“It is starting from the works of feminist thinkers like Donna Haraway, bell hooks and Silvia Federici that I find the theoretical framework to channel my writing and my vision of the world: it is urgent for our survival to repair the harm that the heteropatriarchy has done to men and women, and to the planet itself”.

I recently reached the conclusion that I am a guitar.  
There were numerous clues that suggested the above, but until now  
I had lived blinded to them.  
Firstly there are of course my handsome curves,  
the resonant hollow in my chest,  
my stiff arms,  
the tension of strings that keep me tied  
to who knows what hair-raising notes of the past.  
To that we must add my ability to align my body  
against that of a musician,  
my fondness for the numbers five and twelve,  
my being able to sound only when strummed,  
my inevitable position as an object 
my connection to balconies and bad poets 
my repeatability in simple chords 
my dusty fretboard 
my fixed form 
my frustration at not being a hat,  
or a bird,  
or a tree,  
or a violin at least.  
Every day I rise early for work,  
hang from a wall,  
or a shoulder,  
or sit on a knee,  
and repeat the phrases of the dead,  
phrases that are not mine,  
lever of the histrionic,  
ancient shell. 
One thought and only one  
brings me solace: that endings are mere artifice.  
Nothing starts or ends. Not even I 
started at my navel or end at my skin.

This poem will be published in Split (Blue Diode Press, press format) and Manca y más poemas (EOLAS, press format). Translated into English by the author.

To Sergio González Rodríguez
We watched as they flayed the earth  
muscles pulsating under topsoil  
topskin bunched up under the scraping tool 
We had loved the mountain’s beauty as the creases 
around our mother’s smile 
We called it ‘the overburden’ 
and in full swing unpaired we indexed earnings 
invited ourselves to walk the bloodred carpet 
up the staircase amidst flashing successes 
We said “the surface material  
covering the valuable deposit” 
Because it is running out, we must steal faster 
because we were taught  
because the law of money is greater 
It is winter still and the earth is thawing. 
We erect barriers of dry branches like the pagans 
the water is dragged here in wheelbarrows 
And we allow the torn mountains  
to wrap themselves again around the silver 
To place the body between the cogs  
to dig in the body for the valuable deposit 
to open the body 
to make a triangular incision in the body  
To cross the border of the body 
to be the midwife of the body 
to pull out with pliers from the body 
to pull the braids of the body 
to distinguish the body 
to feel with the body’s fingers 
to forget the weight of the body 
to structure the body 
to flee from the body 
to cross the line dividing the body 
To hear the sand sing 
the lizards scuttle between the rocks  
the routes traced by bison across 
The body with most traffic 
the body enjoying a moment of solitude 
the body unknotted 
the florid body 
the body that frequents night clubs 
the broken body 
the tamed body 
the body found in Lote Bravo 
the body that does not demand respect 
the body on the edge of the bed, throat half slit 
the pitcher body 
the body that rises for work when it’s still night 
the body painted with sheet creases 
the body arm of the industry 
the cyborg body 
the body with hands tied with the laces of its own shoes 
the body that needs to be accompanied by a man 
the body in black plastic bags 
the body that is the temple of god 
the body from whose nipples nourishment flows 
the body that does not belong to the body 
the colonized body 
the body folded between seat and steering wheel  
mind body 
abaseable body 
dishonored body 
intoxicated body 
brown body 
long-haired body 
the body found in Lomas de Poleo 
the body so filthy it is not a person 
the body with sleeves open like fucsias 
the body astray 
the body dumped alive 
the body left unrecognizable 
the body lacking sufficient information 
the body with no marks of strangulation 
the body with the full force of the law 
the effaced body 
the body that drew circles with the pelvis 
the body in search of opportunities 
the migrated body 
the self-improved body 
the rebellious body 
the bone remains of a body  
the teeth of a body memorized by a mother 
the body separated from the soul 
the body recognised by its tattoos 
the body in found Cerro Bola 
the body planted like a message 
the body with a voice ignored 
the pillaged body  
the looted body 
As Joshua Whitehead said, 
“the best part  
about having 
no body 
is that we cannot be shamed” 
That’s why we got rid of our body 
that’s why we took off our body like giftwrap 
The body that knew 
the body that desired 
The body in a dorsal decubitus position 
The now deceased woman 
moved like a serpent in bed 

His sleep was dark. 
The city  
was swallowing our money 
and flashing it at us again 
like a coin pusher machine. 

