Hot Desk Extract: Guadalupapi

As part of the Wheeler Centre's Hot Desk Fellowship programme, Asiel Adan Sanchez worked on a collection of poems, Guadalupapi, exploring the nooks of identity, desire, culture and history.

Guadalupapi is a sumptuous play on our Lady of Guadalupe; a Mexican icon, a m/otherland, a queer saviour, sanctity and memory. The poem below, a homage to Frida Kahlo, forms part of the collection, which also features a hook-up in Mexico City and a portrait with Sanchez's mother. 

Photograph of a bougainvillea tree

Image: Scott Limbrick (modified from a photo by Mary and Andrew, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Self-Portrait with Frida Kahlo

el llegar aquí fue partir un alma en dos
y dejar una sin saber sobre la existencia
de la otra. soledad y el mar,
sol sin luna.

before i dreamed of you
i dreamed of
      white skin
      and a polished tongue-

a self-portrait in pieces;
a tehuana dress underneath
all-american jeans.

      too masculine for womanhood,
      too unruly to inhabit this body

i saw
the colours on my skin
burst along
the faults of my childhood.
      a violent riot of flowers
      blooming between my legs.

i grew up
believing dreams
      are like rivers-
            nourishing, but
            always tempting thirst.

when my aunty left,
      my father told me
            the names of immigrants
are written in water.

yearning to be the shore.

my gender is for my mother
      and the women
      baptised with no name
      in the rivers of

Río Grande.

her back was a bridge so wide,
she told me to stand tall and
walk along its whole length,

so i could reach the other side.

lo que el agua me dió es una sed inmensa;
una sed de saber más de lo que fluye debajo de tus arroyos
y de lo que crece debajo de tus raíces.

i did not grow up to be you,
but i did grow up to be me
and be in love
with who this person is.

femininity and masculinity,
dysphoria and diaspora:
      this skin does not fit the place it was given.
      these hands are not the colour of dirt,
            as they said,
      but the colour of the earth itself-
      rich brown, black, bronze and red.

the first time i dreamed of you,
i felt the warmth of my birthplace
and the bougainvillea trees
grow at the root of my feet:
      where the river
      gives into the sea
      and is a river no longer.



Portrait of Asiel Adan Sanchez

Asiel Adan Sanchez is an organic, gluten-free, vegan, single origin, ethically sourced gender fluid. They may be found in late-night hospital shifts writing lines of poetry in between melancholic insulin orders. Born and raised in Mexico, their work is an attempt to reconcile culture, race, gender and sexuality. They spend their free time kissing boys and crying in public.

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