Poetry » Daniela Cortés del Castillo »


Based on: 1)The 5-Minute Meditator by Eric Harrison 2) Text messages I’ve received 3) The lecture notes for my “Editing for English” class. 4) An article published in The New York Times about police violation of human rights during the student protests in Chile.

Say the word once to initiate the action
A cat-and-mouse pattern that often leads to violent clashes

Meditation can seem very complicated
We’re talking about torture

Arrested while assisting a student suffering respiratory arrest at a march
Too many commas can make the prose seem breathy

Last week a group of high school students went on a hunger strike
When you’re eating, however, you’re just eating

The helmets photograph what they see
A smile for aunt Dani!

Editors and publishers tend to be conservative about language
They wear hard hats marked DDHH

This year the government has declared zero tolerance for school occupations
But bear in mind that different ‘authorities’ will often give different answers

What conventions do you enforce, and how do you enforce them?
Guns pointed against their heads

A police officer pulling down his pants to show them his genitals
In this exercise, you keep attention low in the body

They reported having their heads forced into the toilet
Shrimp, what are you doing?

I am often ‘ambushed by beauty’ and ‘surprised by joy’
‘Trampled by police officers on horseback’

These students were practically kidnapped
The trouble is that people care about these things

Being beaten unconscious
I’m running out of batteries


Our love was made of
Loftiness and intellect
Your brain connected to mine
In a current of like synapse
Your hand warm against my own was not merely love
It was manifesto

The day the day the day
The day when everything changed
The shockwave clang of bright bullets
The helicopter angel of death

They bombed the government house!
You said
And your pupils seemed to rattle

They took a book of fairy tales from your room
Because it was Large and Red
And everything that is large and read must be wrong

They burnt the books outside the library
They burnt
They burnt the books outside the library
They burnt
They burnt the books outside the library
They burnt
They burnt the books outside the library
They burnt

In the before time
We used to walk by this flowered wall
We loved the way bright ivy
Made a revolution of everything

You taught me how to pull
The blossoms from the vine
Sucking at their tips
To taste the sweetest juice

Now it’s become a matter
Of life and death for you
To get all four limbs
To the other side of the familiar wall

3 p.m. Saturday afternoon
The year 1973
You clambered up the orange vines

You didn’t make it
Inside the embassy
In time

The intimate details of his relationship with you
Deeper, more private,
Than anything you could ever share
With me

The metallic bite of garden scissors on fingertips
The electric fuzz of wet electrodes
On testicles

The things your body feels
When it becomes only a body
Only a body
Only a body