First Ceremony

Abigael Bohórquez

springous you lie
pleasural and tenderic,
and no one is like you, matinal fawn,
sylvanized and delicate.
you feign sleep
and a smile alights your pupils;
I am left without myself.
You summerexplode,
when my hands unfold out of their misery
and touch the strands of your hair, docile like water,
and I lie down beside you.
Disrobed you discover yourself; disrobed I am there;
suspended, tremulant,
defenseless like the miserablest night;
fasting and weakened;
what can I do, blinded and mute,
entangled in stupor,
marveled?
you maintain the same face fresh and ferocious,
thirsty as before
gleam in the devouring darkness:
your sex,
dewy, warmly electric, victorious trunk,
still wounded by the memory
of first masturbation and leery orgasm,
and your sumptuous lips
trembling with a sigh that boy you once were
doesn't need anymore,
and I inspect your neck, heart's cords
pulsate, don't know if it's yours, mine,
and we don't say a word,
not one in my favor;
there's no forgiveness for me.
Let your nubile chest say no,
firm abode of health,
a roiling sea no one will detain,
hold back its love, its hate;
your way of being you almost licks me,
dog heat, goose eyes, horses' brother,
a flood of your taste and smell washes over me,
your navel's fledgling rotation,
your syrup, your being
flying, unmoving, slow, grasping, ungraspable;
I outstretch a hand: you exist;
your thighs, blow after blow, open,
come together, fit together, move together,
a blazing breach emerges in the fluttering
sheet;
there's no mercy for me.
Your teeth drop, slit my throat,
I surrender all sense.
Take me,
Be disgraceful, subdue me, be wretched, obey me,
Lose it, be shamed, fall apart, kneel,
force me, come back again, go away, return,
miserable, my love, lizard, imbecile, breath taking,
precipitate, howl.

Suddenly, you, lightning,
open, flowering, crashing,
above, below, on top, where?
you pierce the darkness,
and inside:

you rain.

translated from the Spanish by John Pluecker



Read the original in Spanish

Read translator’s note

Abigael Bohórquez (1936—1995) was a Mexican poet from the northern state of Sonora. His books include Digo lo que amo (I Say What I Love, 1976), Poesida (1996), and Navegación en Yoremito (Navigation in Yoremito, 2005).

John Pluecker is a writer, interpreter, educator and translator. His work has appeared in journals and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico, including the Rio Grade Review, Picnic, Third Text, Animal Shelter, HTMLGiant and Literal. He has published more than five books in translation from the Spanish, including essays by a leading Mexican feminist, short stories from Ciudad Juárez and a police detective novel. His third chapbook, Killing Current, is forthcoming from Mouthfeel Press in 2012.


The poetry of Abigael Bohórquez (1936 - 1995) leaps across traditional boundaries in Latin American literature: both colloquial and neo-baroque, regional and informed by classical traditions, intimately personal and actively political, traditionally-informed and experimental. Despite this richness, his work has been marginalized even within Mexico because it challenges historical hierarchies: particularly, a centralist tendency within Mexican literature which privileges literature from the capital and an aesthetic hegemony which makes little room for the work of an openly gay man.

Throughout my travels and time spent living in Northern Mexico over the last ten years or so, I have constantly heard about Bohórquez. He has a kind of cult status in Northern Mexico and in sexually subversive communities across Mexico. His poetry is well known for its refusal to accept the status quo, its rebellion both in content and form. As Carlos Eduardo Turón has written, Bohórquez's poetry can at times seem contradictory; however, the contradictions in his work stem from the multiplicity of the poet's emotions, perceptions and experiences. His aesthetic positions and artistic perceptions are based on the notion that complexity itself is a way of living in the world.

In the last ten years, there has been something of a renaissance in interest in the work of Bohórquez. A number of presses in Sonora have republished his works. In 2000 a consortium of Sonora publishing houses released an anthology of his work called Heredad (Inheritance); this anthology has since been re-released in two subsequent editions.