About this poet

Deborah Paredez received a PhD from Northwestern University. She is the author of the poetry collection This Side of Skin (Wings Press, 2002). Paredez is a cofounder and codirector of CantoMundo, a national organization supporting Latinx poets and poetry. She teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.

Hecuba on the Shores of Da Nang, 1965

Again the sea-machines creep from the east,
their Cronus jaws unlatched and pups expelled.
The scene the same. Again. Again. The sand
now boot-lace muck, the rutted shore resigned.
No words will do. Laments will not withstand
this thrashing tide. It's time for snarling beast-
speak. Gnash-rattle. Fracas-snap. Unmuzzled
hell-hound chorus unbound from roughened tongues.
Kynos-sema keen-keen lash-kaak nein grind
then ground and rot and reek and teeth and grief
and gabble ratchet growl: custodian
of woe. It doesn't end. Fleets on the reef,
horizon buckling. To meet what comes
the body cleaves from all that is human.

Originally published in Adanna Literary Journal. Copyright © 2013 by Deborah Paredez. Used with permission of the author.

Originally published in Adanna Literary Journal. Copyright © 2013 by Deborah Paredez. Used with permission of the author.

Deborah Paredez

Deborah Paredez

Deborah Paredez is the author of This Side of Skin (Wings Press, 2002). 

by this poet

poem

for Deborah Johnson (Akua Njeri)

—Composed on the 45th anniversary of Fred Hampton's murder, Chicago IL—

you didn’t look

down or back, spent

the fractured minutes

studying each crease

and curve of the law-

men’s faces

so later you could tell

poem

Since before the war there was always work.
In '38, Papa sweating all day
for the WPA, Mrs. Wright
hiring Mama and her sisters to mind
the children and the wash—plenty to watch
after in white folks' homes, too much to name.

Took my diploma when they called my name.
Droughton's

poem

Rate your pain the physical
therapist instructs and I am trying
not to do what they say
women do lowballing the number
trying hard not to try so hard
to be the good patient scattered
assurances lining the aisles like
dead petals and me left
holding nothing but what’s been

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