Tag Archives: Jose Wan Diaz


by José Wan Díaz

I want neither
Heaven nor Nirvana;
I just want a place
where the herds
can graze unafraid,
where the human animal
hates the thought
of consuming flesh.

I want to go where riches
don’t actually mean money,
to a country where the poor
and the wealthy are only legend.

I don’t want to live
in the mythical land
flowing with milk and honey;
I want to live in a real realm
of peace and calm,
a place where bread
doesn’t taste
like the sweat
of my fellow man.


¿Que Sueñan las Estrellas de Mar?

by Mike Jewett
Translated by José Wan Díaz
Read the original: Of What Do Starfish Dream?

Me dijeron que cortando un brazo
a una estrella de mar

haría una nueva.
Así lo hice, y esperé a la orilla

del Atlántico, olas de agua salada
incitando división celular.

Saliendo la luna fuí sorprendido—
Una azul estrella de mar, ya crecida,

como percebe a mi pie se aferraba.
La luna suspiró sus fantasmas

y las olas llevaron la estrella a su casa.

I Have Walked Many Roads

Translated by José Wan Díaz
Read the original: He Andado Muchos Caminos

I have walked many roads,

I have opened many paths,

I have sailed a hundred seas,

and in a hundred shores docked.

Everywhere I have seen

caravans of sadness,

arrogant and melancholic

black-shadowed drunkards,

and pedants of the cloth

who look, keep quiet, and think

they know it all, for they don’t drink

the wine of the taverns.

Bad people who walk

stinking up the earth….

And everywhere I’ve seen

people who dance or sing

when they can, and work

their four bits of land.

Never, upon arriving somewhere,

do they ask where they are.

When they travel, they go

upon old mules’ backs,

and they don’t know haste,

not even on holidays.

Where there’s wine, they drink wine;

where there’s no wine, fresh water.

They’re good people who live,

eat, dream and work,

and on a day like many

they rest under the earth.

Summer Fleas

by José Wan Díaz

June, July and August,

the three main months of summer,

pass like water through a sieve;

a body can’t go to sleep

lest it wakes up in autumn.


Looking forward to these three

keeps a lot of folks sane

through winter’s misery,

except for me and Rats, my cat,

all we can think about is the agony

that we’ll have to put up with.


During the wintry months,

the pesky things seem to be

an entertainment to him,

a reason to scratch occasionally,

and then return to sleep.


But come March

they become restless,

jump off of his back,

and invade our dwelling;

at that precise moment

they begin bugging

the hell out of me.


We get much advice

on how to stop the blight,

too bad it all involves

funds that we do not have,

and fumes we cannot breathe.


Nothing short of blowing up

the house, someone said,

will kill the little beasts.


So here I sit with Rats

on the curb across the street,

folding his ears shut,

so he isn’t startled by the blast.

Dear Mother

by José Wan Díaz

“Simply having children does not make mothers.”
– John Augustus Shedd –

My bible-thumping mother was dead.

Ninety-three years and a few days!

A saint by most accounts,

a she-devil by some.

Died in an old folks home

forsaken by her favorite spawns.

I never went to see the troll,

but neither was I

one of the mentioned above.

They burned her sorry ass,

and no one lusted after the ash.

So, why the hell not? I thought.

Took it home, and dumped it

in my cat’s litter box.

By Then

Translated by José Wan Díaz
Read the original: Para Entonces

I want to die when the day expires,

out in the open sea facing the sky,

so my agony may seem like a dream

and my soul like a bird taking flight.

I wish to hear in my last moments,

all alone with the sky and the sea,

no more voices or sobbing prayers

than the regal pounding of the waves.

I want to die when the light withdraws

its golden nets from the green swells,

and be like a sun that slowly sets:

something very bright that is lost.

To die young, before the wily years

destroy the graceful crown,

when life still says: “I’m yours”,

even though we know it betrays us.