I lay awake, 
a Tibetan hungry ghost 
whispering grains  
of sand:  

one by  
they fell 
from my lips  
to his ear. 

I watched the storm roll away, the blue  
way the skyline  
was coming into view. 

The house sighed, 
out of breath. How hard 
it was working 
to keep us  

One grain  
of sand is still stuck 
in my throat. I cough,  
for an ablution 
like the reflection of water 
on the side of the boat. 
Make me  
what I am  
(said the boat to the water) 
because I’ve never  
been able  
to be it alone. 
Because I know nothing 
else but the print of your hand  
where you struck me  
(said the boat to the water). 
And why is this of note? 
That the water in its ways 
knew where the ache was. 
Where, medicinally, 
to put the kiss. 
The more you hurt me (said the boat) the less 
it hurts. 

We wake  
late and sticky.  
The little cough still lodged 
in my throat like a crumb or a gruff  
repetition of performativity: 
“I’m this, I’m this, I’m this” 
He offers me water and I barely “mmm” 
unsure if this means yes or no. 
To him it’s a yes. 
So I drink. 

Cold water  
down the center 
to fold myself in half 
and in half again 
lift the pleated flaps 
till I’m a math paper 
Splay myself out again, 
show the folds. 
Must smoothe down, 
not let the water gather 
or slide in straight  
I’m this, cough, I’m this, cough. 

From my throat I pull a red thread, 
almost living. 
I pull long, long.  
Lanky lines  
of red algebra are drawn. 
This is my math problem: 
one plus one plus one
does not make a marriage, but listen. 
His voice is hollow 
and wind, like birds’ bones.

This poem is displayed in Manca y más poemas (EOLAS, press format) and its English translation, by Robin Myers, is published in Manca (Argonáutica, 2019).

This body of a woman I inhabit 
from which I’ve raised a hand to touch the hair on the head of a Moses suddenly moved  
to the inside-out weeping of an entire childhood 
of slicing rabbits upper lip stiffened bearing the world 
having his way with voltmeters brandishing monkey wrenches drilling walls soldiers protecting 
the softness of our angles our wisdom of curtains, from which I’ve batted eyelashes to seduce three, four from which I’ve traced 
the sinuous “S” of desire 
which Cratylus called “serpent” and Adam called “perception of flux” 
from which I’ve tired of nursing 
like Teresa and Diana 
the fear they didn’t feel when they touched lepers 
with their immaculate hands, the lips 
with which they kissed 
their blessed wounds, from which I’ve scrubbed the axel grease 
letting fibers soak in a universal river of saliva from which I’ve bled drops miscarried fertilized the wheat the ivy from which I’ve been all-fat of the land where goats graze 

This poem and its English translation by Robin Myers is published in Manca (Argonáutica, 2019).

What really sets me off is when 
the sun digs its dentist hooks into my knees 
and scrapes extracts tubercles  
She roams the floorboards 
kneels before her husband hugs him 
his knees pressing into her belly 
there’s vomit hurricane howls 
she stands on her head in lotus pose 
her thighs watch the moon  
close its only lid 
the neighbors retort but why if the anaesthesia 
progress antiseptic lazy 
(I remember Diego’s greenblue characters in The Arrival of Cortés 
their swollen knees misshapen) 
They named the baby “eye of the storm” and he spoke 
on the first day 
with the tips of his eyes alone 
The snow outside fell faster slipped into mourning 
we watched it together  
Little boy 
little eye of mine I said to him I felt like crying when I saw you 
And he knew qué parte de mí was worthless

Juana Adcock

Juana Adcock (Mexico 1982) is a poet and translator. Her texts have been included in publications like Magma Poetry, Shearsman, Gutter, the Glasgow Review of Books, Asymptote and Words Without Borders. Her first collection of poems, Wanting (Manca, Tierra Adentro, 2014; Argonáutica 2019), explores the anatomy of violence in Mexico and was named as one of the best poetry books published in the country in 2014. In 2016 she was nominated as one of the ‘Ten New Voices of Europe’ by the Literature Across Frontiers organisation. She has participated in several international festivals, and her work has been translated into more than ten languages. She lives in Glasgow, where she also plays music with the groups Las Mitras and The Raptors.