Juggling passwords between our mouths,I connect to the men of American cities.By runes, confession, dramatics,I make them cry for a fruitWhose name has been forgotten.If they picture me in a puddle or in a wedding dress,They become obsessed with snowfall.One tabulates the words the other does not know,Records his disappointments in spotsAlong the thigh, velveteen.Where is desire? In desire,In leaves swept below a cassock.We set our eyes on each other and our mindsOn something else, make impossible shapesIn piles of fabric.Do not ask me to repeat myself. Little mattersIn this invention. Yours, mine, the one that shatters.
“In Piles” from MADNESS by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué.
Published by Nightboat Books on March 15, 2022.
Copyright © 2022 by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué is a poet and writer living in Chicago. He is most recently the author of Madness (Nightboat Books, 2022) and Losing Miami (The Accomplices, 2019), which was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry. He is also co-editor of An Excess of Quiet: Selected Sketches by Gustavo Ojeda, 1979-1989. He is currently a PhD student in English at the University of Chicago where he works in the study of sexuality.
“Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué’s grand confection in Madness is the fictional poet Luis Montes-Torres. Through his selected poems and biographical mini-essays by fictional coeditors, Ojeda-Sagué constitutes a meditation on a poet’s life, the life of a queer Cuban immigrant, the life of hermetic sweetness and depression, with a yearning love for nature, boyfriend and dogs. Montes-Torres’s body of work is all assertion and retreat, formally adventurous, traditionally lyrical, obscure and combative. He inhabits the kind of poetry world that Roberto Bolaño lovingly described, of idealism, ambition, obscure prizes, and editions of three hundred, that happens to be ours. Looking back from 2055, Montes-Torres is presented as a minor poet, and that may be Ojeda-Sagué’s biggest ruse because, Reader, these poems will ravish you with beauty, idealism and ambition.”
— Robert Glück
"Ojeda-Sagué displays a dexterity with a wide range of forms, from short lyrics to long poems to diary entries. As this imagined poet’s biography unfolds, the book shifts and slips and curls, and throughout we remain captivated and intrigued as travel companions. What a pleasure to be invited into the life and poems of an extraordinary person—after all, aren’t we all ordinary and extra, ‘nervous and breathing,’ trying to find ‘a measure arranged into tenderness’?”
— Alli Warren
“Literary heir to Fernando Pessoa, Jack Spicer, Reinaldo Arenas, John Weiners, and Benno von Archimboldi, once and future poet Luis Montes-Torres (1976-2035) endures in poems of enabling welcome into ‘someone’s hallucination.’ Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué’s desire for desdoblamiento engenders a poetry of self-possession that wonders, with ear attuned to attachment and mood, who is anybody writing for? His fictional coeditors have expertly selected from nine books Montes-Torres bequeathed us in small press editions—lifetimes yet to come that speak the twin language of good-natured cubist intimacy and exile culture shock. In Ojeda-Sagué’s self-fable—a tribute to immigrant dwelling and descent—’every repetition is / a little ghost of me waving / from an echo.’”
— Roberto Tejada