“1984,” by Manuel Paul Lopez

Manuel Paul Lopez was born and raised in the U.S.-Mexican border region of El Centro, California, and received degrees from the University of California, San Diego and San Francisco State University. His work has been published in Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue, ZYZZYVA, Hanging Loose, and Rattle, among others, and anthologized in Roque Dalton Redux (Cedar Hill Publications). Lopez has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. With his wife, he currently lives in San Diego. His first book entitled Death of a Mexican and other Poems was published by Bear Star Press in 2006 and was awarded the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize. His chapbook, 1984, has just been released by Amsterdam Press.

his blog is http://manuelpaullopez.blogspot.com/

Manuel Paul Lopez

THERE IS A HOLE IN MY LIVING ROOM
for Macedonio, Manuel, and Fidencio

There is a hole in my living room that my grandfather cannot climb out from. I bring him water sometimes, because I know he’s thirsty, because I know his medication dehydrates him, I know the crackers and salami he loves to eat need to be washed down with something. But I can only hear the incomprehensible echoes of Spanish like the death hum of a gasping bird trying to lift itself out of the darkness. I leave each glass of water around the hole in my living room like a vigil of glass and water alive with sunlight. No one drinks them. There are 2,700 glasses of water near that hole but no one will drink them. My grandfather has died, and there are 2,700 glasses of water near a large hole in my living room where my grandfather used to dance, where he used to sing El Rey and balance all of his nietos like a dozen brown canaries across his biceps. My grandfather has died, and there are 2,700 glasses of water that cannot satisfy our thirst.

–from Rattle #23, Summer 2005

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