I had the opportunity to see Tato Laviera give a performance at my college. In all honesty, I can’t remember if I was still a student or recently graduated. This was, as my mother would say, many moons ago. His book, Enclave, still sits on my shelf after all these years.
I wish my memory wasn’t as so bad, or that I had the foresight that I would one day dedicate an entire month of my blog to National Poetry Month. That way, I could write about the way Tato Laviera recited his poems. His mannerisms. The way he discussed each one or his writing methods.
I do remember one thing though, and I hope I’m attributing it to the right poet. The way he discussed his method of writing, or the way he saw it. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that the words are already there. He just had to pluck them from the air.
Please enjoy his poem “AmeRícan.”
AmeRícan, across forth and across backfrom Benedición: The Complete Poetry of Tato Laviera
back across and forth back
forth across and back and forth
our trips are walking bridges!
it all dissolved into itself, an attempt
was truly made, the attempt was truly
absorbed, digested, we spit out
the poison, we spit out in malice,
we stand, affirmative in action,
to reproduce a broader answer to the
marginality that gobbled us up abruptly!