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Hot Desk Extract: Guadalupapi

Read Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019

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. 

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Photograph of a bougainvillea tree

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.



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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.