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About this Poem 

“While listening to Albert Goldbarth read his line, ‘manual typewriters 8 miles high,’ in rocket speed, I wrote in similar manner. Later, I chipped and chopped words. Spiced it up a little with Ishmael Reed, His Holiness—the Dalai Lama and Einstein—they help me think about the big picture, about kindness and the unknown.”
—Juan Felipe Herrera


Juan Felipe Herrera, 1948

For Albert Goldbarth & Margarita Robles

Are you going to steal lines collect
manual typewriters 8 miles high the serotonin Albert
Goldbarth mentions the sugary night the howling
speeding most of all are you going to hobble here—
                                                             time travel?
a possible future burns your dolphin karma
forking out 500 lives from now 
Whitman in piyamas spotted leopard-like piercing
the unavoidable Void the obsessed B-B-Q where we swoop
                   Bruja 			Hoodoo scribble
it is popping Hendrix in your head it is Joplin &
Flor Silvestre & Rosetta Tharpe & Itzpapalotl do you know 
how awake you are 
                                               8 Fold Path
too dark 
too lightning
the visualization is next 
the Ukrainian purge the intercontinental money money
O Tsunami where is my crystal realized selfie
          O my love my next Warhol dream in 
     revolution rouge & where is
my electric emerald wand rain Vajra
roll the ink & fire stones 	   unfold the third eyes 
the ten million arms of Tara & Einstein
of compassion of mercy of nebula rails come alive
jellyfish flags i bow to you 
                  jellyfish world wheel of 
swish & suffering

Copyright © 2014 by Juan Felipe Herrera. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 11, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Born in Fowler, California, on December 27, 1948, Herrera is director of the Art and Barbara Culver Center for the Arts, a multimedia space in downtown Riverside, California. He was elected an Academy Chancellor in 2011.

by this poet

longtime hermano Bob          tells me
one of the monks in brown directs us to the deep sink
made of two sinks the hose & the silver table where all 
the spoons & metal tongs are clean
wait at the entrance for directions the monk gave me
but he is in there & points me to another sink
made of two


Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

1. Go back to the grain yellow hills where the broken speak of elegance
2. Walk up to the canvas door, the short bed stretched against the clouds