To mark another year since his death: The cruelest month by Donna Snyder

via The cruelest month by Donna Snyder

The cruelest month
In memory of Jesús Guzmán
April winds rage in with a renegade posse of dust,
weather’s bad boys intent on stealing a body’s air.
And one cruel April, Jesús was killed on Easter Monday.
Day after resurrection Sunday, he fell from Jacob’s Ladder.
It was the sudden stop that killed him.
Undoubtedly ¡Ay cabrón! frozen on his lips when he hit the ground,
a tiny blood red rose quivering alone in the wind-blasted dirt.
Jesús killed, an angel fallen from the heavens.
Declared dead on the scene, mad scientists shocked him
until his heart resumed its beat, like all fallen angels
determined to return to lost paradise.
Declared dead at the scene on Easter Monday.
Declared dead in ICU on Tuesday afternoon.
Then on the third day they took away his tubes and wires,
and his heart beat for another hour.

He fought Miss Death until they declared him dead
all over again.
No resurrection,
except in the memories of children he taught to be poets,
or the minds of workers who crossed the borders
from there to here.
He crossed over from this life to the next one,
neither from here nor from over there.
And the mesas crashed onto the freeway like waves.
The spring night bled teardrops like falling stars
because he’s still cheated of air.
Cheated of words.
Cheated of life.
The world cheated of him and his corazón, too soon.
Jesús was killed on Easter Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday.
His heart tan fuerte it took three times to kill him.

His death scene punctuated by the street’s beat
and the lullabies of the bereft.
Now the world is so cold and lonely in April,
when the winds carry the spirits of dead vatos to remind us
just how cruel a month can really be.

Published in Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press, New York 2014)

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Donna Snyder interviewed by Scott Thomas Outlar on Songs of Selah

Interview begins around minute 30, after music.

Scott Thomas Outlar interviews Donna Snyder

reading at Beyond Baroque

reading at Beyond Baroque November 2014

Pictures from the Black Orchid reading

Three Questions for Poet Donna Snyder from Miriam’s Well

Thank you, Miriam Sagan, for including this interview of me in your series found at Miriam’s Well.

Catafalco_Cove_final

Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond

Questions

What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

Aside from childhood efforts, I began writing poetry in my early 30s, without any academic training. I was an obsessive lap swimmer, and my line length tended to be similar in length, read aloud as my natural breath. I soon became aware of the use of lines to emphasize specific words and images. Later, my line breaks began to signal both punctuation and continuation. My writing is innately rhythmic, likely influenced by performing my poetry with a band of musicians, artist, and performance poets from the West Texas/Northern Chihuahua/Southern New Mexico border region.

Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

The connection between my body and my poetry is multilayered. I tend to write in an uncalculated…

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