Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pan de Muerto

I received this wonderful poem dedicated to a dear poet, Mr. Trinidad Sanchez Jr., who recently passed away this year. He meant a great deal to a lot of people. So, this weekend at the Houston Poetry Festival, poet Alan Birkelbach read this wonderful poem for Trino. I'd like to share it with everyone. We miss you Trino!

Pan de Muerto
for Trinidad Sanchez Jr.

Trinidad, I am afraid I am too white
to talk about you
But, my brown amigo, this is my ofrenda for you
If I walk down the streets on
El Dia de los Muertos
some of my steps will be for you.
I cannot trill my r’s like you,
and the tilde’s, like paqueno, sueno, malaguena,
sound flat and artificial.
But I do not think you will hold that against me.
I think
you would think
it would be fine.
On this night
you would expect all lovers of the word,
be they brown, white, or otherwise,
to raise the agua de tamarindo,
to flake away the sopapillas,
and to tell stories of what it is you loved,
wrapped up in a metaphor of masa.
a metonymy of mole’.
Ah, The bread that is passion.
The passion that is poetry.
The poetry in the pan de muerto.
Hey, Trinidad. I am only a white man
with a white dog; how wonderful!
Did you know a white dog of this breed
is called a Spook? Aaaiiiee! It is a
symbolic sign! I am afraid
we live only in the moment, me and my dog,
and that we do not know how
to call on our antepasados
as well as you.
But this season, this night,
The Day of the Dead,
being what we are,
we will live in the moment of passion,
and because I met you,
because I remember you,
my ghost dog and I will split
a loaf of dead bread together,
and we will howl joyously,
and full,
at the moon.

© Alan Birkelbach

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