selections from  Abrir Fuego (Open Fire)/ Gaspar Orozco.

selections from  Abrir Fuego (Open Fire)

Edited And Translated into English by Anthony Seidman.

Every poem is a posthumous text

The one who writes this is already dead

Each word, shoveled over the previous one

No time for shouting out Farewell!

Zero is a bottomless pool

I live in a freefall within it

The poem is a stone smashing against the water

I still can’t hear a thing

It’s Death who will get all the credit


Let the word be a guillotine

Falling on the neck of the instant

Let the luminous head roll

Across the white noise of the masses

Across the deep snow of the weapons

So that wherever you may find it

Let it arrive at your feet with flaming eyes

Let its eyes open beneath the mire and blood and stones

Let it eyes focus on a bird beneath your gaze


                                      le nom où tout est contenu

                                            –Victor Hugo

I lit my name

In the middle of the yellow night

It moved about like a wild animal

Leaping from echo to echo

Speaking in various tongues of the dead

It howled prayed blasphemed sang

Until becoming bogged in blackness

I watched it until I could no longer recognize it

Touching it and listening to its meticulous collapse in the void

With the sound of night advancing

Over the legions of lead

With murky oily ash

I now start the scripture

Of the Name


Every night

The cricket scratches out a circle of salvation

Every night

Someone flattens it beneath his foot

Every night

Everything becomes clearer


If she approaches you

Baring her filthy teeth

Swallowing a swarm of glass down her gullet

If the City approaches you

With her one eye

(That bitch has always been one eye’d)

And injecting the same old blood

Kick her straight in the liver

Fire your images pointblank

And let her blood streak and stain the river

Let her scatter away her shadow shattered between paws

Let her leave you in peace

So that you can finally check

If on that occasion

(And only on that occasion)

Your name doesn’t appear on

Today’s roster of the Dead


I live on a street

That is foreign

I live in a neighborhood whose name

I refuse to pronounce

I live in a city with a name that’s

A Perfect Imposter

A Perfect Enemy

The names here have declared war against me

Letter by letter

                                Blow by blow

And I have no other option

Than to start the razing of this city

And return to the ancient word

That I hear resounding

Like the dazzle of a distant battle

Letter by letter

                                Blow by blow

Gaspar Orozco is a poet from Chihuahua, Mexico, born in 1971.  He has lived for significant stretches of time in Ciudad Juárez, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego as consul for Mexico.   As a poet, he published early, and he was also the founding member of the Mexican hardcore punk group Revolución X.  In addition to translations by Anthony Seidman, Mark Weiss has translated book-length translations of Orozco’s work, such as Autocinema and Book of the Peony.  Gaspar Orozco also directed the documentary entitled Subterraneans which covered the daily lives of Mexican musicians roaming and playing music on the New York subway for their daily sustenance.  The documentary was celebrated in the New York Times.  In addition to his work as poet, film maker, and musician, Orozco also translates poetry from the Mandarin and English. 

The poems in this selection appear from Orozco’s first collection, Abrir fuego.  The collection was published in 2000 by Tierra Adentro.  It is a pleasure to see these early poems by Orozco in publication.  The collection introduced a wonderfully abrasive, yet erudite voice into contemporary Mexican poetry. 

Poems in the orginal Spanish by Gaspar Orozco.

Translated into English by Anthony Seidman.

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