Una revista de arte y literatura, sin fronteras generacionales ni geográficas
Last Night I Dreamt I Was a DJ
I call Miguel on the phone and ask him
if he thinks I would be better off as a DJ or as a poet
and Miguel answers as a Poet.
My girlfriend also says Poet.
My girlfriend’s brother says Poet
and the chick I met when she was in line behind me at the movie
Girls tend to see more as a DJ
while the women shopping at the supermarkets
say that I should stick with the poems.
My mother says Poet.
The plumber says Poet.
The five poets I know all say
I’d be better off as a DJ.
My sister abstained from voting.
I went to see DJ Tiesto
and a gringa grabbed my hands
and said that DJs are creatures of God.
They’re angels, she said and while she was talking
I imagined all the DJs with their turntables
flying around God like mosquitoes
and God shooing them away
with his hand.
But the question is whether the poets and the DJs
can be reconciled;
if they can be One,
if it’s possible to write poems with one hand
and with the other scratch records,
if it’s possible to be half-poet, half-DJ,
to be a poet above the waist
and below the waist a DJ
or vice versa
or maybe, during a full moon, a poet
could transform into a DJ
or maybe I’m complicating everything
and the fact is every DJ wants to be a poet
and every poet wants to be a DJ.
There’s a legend in which a DJ and a poet
fall into a well.
they shout and shout until
a man appears and throws down
a rope. The DJ climbs up first but when
they throw the rope back to the poet he screams, «Leave me down here»,
and the man and the DJ do so. They wait in silence
for a little while, and then they leave.
Let’s be clear, you’ll never be
And I’ll never be García Lorca.
You’ll keep poisoning these neighborhoods
With your smoke and I’ll keep writing poems
With this keyboard.
Hurricanes will come and go.
The buses, each one more broken than the last,
Will keep crossing Independence Avenue.
The Chinese take-outs will multiply.
The evangelical churches.
And where there was a house
they’ll put a high-rise.
And where there was a park or a playground
They’ll put up a supermarket, a housing project
and a string of motels.
And those of us who were walking
down the street with a ball
now are walking with a pistol.
And we wake up to the ambulance siren
we reach for our own bodies
to make sure that it isn’t coming from us.
Metaldom, how many Toyotas, how many Mazdas
how many Daihatsus,
will you sacrifice tonight?
As if from the stanzas
of a Greek epic
your column of smoke rise up from the sea
to appease the gods.
But the Gods are gone already
and they left no forwarding addresses.
Metaldom, in 2060 you’ll be a five-star hotel.
I’ll be a grumpy old man
in a wheelchair
reciting poems on Sundays
You’ll never be General Motors
and I’ll never be García Lorca.
Don’t forget it.
The best is when
you lock the door
and there’s just you and the poem
and you have no choice but to ask yourself
if you’re as good as they said you were the other day
or as terrible as they always say.
Or when you write a poem
so intense you end up coming
inside your jeans.
Or when you feel like you are writing one
that your great-grandchildren are going to read
and you think they are going to feel
what you once felt
and I believe it was Joyce who said
he feels as if the other, in the act of reading
re-invents the words
of a poem.
I’ve torn up papers and poems
for my own pleasure
like the guitar player
in the Buenos Aires subway
who carefully plucked out a melody
and then slammed his guitar
on the floor until it broke into little pieces.
Writing is like walking.
every word I write
is a step I’m taking.
How far have I come?
Am I home yet?
Frank Báez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1978. His poetry books include Jarrón y otros poemas (Editorial Betania, Madrid, 2004), Págales tú a los psicoanalistas (Editorial Ferilibro, Santo Domingo, 2007), Postales (Editorial Casa de poesía, San José, 2008; Editorial Textos de Cartón, Córdoba, 2009, Editorial Cara de Cuis, Córdoba, 2010, 2011; Editorial Ediciones De a Poco, Santo Domingo, 2011; Ediciones Liliputienses, Madrid, 2012), En Rosario no se baila cumbia (Editorial Folía, Buenos Aires, 2011), and Last Night I Dreamt I Was a DJ (Anoche soñé que era un DJ) (Jai-Alai, Miami). In 2007, he received the Premio Internacional de Cuento Joven de la Feria Internacional del Libro for his book Págales tú a los psicoanalistas. In 2008, he received the Premio Nacional de Poesía de la República Dominicana for his book Postales.