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About this poet

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and immigrated to California with his family at the age of five. He received a BA from Sacramento State University and an MFA from the University of Michigan. Castillo is the author of Cenzontle (BOA Editions, 2018), which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. Prize. A founding member of the Undocupoets, he teaches poetry to incarcerated youth and also teaches at the Ashland University low-res MFA program. He lives in Marysville, California.

Gesture with Both Hands Tied

I’m going to open the borders of my hunger
and call it a parade.


But I’m lying if I said I was hungry.


If dying required practice,
I could give up the conditions for being alone.


I undress in the sun and stare at it
until I can stand its brightness no longer.


Why is it always noon in my head?


I’m going to run outside and whisper,
or hold a gun and say bang,


or hold a gun and not do anything at all.


The lamps that wait inside me say
come, the gift is the practice,
the price is the door.

From Cenzontle (BOA Editions, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. Used with the permission of BOA Editions.

From Cenzontle (BOA Editions, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. Used with the permission of BOA Editions.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Cenzontle (BOA Editions, 2018). A founding member of the Undocupoets, he lives in Marysville, California.

by this poet

poem

The music stopped playing years ago
but we’re still dancing.

There’s your bright skirt scissoring
through the crowd—

our hips tipping the instruments over.

You open me up and walk inside
until you reach a river
where a child is washing her feet.

You

poem

                      —For Sandra María Esteves

Color it all blue.

                      My father and my father’s father and his.

                      Marcelo
                      Marcelo

poem
1.  
Now that I can, I am afraid to become a citizen.
I don’t want to become anything because I’m afraid of being seen. 

I am arriving, and departing, 
and later I will punish myself for looking over 
at the person sitting next to me on the plane, checking their screen 
and reading