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Unitedstatesean Notes: "El Mojado" and "La Migra"

June 24, 2008

Click here: Unitedstatesean Notes: “El Mojado” and “La Migra”, by Juan Felipe Herrera

This week’s “undocumented poem” (it’s actually two) comes from one of Juan Felipe’s earlier collections, Loteria Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives. The book is a collaboration with the artist Artemio Rodriguez. The poems are accompanied by linocuts, or maybe its the other way around. You should get this book for all the wonderful imagery in both the linocuts and the poems.


The sour races, the time-quilted feet,

the horse-man with a badge on his nose,

this border Vaseline smoothed into my cute hair,

best of all, the tiny fever bones under

my naked feet, these, I know.

Call them Matamoros-New York

Call them Agua Prieta-Seattle

Call them Tecate-West Liberty, Iowa

Call them Aguililla-San Quintin

I count shadows, I follow them, wherever I go.

They adjust their little mirrors, they guide me,

you want to run with me, esta noche?


This is your twin without the other-half,

the child-eye dipped in soldier oil,

on the side of the night-scanner wheel.

Listen to his guitar-tongue, his lobo spirit

how he howls along the border-wire, how the moon

falls over his terrible lips, so much desire

his borderlands so infinite.

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