Pick-a-Poem: Javier Etchevarren


Happy Wednesday, blog readers! Wednesday means one thing around here: it’s time for another Pick-a-Poem post! Every Wednesday, we find a new poem to feature here on the blog. Hopefully it’s from someone whose work you haven’t read before. These poems come from the very helpful site, Poetry Daily. They feature a new poem every single day, so be sure to check them out! This week we are featuring three poems from the poet Javier Etchevarren, Glue, Punta Carretas, and Garbage Dump.

According to his bio on the Poetry Daily website, Javier Etchevarren is a Uruguayan poet, who is the author of Desidia. His poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Maldoror and Letra Nueva. His work has also been included in an anthology, ME USA, which was published in Peru. Several of his works will be included in the forthcoming collection, América Invertida: An Anthology of Younger Uruguayan Poets.

These poems were translated by Don Bogen, whose most recent book is entitled An Algebra.

Three Poems by Javier Etchevarren


always on the same corner
pablo relaxes with his plastic bag
shoulders defeated
eyes on loan
hands unrecognizable
legs subdued
pablo collapses with his plastic bag
while his neighbors blame the habit
while his mother lights candles for him
pablo gets lost with his plastic bag
anti-hunger pill
(after maté for lunch)
anti-boredom stupefaction
(there’s no future to make the present worth interest)
tragicomedy turned inward
unique self-torture
with a stunned smile and profound despair
that makes the plastic bag
more sticky every time

Punta Carretas

the prison is a shopping center now
that boutique was my cell
its plate glass windows my bars
I don’t see the cattle prod among the electrical appliances
filthy rags aren’t in fashion
the courtyard is easier to get to now it’s a parking lot
the wall I used to talk with became an elevator
there’s less damp, less mildew, less silence
and every day is visiting day

I love the way it smells now and all those open doors

the developers are discussing
its plans for expansion
its sleazy eroticism
the distant smile in its eyes
all the makeup everywhere
I hear one say
“Get me out of here!”
and it makes me sad

Garbage Dump

dessert for the starving
where there are people there’s garbage
where there are people there’s hope
including the hope to live off garbage

putrefaction central
surplus of misery
the despicable man is the celebrity of throwaways
appliances gone senile, the latest styles in shreds, storm clouds
of plastic, maggot bonfire
to pass through life is to feed a garbage dump
laying out provisions
for an impoverished bacchanal

I hope you enjoyed these poems from Javier Etchevarren. For more posts like this, click here!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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