I’m the Marilyn Monroe of Santo Domingo.
I’m six foot four.
Two inches more when I wear high heels.
I have a beauty spot on my butt.
 
I date poets from the eighties.
I date handymen, security guards,
models, engineers, visual artists,
weight lifters, lawyers, white boys,
paper pushers, heavy hitters, car valets.
 
I’m a regular at the bingo parlor,
the woman who puts Leaves
of Grass in her pocketbook
and gets lost in space.
The woman who drinks coffee at bus stops,
the man-eater, the pythoness, the megapoet,
the woman who cries when the movie ends
and nobody gives her a hug. 
I’m a menstruating monster,
the woman who sits in the dancejoints and drinks,
who ties one on and makes the whores
look disgusted and burns their miniskirts
with cigarettes when they go by.
The woman who wanted to kidnap Anthony Ríos.
The woman who injects hormones in her legs.
I’m la Cicciolina.
I’m Tiresias.
The woman who writes buck naked.
That big-boned woman who’s
multiplied by the motel mirrors
when they do her doggy-style.
The woman who sits in the back pew
of the church with a black eye.
Miss Boca Chica nineteen-ninety-four.
That woman who smokes on the ocean boulevard
watching the ships with their lights turned on.
The second semester nursing student.
The white girl who drives ambulances, city buses,
passenger vans, trailer trucks.
I’m the MARILYN MONROE OF SANTO DOMINGO.
 
I’m the MARILYN MONROE OF SANTO DOMINGO.
No, no, that thing was still there.
I hadn’t chopped it off.
I didn’t have the money to do it with.
So one day I thought I’m gonna do readings
to raise the money and have that operation.
I called all my poet friends on the telephone.
I remember how they passed a basket around
like they do at Masses
and there I was standing on the stage
the pur-tee Marilyn Monroe of Santo Domingo
reading my verses and grateful for the applause.
Thank you poet friends.
Thank you Mr. Minister of Culture.
Thank you very much.
 
A mob follows me with rocks.
They stone me in the Mella.  They stone me
at the Car Wash in San Isidro,
the ones in Los Mameyes, the Charles and Villa Mella.
Behind Quisqueya Stadium.
They beat me, humiliate me, shout at me.
They give me a thrashing.
They pile on top of me one by one.
I’ve lost myself.
I’m no longer here.
I repeat:  I’ve lost myself
and don’t know how to find myself.
I go to the four cardinal points looking for myself
in a procession with all the women I’ve been
and those that I’ll be and those that I can’t be.
I sleep in hospital beds,
guesthouses, motels, parks.
I take showers.  Lots of showers.
The dye runs down my face
and down my makeup.
I feel like I’m coming apart
and pieces of me keep falling one by one
taking the shower water with them
the water keeps falling and taking me with it
down to the drain.
 
Here I am on the rear of a Setenta motorbike.
Dancing with three men on a patio.
Walking on a busted high heel.
Massaging Italian tourists.
Sitting on my suitcase at an intersection
trying to hitch a ride.
Two guys in a Toyota pull up.
The one who’s driving asks me
Hey white girl where you goin’ babe
and I answer goin to LA
all the way down to LA
you know, Los Alcarrizos.
They leave me thirteen kilometers further on.
I walk to the other side of the road
and they hang around looking at me 
till on this side a Leche Rica
milk truck stops
and I climb in.
(Here I open a parenthesis to advise you
you need to get an AIDS test.
I do one every year.
They give it to you in a week at most.
A hundred and eighty pesos near the UASD.)
 
I go with divorced guys, widowers, atheists, priests, art critics,
psychoanalysts, ex-suicides, salsa-lovers, scooter-drivers,
Haitians, Protestant pastors, clowns, the terminally ill,
schizos, broke boxers.
 
I wake up in Puerto Plata.
I have visions in Azua.
I see the Pope dancing salsa.
I see igloos in Haina and Tres Brazos.
Eskimos in mom-and-pop stores.  Penguins in Mao.
St. Augustine with eyelashes like Charityn.
UFOs abducting senators and congressmen.
 
