that fantasy of lucid love,
she becomes the grimalkin,
waiting, attentive,
ready to strike,
yet always paralyzed.




The Wanderer

Sadness sometimes saunters in
And leaves me ladled in mocking melancholy.
I thought as mother I had the perfect edge.
I thought I was experienced and ever-faultless:
little did I know.

But so it seems that introspect with what my thoughts are,
Imbued in silence, gold is never what it seems.

I watched you grow, nurtured you with kisses and books of
Little Women, delights of TV’d afternoons:
The Little Princess is a rainy day
exclusively proclaimed for you and me.
So you glimmer as my twinkling ballerina,
during those lazy, languid days,
precise in your pink and golden slippers—
chubby angel prancing pandemonium.

I remember yesterday and embrace reflection,
picture perfect in my wakefulness.

Today is every day and you are my chattering cherub,
Smiling kisses and graffiti murals of long-lost voyages in stormed-calmed seas.
But the chivalrous lady does complain her love is fleeting.
She must follow it and leave me; she must know her heart has come.

So I wave good-bye, sadness and excitement overwhelm me,
Tears— tenacious, tumbling, tentative, and vain.

You are leaving. Won’t you stay? You are gone now. You are here…

Your meticulous watercolor
does remind me that my muse, though traveling,
is everlasting here.

And through my dream,
yet in my wake …
You grasp my hands,
a vision reaching out to me.




The Flash of Time

With the flash of an eye
my time is gone,
dissolved into the ebb and flow
of ceaseless oceans.

With corrals and seashells,
with star-fished lilies
and twinkling unicorns,
with storm sea waves
of blackened jetsam,
my eyes entice the sounds of poesy.

The touches of endeavored antics
endear the muted walls of life,
yet the lightning does not strike
the tombstones broken in webbed denial;
the oceans do not swim in fishes
lost through the oblivion of treasured sand.

Forgotten, the words appear as ghosts,
spirits in a fanciful land of make-believe.
They spring, like life,
as birds do flower,
multi-fashioned colors of a rainbowed innocence,
purified in an instant of melodious eternity.

But then withdrawn,
those words enclose that flash of time
which then, dissolved,
ebb down the rivered waterfalls
of perishable yet endless time.





Harvest Moon


The Moon

The full moon strikes.

Twenty-eight-day cycles:
exuberant, always changing,
an eclipsing, constant motion.
Continually in transit,
the moon metamorphoses:
mutations of me.

For a solitary moment
I am stilled.
I feel his lips on mine,
I want his mouth, his touch,
his body next to mine.
I want his being inside my own
like lunar ecstasy:
the moon in all its cycles.

I scream the
silence of that piercing cry
echoing in the night.
It quiets me, abducts me into an
arrested trance
until I am finally
freed of sin.

Enraptured in euphoria,
Still I will know that emptiness,
that frenzied solitude.

Because it is not he who must fulfill me.

Afraid of effervescence and
afraid of nullity.
Afraid of moons transcending and
wavering into night,
blinding my engulfing vision.
Afraid of cloistered raptures
silenced by the sun.

And so as time ticks onward,
the minutes scorn my face,
and I grow old in wanting.

Hence the moon descends
and hides illumination
while I turn my dark side,

like the moon.




Barroom Dust

In mundane action
days go by unnoticed,
the clock beats time
and birds fly southward bound.

Night falls red,
and bars fill up —
their neon lights are blinking,
strangers touch and lust in Scotch.
So red-eyed, the bartender pours another whiskey,
and customers make vapid music
while sipping silent shots.

She swings her leg seductively,
as she turns her bemused stare toward him.
Boring-eyed she laughs a sultry provocation,
her throaty voice far-reaching,
echoing in the sordid gloom
of barroom dust...

Sensuously she smooths
a copy of some novel,
while this feline goddess crooks her ear
to those murmurs that say nothing,
invitations to a darkness filled with sin.

So she twists her neck
that swan undaunted,
soothing his flattered ego,
though her eyes lead elsewhere
dream unbound...

And as she fingers her possession,
lovingly caressing that worn-out fiction,
her novel tumbles mutely to the floor,
yet she smiles
            the sadness of the red room luster,
            the evening dawn of decadence and lust.




Paradox

The gilded pages number words
that pronounce new music
uncovered by their silence,
and as he reads those phrases,
they birth an entity different from my own.

My fluted music belies
the magic of his love notes,
my own denial gathers stones
around his happiness
and covers his vague susceptibility
so that I do not embellish passion,
always denying poetic sensibility.

I will not see beyond the printed page,
beyond objective meanings,
beyond the knowledge that
I learn through books,
though he has tried to teach me
otherwise.

But I do not want to learn.

Resisting,
I deny his love.
Of me
of words
of language…

and I go on,

existing in the parody
of an unknown darkness,
never to fulfill my longing
in the power of his soul.



Ana M. Fores Tamayo: "Being an academic not paid enough for my trouble, I wanted instead to do something that mattered: work with asylum seekers. I advocate for marginalized refugee families from Mexico and Central America. Working with asylum seekers is heart wrenching, yet satisfying. It is also quite humbling.

“My labor has eased my own sense of displacement, being a child refugee, always trying to find home. In parallel, poetry is my escape: I have published in Indolent Books, The Raving Press, the Laurel Review, and many other anthologies and journals, both here and internationally, online and in-print. My poetry in translation with its accompanying photography has been exhibited in art fairs and galleries as well.”




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