Four Poems by José Eugenio Sánchez

translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong


dying of thirst

(a song by nanker phelge)


that day we ate chickpeas with whiskas

and drank all the beers in the bodega

and chain-smoked joints till we rolled with laughter

and the sun came back up

and we bought warm superior

and when it seemed like things would come together

you asking for nails down your back or to be thrown to the floor

—I don’t remember exactly—

a water stain appeared on the carpet

shyly spreading

and then buckets and buckets and buckets and night all over again

and more buckets

and the caterwauling cats like an insolent violin

and the come-down

and it’s best you left through the window

and the empty fridge

dying of thirst

soaked    sneezing

I lay there in a daze


mick jagger won’t sing satisfaction at 50


you were in your mother’s arms

and the country in díaz ordaz’s


the black panther made wembley go wild

the crystal ball in his cleats

the field: imperial carpet rolled out: but no


bobby moore—so serious—

charlton the little bourgeois boy who greased the ball with melancholy

& gordon banks reversing gravity

(between nail-biting video takes)

they came close to the jules rimet

with a phantom goal that everyone saw didn’t go in

and let the jules rimet be kissed by royalty

yes isabel ii the one they threw a bottle at her car

in belfast


and franco: spain full of dust and grey streets

johnson bombing hai phong hanoi

and new delhi approving the slaughter of sacred cows


marlon brando films mutiny on the bounty

and for 200,000 dollars he buys

tetiaroa island in tahiti from madame duran

with the promise (very hippie of him) not to cut down a single tow tree

and then tragedies: the beatles refuse to give concerts

paul mccartney erases ringo’s tracks and rerecords with a different drummer

yoko ono sets in motion her evil plan to destroy the foursome


you were gurgling and people were talking about the death of george duhamel

buster keaton anna akhmatova andre breton

about the red guard in peking

about fidel castro and the encyclical of paul xi

about polypropylene

or peter paul & mary


: and the whole world was very busy

me for example

I was devoting myself to commentary on all matters

regarding brigitte bardot’s ass



the wife’s description of a paul klee painting


it’s got character: he’s thrown a bunch of vases against the wall


it’s elegant: he’s broken dishes and smashed spoons forks porcelain figurines a tape recorder and ashtrays against the floor to create a harmonious landscape


it’s in good taste: he arsenicly interwove a dialect reminiscent of chinese horoscopes


and she’s angry because there’s dust on the books

and she’s blond easy-going       

and never turns down a martini 



suicide note


it wasn’t the dart that hit the bullseye

not the poison or the butterfly on its tip


it wasn’t a lucky hit

it just took a little patience        and anyway

this was an easy target


do not charge this woman with making me blow my head off

for bringing the song of her waist to my lips


do not seek revenge on her

do not get attached to me


and don’t detain her in her wanton

passion when she takes her clothes off


just light the candles

turn up the music

make sure there’s plenty wine and cheese


in winter

disasters require subtlety