There’s a country in the world placed in the sun’s very path. 
There’s in the world a very country placed in the sun’s path.
There’s the sun’s very path placed in a country in the world.
 
There’s the sun’s path in the very world placed in a country.
I travel to New York with a fake passport.
 
MARILYN MONROE walking down Fifth Avenue again.
MARILYN MONROE WITH A THREE-DAY BEARD.
 
I have breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I drink Champagne in limousines.
I run for my life in Corona.
I play the accordion at a corner.
I fight in SoHo.
I cry in front of the Hudson.
I give a reading at the Nuyorican Café.
Rhymesters, poets, and rappers
toss me sprays of flowers.
I sign autographs.
I spread kisses all around.
Suddenly the doors bust wide open.
The INS guys put me in handcuffs.
They push me and meanwhile
the audience boos them and throws bottles.
Shots are heard.
They deport me.
 
I’m the Marilyn Monroe of Santo Domingo.
I get a waxjob all over.
Powder myself.  Do my make-up.
Put on a fur coat
ready for my next reading.
I’m the MARILYN MONROE OF SANTO DOMINGO.
I’m the MARILYN MONROE OF SANTO DOMINGO.
I’m the MARILYN MONROE OF SANTO DOMINGO.
What’s a girl to do?
 
© Frank Baez. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2012 by Hoyt Rogers. All rights reserved.
 
Soy la Marilyn Monroe de Santo Domingo. 
Tengo seis pies cuatro pulgadas. 
Dos pulgadas más cuando uso tacos. 
Tengo un lunar en las nalgas.
 
Salgo con poetas de los ochenta. 
Salgo con chiriperos, guachimanes,
 modelos, ingenieros, artistas plásticos, 
levantadores de pesas, abogados, rubios, 
funcionarios, toleteros, parqueadores de carros.
 
Soy la asidua al Bingo, 
la que se mete en la cartera
su Hojas de hierba 
y se pierde en la nada. 
La que bebe café en las paradas, 
la buscamacho, la pitonisa, la megapoeta, 
la que llora al final de la película 
sin que nadie la abrace. 
Soy monstruo que menstrua, 
la que se sienta en las barras a beber,
 se ajuma y le pone cara de asco 
a todos los cueros y le quema las falditas 
con los cigarrillos cuando pasan. 
La que quiso secuestrar a Anthony Ríos. 
La que se inyecta hormonas en las piernas. 
Soy la Cicciolina. 
Soy Tiresias. 
La que escribe encuera. 
Ese mujerón que los espejos 
de los moteles multiplican 
cuando la ponen en cuatro. 
La que se sienta en el último banco 
de la iglesia con un ojo morado. 
Miss Boca Chica mil novecientos noventa y cuatro.
Esa que fuma en el malecón mirando 
los barcos con luces encendidas. 
La estudiante de segundo semestre de enfermería.
 La rubia que maneja ambulancias, OMSAS, 
voladoras, patanas.
 
Soy la MARILYN MONROE DE SANTO DOMINGO. 
Soy la MARILYN MONROE DE SANTO DOMINGO.
 
No, no, eso seguía ahí. 
No me lo había mochado. 
No tenía dinero con qué. 
Así que un día pensé en hacer recitales 
pa’ recolectar dinero y hacerme la operación.
Llamé por teléfono a mis amigos poetas. 
Me acuerdo que pasaban una canasta 
como en las misas 
y yo me paraba ahí en el escenario 
pin pun la Marilyn Monroe de Santo Domingo
leyendo mis versos y agradeciendo los aplausos. 
Gracias amigos poetas. 
Gracias señor Ministro de Cultura. 
Muchas gracias.
 
