The Operating System

6th Annual NAPOMO 30/30/30 :: Day 5 :: Erick Sáenz on Dolores Dorantes

HAPPY POETRY MONTH, FRIENDS AND COMRADES!

For this, the 6th Annual iteration of our beloved Poetry Month 30/30/30 series/tradition, I asked four poets (and previous participants) to guest-curate a week of entries, highlighting folks from their communities and the poets who’ve influenced their work.

I’m happy to introduce Janice Sapigao, Johnny Damm, Phillip Ammonds, and Stephen Ross, who have done an amazing job gathering people for this years series! We’re so excited to share this new crop of tributes with you. Hear more from our four guest editors in the introduction to this year’s series.

Hungry for more? there’s 150 previous entries from past years here! You should also check out Janice’s piece on Nayyirah Waheed, Johnny’s piece on Raymond Roussel, Phillip’s piece on Essex Hemphill, and Stephen’s piece on Ronald Johnson’s Ark, while you’re at it.

This is a peer-to-peer system of collective inspiration! No matriculation required.
Enjoy, and share widely.

– Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Managing Editor/Series Curator

WEEK ONE :: CURATED BY JANICE LOBO SAPIGAO

These writers with San Francisco Bay Area roots who’ve honored and shared their love and praise of poets remind me that to write is to spend time. I asked Rachelle Cruz, Denise Benavides, mgb, Steffi Drewes, Michelle Lin, Erick Sáenz, and Li Patron to write their poetic homages, so that I could, in essence, spend time with them and the words that keep them company. In and outside of writing, I admire these folks – and the ones they’ve written about – because of their activism and the literary spaces they’ve created for queer, trans, nonbinary, DIY/DIT (do-it-yourself/do-it-together), students, and communities of color. Each of these writers has, in the past year, published their first book, or zine, or seminal script for a theatrical production. This year has been, as we say in the Bay, Hella Lit.

This is what we spend our time doing.

In the Bay, we refused to be slept on by outsiders. We are always awoken by our passion for righting the wrongs and social change. We are known for our diversity and liberal politics, but this masks our resistance and the disparities we see slowly produced every day.  We are writing, emerging, and honoring the folks who’ve cleared a path for us to share.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

– Janice Lobo Sapigao 

Day 5 :: Erick Sáenz on Dolores Dorantes :: In translation [in translation]

doloresdoranteszurgai11

At times the text is shouting & whispering. Like a conversation within a conversation. As I read aloud the words waver between loud and soft. The italicized is to be whispered, just audible. The regular font is the shouting, the words you are not afraid to say. They play on each other, work together//contradict.

I found Dolores Dorantes by suggestion. Early in our relationship my partner and I traded books. One of the books I received was “Intervenir/Intervene,” a book co-written with Rodrigo Flores Sanchez and translated by Jen Hofer. I was intimidated by the book; poetry and in translation.

dolores

At times the text is in conversation. It’s call & response. A text to be read aloud. Sometimes there are two different dialogues occurring. I am the line between these two dialogues, mediating. Intervening.

“Everything has disappeared.
There are traces, signs. But everything has
disappeared. There are translations.”

At times the text is shouting & whispering. Like a conversation within a conversation. As I read aloud the words waver between loud and soft. The italicized is to be whispered, just audible. The regular font is the shouting, the words you are not afraid to say. They play on each other, work together//contradict.

“La poesia se me olvida
como se me olvido tu cuerpo reventado”

The Spanish side speaks to me in ways the English translation can not. My relationship with this language resurrected, partly, through this book. There’s something about reading poetry in another language. The ebb and flow off tongue in ways English fails. The forgetting of poetry. The forgetting of burst body.

I found “Intervenir/Intervene” when I was rediscovering my own story. The story of my Latinx heritage, buried with my father in 2001. I began feeling more comfortable with Spanish, making an effort to read more books in translation. Dorantes/Sanchez gave me the confidence to keep relearning, keep facing the past disappeared.
Because there were traces, signs.

day folded into itself frayed sweater crumbling into the drawer : a saucer
ringed with mice armature of soft bodies & words : imperative marked
with silence or wasteful knees : hose in hand making teams on the
window : many days are like this : keen eye in the mirror looking sensible,
looking on : looking out from the inside of a green-rimmed leaf hard &
brittle : the source of a wind that carries imps down from the mountains :
drops them on the doorstep ::

eric saenz Erick Sáenz is a Latinx writer from Los Angeles, currently living in San Jose. He is a contributing editor for the online journal http://www.cheersfromthewasteland.com/  In 2017 he launched a poetry zine series called Saplings. In addition to several self-released chapbooks, his fiction has previously appeared in Hobart, Entropy, Alien Mouth, and Elderly Magazine. He drinks too much coffee. You can find his work at: http://ignorethedisclaimer.tumblr.com/

Want more poetry month? go back to day 4 : MGB on Bhanu Kapil 

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