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Recorded by Brenda Cárdenas, September 16, 2016.

About this poet

Brenda Cárdenas was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1987 and an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1995. She is the author of Boomerang (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009). Cárdenas served as the Milwaukee poet laureate from 2010 to 2012. In 2014, the Library of Congress recorded a reading of her work for their Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers. She currently teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Poem for the Tin-tun-teros

This for the timbaleros, percussionists, tin-tun-teros,
those who tap with spoons on their stoves
with pencils on their desks
with nails and knuckles on tables, beds, their own heads
with fists against walls
and fingers on the spines and curves of their lovers, dancers.

This for the congueros, drummers, bongoseros,
those who never rest
with their staccato heels always hammering the skin of the floor
stomping in their dreams filled with maracas, güiros and claves,
these dancers with steps so smooth
and hips that move like their high hats and snares.

This for the timbaleros, percussionists, tin-tun-teros.
They are bad asses with their cymbal storms
their games of sticks that fly like wings. How scampish
their tricks that won’t let us work or sleep
only dance and sing, sing and dance
and sometimes move the earth a little.


Poema para los tin-tun-teros

Este para los timbaleros, los bateristas, los tin-tun-teros,
los que tocan con cucharas en sus estufas
con lápices en sus escritorios
con uñas y nudillos en mesas, muebles, sus propias cabezas
con puños contra paredes
y dedos en las espinas y curvas de sus amantes, danzantes.

Esta para los congueros, los tamboristas, los bongoseros,
los que nunca descansan
con sus tacones siempre golpeando la piel de piso,
zapateando en sus sueños llenos de maracas, güiros y claves,
estos bailadores con pasos tan suaves
y caderas que se mueven como sus high hats y tarolas.

Este para los timbaleros, los bateristas, los tin-tun-teros.
Son chingones con sus tormentas de platillos,
sus juegos de palillos que vuelan como alas. Qué malas
sus trampas que no nos permiten trabajar ni dormir,
solamente bailar y cantar, cantar y bailar,
y a veces mover la tierra un poquito.

From Boomerang. Copyright © 2009, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.

From Boomerang. Copyright © 2009, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.

Brenda Cárdenas

Brenda Cárdenas

Brenda Cárdenas is the author of Boomerang (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009). She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

by this poet

poem

“I don’t know what to tell you.
Your daughter doesn’t understand
math. Numbers trouble her, leave
her stuck on ground zero.”

                               Y fueron los mayas
                               quienes imaginaron el cero,
                               

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