Two Poems by Heriberto Yépez

Detail from Amze Emmons' cover illustration for Transnational Battle Field.

Just out from Commune EditionsTransnational Battle Field collects much of the work that Tijuana writer Heriberto Yépez has composed in English over the past fifteen years. "Yépez is at the forefront of a generation of writers who are questioning notions of fluidity and synthesis, a generation that has seen those same categories veil the advent of global neoliberalism," Edgar Garcia has written, "[he] is a forceful antipoet, a technician of the boundaries, a split-form borderzone nagualist." 


I am not experimental

By Will.

           English is not my mother

I cannot but be experimental

Inside Empire.

About Me: In English

I am possessed by the most powerful

Revolutionary force in the world today:

The Anti-American spirit.

But I am written and I write in English

I too sing America’s shit.

I am inhabited by imperial feelings

Which arise in my mind as images

Of pre-industrial rivers

Or take some technocratic screen-form.

My hopes are these wounds

Are also weapons. But they may be undead

Scholarly jargon.

I am colonized. I dream of decolonizing

Myself and others. The images of the dream

Do not match up. I am the body

And the archive.

A bomb is ticking in my old soul.

And the life of the bomb

Trembles in the hands of my new voice.

I am a professor in the Third World.

What do I know? Libraries in the North

Do not open their doors. I laugh at myself

Imagining what the newer books state.

Writing is counter

-insurgent. But the counter

      Leaders want our body

Believing writing is freedom.

This is as far as my English goes.

Writer and provocateur Heriberto Yépez, called one of the best writers and chroniclers of contemporary Mexico and one of the two most important literary minds writing in Mexico right now, as well as many other things (some unprintable). He lives in Tijuana. He writes in English when he confronts the US and in Spanish when he confronts Mexico.