Fungus Skull Eye Wing, Selected Poems of Alfonso D'Aquino, Copper Canyon Press Longlisted for PEN Award in Translation

Impeccably translated from Spanish by Forrest Gander, fungus skull eye wing: selected poems of Alfonso D’aquino is a book of liquid perspective and Butoh-like gestures. Shifting along the margins of rational perception, D’aquino’s poetry, “draws us into dialogue with the world.” His language morphs into his observations: speech comes alive while the living world becomes speech in what Richard Howard has called “the most vivid and satisfying new poetry from Mexico that I have ever encountered.”

Presented bilingually,
fungus skull eye wing is, as Gander writes in his introduction, “fascinated by the nonhuman… Not ‘nature poetry’ as topic and commentary, but poetry as exploration (both formal and thematic) of the relationships between nature and culture, body and feeling, language and perception.”

Poems from this book have appeared in the following excellent literary journals:

Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art
Connotation Press: An Online Artifact
S/N New World Poetics
Poetry Northwest

Stacks Image 377

Vertical Fish/ graffiti

traced with a finger on the salty surface of a wall
with a bladder of dry blood it floats in rock its skeleton outside it
fish fish hook round hole
its feather-duster mouth stitched with blue wires
through skin water sucks in through skin water is expelled
lidless nameless fossil adrift hot and ocher
x-ray of the fish at its peak its radiant spume
mineralized when caves were still filled with tranquil water
the thorn hidden in the corners of phosphorescent
laugh caught in the mist-wrapped rock
a dense green mist in each pocket of flesh or primal water
forms a nest of saliva on the facing wall
lytic fish hatchetfish awl fish fish knifing through water
volcanic glass fish in the dawn of animality
dark magnetism in the cranial hollow extinct fish before language
cerulean naked fixed spherical spindle-shaped cylindrical red
discerning stormwater from wastewater
dorsal fins atrophied in the genetic play of crossbreeding fish
column and hole

it hears through the plaster to the interior wall
between stones chock-full with painted animals that nothing illuminates
fish emerging from fish through the unlocked skeleton
senseless to freshly putrefying tail-stems on the ground
hanging fish
unimaginably distorted returned to the bitter water under the tongue
the salt-tortured liquid in abysses that illumine
fish fish hook round hole
the moon’s thorn piercing its throat
its internal skeleton dissolving in the quicksilver of a mirror
a green sun phosphorescing under black water
fossa of the thirsting fish imagined by another fish in its desert
rows of iridescent thorns below the stars
below the mud of time fish eating fish the surest verity
violet scales throughout all the earth’s layers
salt like ground glass red-glowing from dead scales
the female whose caudal fin stiffens as she spawns the first egg
fingernail fish the skylight opened
through skin water sucks in through skin water expelled
scream of a fish drooling mortified in its leafy bed
in silence it sings in silence like a bouquet of salt in the mind