Poetry, translation

Tulum and other poems

by Fer de la Cruz



To write, I heard you need

to find an ideal spot.

A beach in the Caribbean

will invoke all the muses who´ll descend

from deepest and most joyous blue skies,

or they´ll appear by swimming and as nude

among the foam of turquoise,

so I heard.


Then you will grab your pen

and poetry will flow,

one verse per wave,

one word per grain of sand upon your skin,

a master metaphor for every leaf

of palm tree shaken by the breeze.


It doesn´t work for me.

Attempts shattered, scarred on rocks,

ideas blown asunder,

my thoughts snarled in sargazo weed.

The ocean nearly drowned me.

All these muses

don´t even look at me.

All I´m getting is sunburn

and sand scratching my crotch.


Another Scotch, garçon!

before I dissolve into prose.




Breakfast at Xpakay


To Jonathan Harrington


“Time for a healthy breakfast”, as they say,

starting with café, bacon, galletas,

the songs of birds by the hundreds—

one chachalaca yelling from a treetop:

“Keep-it-up, keep-it-up, keep-it-up!”

as the chorus replies:

“Cut-it-out, cut-it-out, cut-it-out!” *

The chuck-will´s-widow singing:



Of course the conversation about birds

is part of breakfast at Xpakay

with the smell of firewood

and chicken al carbón, Harrington style

as the breeze rakes the trees.


“And then we´re reading poetry?—You say—

at 9:30 in the morning?

That´s not normal. What´s wrong with you two poets?”

—You keep babbling and babbling

worst than a chachalaca

as you open your second can of beer.


* Dr. A. A. Allen´s description of the Plain Chcachalaca´s “chicken like crackle”, as quoted by Roger Terry Peterson and Edward L. Chalif in “Mexican Birds” (The Easton Press, 1984), found in Jonathan Harrington´s personal library at Hacienda Xpakay, any given morning in rural Yucatán, México.



They Might Think that I Am an Angel

English translation by Jonathan Harrington


God gave me an editing job.

Between dreams I would mark the errors,

all the way from a primordial Alpha

to an impending Omega still under construction.

I saw the universe in rough draft.

There was very little love in long paragraphs of human history.

The most serious errors were ones of conscience

but those were left uncorrected—

well, it was not my job.

Human acts, like it or not,

are indelible.


Today an angel revealed to me

that my check was not yet ready;

it had to be approved by Saint Peter,

who willed to Judas the accounts of heaven

and on the other hand, the pay would be eternal

when Creation is finally finished.

And in the meantime—how do I live?

How do I eat? With what do I pay rent or transportation?

Who will save me later from the Purgatory of the credit bureau?


Now I understand why they say we are made in the image of God.

On Earth, everything is the same. But I´m not lifting my red pen.

I throw into the fire all my corrections.

Let them solve their own problems.


I hope humanity will correct itself

if it believes in a Destiny poorly written in some dead language

with that beginning and end imposed from above,

in the endless spiral of time

where no one is in the least interested

if I am paid or not.




Creerán que soy un ángel


Le hice a Dios un trabajo de corrección de estilo.

Entre sueños señalé las erratas

del Alfa milenaria al ya cercano Omega aún en construcción.

Vi el Universo, hecho a la carrera.

Había muy poco amor en largos párrafos del devenir humano.

Los errores más graves eran los de conciencia

pero estos los dejé sin señalar

pues no era mi función; total

los actos, quiéralo o no, son indelebles.


Hoy me revela un ángel

que mi cheque no va a salir aún:

debe ser aprobado por San Pedro,

quien heredó de Judas las cuentas celestiales,

y que en cambio, mi paga será eterna

cuando haya concluido la Creación.

¿Y mientras de qué vivo,

qué como, con qué pago la renta y el transporte…?

¿Quién me redime luego del purgatorio de un buró de crédito?


Ahora entiendo por qué dicen que somos

a imagen y semejanza del Creador.

En la Tierra es igual. Pero ya no muevo un dedo.

Eché al fuego el trabajo corregido

y que vean cómo le hacen.


La Humanidad que se corrija sola

si cree en un Destino

malescrito en algún idioma muerto

con principio y final impuestos desde lo alto,

en la espiral eterna de los tiempos

en donde no interesa en lo más mínimo

si me pagan o no.




Fernando de la Cruz Herrera (Yucatán, México, 1971) holds an MA in Spanish from Ohio University and a BA in Philosophy. As an independent editor, writer, and cultural promoter, he has participated in cultural festivals, conferences, and book fairs in Mexico, Cuba, France, and the United States. His poems appeared in the books “Redentora la voz” (Ayuntamiento de Mérida, 2010), “Aliteletras. De la a a la que quieras” (Dante, 2011), “Sabotaje a la che y otros poemas de martirologio” (Secretaría de la Cultura y las Artes de Yucatán, in print) and in the chapbook “Seven Songs of Silent, Singing Fireflies” (JKPublishing, 2008). He has received two national, two regional, and one state-wide poetry awards in Mexico. His main passions are poetry (which he often finds in theatre, music, film…), language teaching made fun, and the constant discovery of the flavors, shapes, and depths of human life / delacrux@hotmail.com.