Bilingual, Poetry

Trespasser Shoes and other poems

by César Love


Trespasser Shoes

Shoes perfect for the fastest dance
Shoes so cool
Even jaywalkers swoon.
Shoes that scale barbed wire
Two taps and you’re invisible
To every cop and guard.
Shoes that violate the dress code
Shoes that never came in a box.
The shoes that skip over stairs
That short-circuit escalators
Three taps and you leap above
Foul lines, flag poles, border checkpoints.
Trespasser shoes
Polished with a darker shade of saint.
Hiding in your closet
Waiting to walk on water.


Trespasser Shoes

Versión al español: Fer de la Cruz

Idóneos zapatos para el baile más veloz,

tan chéveres

que incluso los peatones que cruzan carreteras acaban extasiados;

zapatos que trascienden las púas de los alambres:

dos golpes de tacón y te vuelves invisible

a los ojos de la migra y patrullas fronterizas;

zapatos desafiantes de códigos de ropa;
zapatos que no vienen en cajas de zapatos

y vuelan por encima de escaleras,

y que incluso provocan algún corto circuito

por la escalera eléctrica que esté sobrevolando:

tres golpes de tacón y ya trasciendes
interminables colas, astas de las banderas y retenes;

zapatos para entradas ilegales

boleados con oscura piel de santo

ocultos en tu clóset, en espera del momento

de caminar también sobre las aguas.



The Slowest Dance


What child is not enthralled by the pendulum’s easy swing?

The rolling advance and return of the Jupiter ball.


When the wine in autumn seeps dry, our eyes bind to the staff.

Will it topple at next rush? Should we align with the coup?


Lean forward from the lawn chair and dissect the noonday sky.

Will the fog brim to rain? Will it ever retreat to blue?


Migrate to wildflower meadows. Follow the Carnival.

Advance the tape to the rapture of a favorite song.


But return to the green of your birth and stroll sleeveless in rain.

Drink there and sing to a quiet song of the slowest dance.





I only know your letters, your voice

The pictures show more gloss than you


Trust me to see your face

Without make-up, without neon


I’ll take you to my hidden place

And trust you with the map


A cratered street with broken lamps

We’ll beam beneath each other’s rays



Wedding Presents


To the certain couple

In uncertain times


When the street noise whelms

Give them a ladder to the rooftop garden


When shrapnel falls

Give them a veil from the world we witness


When the sky blackens

Give them the stars, wishful, eternal


To the certain couple

In uncertain times


Give them a drum, sonorous and large

One rhythm that weds four hands


To the certain couple

In uncertain times


Give them our thank you

For their weather of hope cascading upon us


César Love is a Latino poet influenced by the Asian masters. A resident of San Francisco’s Mission District and an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, he has worked as a reporter and taught creative writing to recipients of general assistance. His book While Bees Sleep will soon be published by CC. Marimbo Press. He first fell in love with Merida when he was eleven years old. He had the great pleasure of staying there for three weeks of April.


Art by Judith Shaw