Title En Un Auto Arteriado
Author A.J. Stoughton
Tags poetry, translation, Vallejo
Release Fall '20

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EXCERPT

This is not a book about translation

or a book.

I don’t speak the Spanish it wants.

My beloved with her blonde hair pulled up

in a bun with pearl earrings, staring at the shops

slurping pizza on eighth avenue with her fat dad,

I dedicate this whole maneuver to your stainless steel

water, your future by the coast

of all Carolinas: an unmovable, actual past

constructed wholly unlike you,

the history of flavored ice, the titanic symbol

system of your hoop earrings, your high, frightening

denim, your black hair— I dedicate this to the models.

New York in the age of Vallejo. The Mid-Atlantic in my age

of Vallejo, a crisp age, a set of years extending back beyond

a first encounter: a birth of the world as the primitives in Florence

experience sky on gold leaf. I am a dedicated,

impassioned cause, if I am honest and true

in how I dream, think, and imagine the future for the others

I plan to live my life. O tussled matte of blonded curl above

the moka pot screaming, Parisian, maybe, in Madrid, but never

actually Spanish; beauty of Buenos Aires, the city New

York still thinks it is. O rigid element to right my life.

O guiltless coke. O blood war beneath the keys as they swing

below the crotch, as the air smells of gasoline, as the black Cadillac

pulls through north Brooklyn. Babies up in the skylight, backless blouse

concealing a murder. O way of speaking that sets me

Beauty in the vast expanse without substitute

won’t maintain the love, the work.

This book speaks Spanish.

To love the other as you would their tongue—

to examine the tongue, or lead the examined tongue,

into a unified sensory field, a principle by which to appreciate, or examine, the arches,

I accept a series of moves.

At night the states shift:

the provinces, the districts, regional capitols, regal

deaths in the Philippines sleep, the high ship

on the break of the wave, in the colors of Napoli,

the lives of the artists that render the left hip, the pudge,

of those to be seen— I dedicate these bodies

to the system of symbols they need. New Spain

sleeps in soft waves. New Spain’s got its skull split

beneath the G: the Union put its gut upon the railings

of the mid-century boardwalks, along Delaware. Because

of the Vallejo, I am unhappy, determined in the ways I need,

free to be unhappy, realistic,

in the unsafe past, the blocks that have been blocks,

the brick of my Mary-Anne, the detritic coffee

and the beef rib, the sesame, the bun soaked

and the tallow on the counter. I am in it— the dream of my cities.

Or the dream of my love. Or the way in which she dreams.

Or you, who floats along the edge of all words, who

means so much, all things said, are said to you.

All things are said otherwise