Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


when you tie rope and ribbon

for oscar lópez rivera

you make two knots
so that years and names
can climb up or down

uniting thick and thin threads
simplicities and opacities
tense and resolved dialectics

your eyes are closed fists
that guide your hands
so the ribbon may last centuries
or until we have no need
to unleash forces
or unarm states


cuando amarras soga y cinta

para oscar lópez rivera

creas dos nudos
para que puedan subir o bajar
años y nombres

uniendo hebras gruesas y finas
simplicidades y opacidades
dialécticas tensas y resueltas

tus ojos son puños cerrados
que guían tus manos
para que la cinta dure siglos
o hasta que no haya necesidad
de desatar fuerzas
y desarmar estados

Credit


From x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación) (poems for the nation). Copyright © 2018 by Raquel Salas Rivera. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press.

Author


Raquel Salas Rivera

Raquel Salas Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and grew up there and in the United States. He received a BA from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Rivera is the author of several collections of poetry, including antes que isla es volcán/ before island is volcano (Beacon Press, forthcoming 2022); x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación) (poems for the nation) Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2020), which was selected by Alberto Ríos for the 2018 Ambroggio Prizewhile they sleep (under the bed is another country) (Birds, LLC, 2019), which was longlisted for the 2020 PEN America Open Book Award and was a finalist for CLMP’s 2020 Firecracker Award; and lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018), which received the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry.

Rivera also authored tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia, 2017) and Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente, 2011), both of which were published in Puerto Rico. Rivera is co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón (Anomalous Press, 2019), a collection of contemporary Puerto Rican poets.

In 2019, Rivera was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and served as the 2018–2019 poet laureate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He now writes and teaches in Puerto Rico.

Date Published: 2018-09-28

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/when-you-tie-rope-and-ribbon