Poetry Spotlight #3: Martha Mega

Poetry Spotlight #3: Martha Mega


One of the most enriching, forward-thinking, fastest-growing online creative communities flourishing right now is the Poetry community, especially in those scenes that center on marginalized voices — Women, POC, Neurodivergent, and LGBTQ. Poetry Spotlight is a feature aiming to showcase the work of some of the most talented creators we’ve discovered making waves on the Internet literary circles, inside or outside the mainstream. This third installment is dedicated to the work of Mexican artist Martha Mega.

 

Martha is a poet, performer, theater director, and musician from Mexico City, and she’s considered one of the leading voices in the Metropolitan scene. She runs the company Sí o Sí Teatro and has recently won the top prize in the literary translation section of the Punto de Partida festival. She released the poetry book Vergüenza (Shame), in 2017, on Mantarraya Ediciones. She has performed throughout the country both as a solo spoken-word act and with Literal Sound Machine, a multi-disciplinary collective that incorporates poetry into their audiovisual performances.

 

Shame of stillness

 

did you see, God, what they did to me?

i should not be welcomed so up there
i look another
picked apart
i am another spur on my mother’s side

God, you’ll say i’ve not taken proper care
of this, which was only
mine

there was no one
to fix my hair up a tad
sew up my pride
darn my entrails

who knows if anyone here will pass
to throw a rag
over the hips
before the pictures

someone to whom i’d yell
i am the smell of broken glass that woke you
up last night
the stone where your son will step today

how they’ve left me, God,
these sons of yours
with blades between their legs
snakes
scorpions
fingers made of thistle
cascades of dry sand
under their eyes

because nothing can be heard
who knows if any god here will pass
to whom i’d yell

i am another cry torn off your throat
another shameful landscape of your hand
look at me, God,
if you still have the eyes
and strength
to see it

 

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

 

 

Brief

 

Ours 

if it is 

will be brief 

 

all that is beautiful is brief 

 

not our bodies 

non-encompassable

non-finishable 

corruptible 

 

both of us 

together

would be a tiny creature 

beautiful from sheer terror 

 

a bouquet of fresh feathers 

a joy-dough of petals 

 

Ours 

if it is 

will be brief 

 

almost better if it is not 

 

what is beautiful fevers me

and i play to kill 

the path of ants

in my chest 

and to tear apart 

one by one 

the wings of all the sweet words. 

 

 

 

On the slaughterhouse door, there was a huge number. It was number five

 

you wake up screaming in other tongues

even though your mother breast-fed you Hebrew

your father beat you up in Tzotzil

you kept your secrets in Arabic

 

here there are others who name themselves

aryans, mexicans, tutsis, israelis

pitifully

you’re not one of them

lost brother from Babel

you’ll know what to respond

if somebody asks you

what’s the sweetest thing in life

someone __ i don’t know __ from tralfamadore

what would you say?

 

i think they should come up

with better lies

or they’ll have to go on without us

 

they should tell us another story

so we can take strength and crawl

as the unfortunate mammals we are

on to a forest away from the flames

a forest made up of all forests

 

let them tell us a story about traveling to other planets

let’s go to ardent dresden which is like an ardent moon

or off to whistling acteal we go

to look at the stars or whatever crosses the sky in gaza

 

let there be the night of February 13th, 1945

or the lacandon morning of December 22nd, 1995

or that evening five years ago when mom did not return

 

if somebody asks you what’s the sweetest thing in life 

do you manage to sleep?

i would say

wake up now

in any tongue

we went and burned down the city while you were sleeping.

 

 

 

Pospone

 

i will not die because you leave i know 

twice i was about to marry 

guys that swore they could not live without me 

mysteriously

they survived 

as did my mother through three countries three 

marriages three wars without names 

she was never killed by heartbreak 

even though she wished so 

my world has ended several times 

but there’s always another one right behind 

like the layers of an onion 

there you were in one of these new worlds 

fresh like biting a fresh onion 

however it will all end soon 

for the first time in a definitive way 

my scientist brother has calculated it would take some 50 years 

to reach the heart of the onion 

pandemics floods weapons 

of global reach and much

much thirst 

what i want to say is

don’t go just yet you could 

wait a little 

what are 50 years. 

 

 

 

Border

 

i thought, what would i want from a poem

in the desert? would i want a poem

at all? 

one that could maybe serve as a staircase 

an alternative to dying of thirst 

one that survives at least three weeks without trying any food 

that knows what to do when i’m bitten by a snake 

or how to locate the northern star and why the fuck 

should we know how to locate the northern star

if it’s just as lost up there in a desert of bright thorns 

as me that knows where i am 

what i do not know is where is everything else 

i slept beneath the wall 

i dreamed of a staircase the biggest

a poem i could follow as a mosquito 

on to the next body of water 

on to the next body 

of anything 

as long as it moves 

but does not shoot. 

 

 

 

 

 

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