Me sigue una turba con piedras. 
Me apedrean en la Mella. Me apedrean
en los Car Wash de San Isidro, 
de los Mameyes, de la Charles y de Villa Mella. 
Detrás del estadio Quisqueya. 
Me golpean, me vejan, me vocean. 
Me dan una salsa. 
Se echan arriba de mí uno a uno. 
Yo me he perdido. 
No estoy aquí. 
Repito: yo me he perdido 
y no sé cómo encontrarme. 
Ando por los cuatro puntos cardinales buscándome
en procesión con todas las que fui 
y con las que seré y con las que no he de ser. 
Duermo en camas de hospitales, 
pensiones, moteles, parques. 
Tomo duchas. Muchas duchas. 
El tinte me resbala por la cara
y por el maquillaje. 
Siento que me voy despedazando
y que los pedazos de mí van cayendo uno a uno 
llevándoselos el agua de la ducha
que va cayendo y llevándome 
hasta el desagüe.
 
Heme ahí en la cola de un Setenta. 
Bailando con tres hombres en un patio.
Caminando con un taco doblado. 
Masajeando turistas italianos. 
Sentada sobre mi maleta 
pidiendo bolas en un cruce. 
Se paran dos en un Toyota.
El que maneja me dice 
Hola rubia mi amol pa dónde tu va 
y yo respondo go LA 
all the way down to LA 
o sea, Los Alcarrizos. 
Me dejan trece kilómetros más allá. 
Camino al otro lado de la pista
 y ellos se quedan ahí mirándome 
hasta que de este lado 
se para un camión de Leche Rica
 y me monto.
(Abro un paréntesis aquí para advertir 
que tienen que hacerse el examen del sida. 
Yo me lo hago anual. 
A más tardar se lo dan en una semana. 
Ciento ochenta pesos por la UASD).
 
Salgo con divorciados, viudos, ateos, curas, críticos de arte, 
psicoanalistas, ex suicidas, salsómanos, pasoleros, 
haitianos, pastores evangélicos, payasos, enfermos terminales, 
esquizos, boxeadores arruinados.
 
Despierto en Puerto Plata. 
Tengo visiones en Azua. 
Veo al Papa bailando salsa. 
Veo iglúes en Haina y los Tres Brazos. 
Esquimales en colmados. Pingüinos en Mao. 
San Agustín con las pestañas de Charityn. 
Ovnis abduciendo senadores y diputados.
 
Hay un país en el mundo colocado en el mismo trayecto del sol.
 Hay en el mundo un mismo país colocado en el trayecto del sol.
Hay el mismo trayecto del sol colocado en un país del mundo. 
Hay el trayecto del sol en el mismo mundo de un país colocado.
 
Viajo a Nueva York con un pasaporte falsificado.
 
MARILYN MONROE caminando de nuevo por la Quinta Avenida. 
MARILYN MONROE CON UNA BARBA DE TRES DÍAS.
 
Desayuno en Tiffanys. 
Bebo Champagne en limosinas. 
Corro por mi vida en Corona. 
Toco el acordeón en una esquina. 
Peleo en Soho. 
Lloro frente al Hudson. 
Recito en el Nuyorican Café. 
Decimeros, poetas y raperos 
me lanzan ramilletes de flores. 
Firmo autógrafos. 
Reparto besos. 
De repente las puertas estallan. 
Los de migración me esposan. 
Me empujan mientras
el público los abuchea y arroja botellas. 
Suenan disparos. 
Ellos me deportan. 
 
Soy la Marilyn Monroe de Santo Domingo. 
Me depilo entera.
Me empolvo. Me maquillo. 
Me pongo un abrigo de pieles 
lista pal próximo recital.
Soy la MARILYN MONROE DE SANTO DOMINGO. 
Soy la MARILYN MONROE DE SANTO DOMINGO. 
Soy la MARILYN MONROE DE SANTO DOMINGO.
¿Qué se va a hacer?
 



Frank BaezFrank Baez

Frank Baez might be described as the homegrown Junot Diaz of the Dominican literary scene:  a native author rather than a son of the diaspora, but with the same “hip” originality and “with-it” verve.  Born in 1978 in Santo Domingo, Baez has made a name for himself in his own country as the Dominican Republic’s most important young poet and short-story writer.  His collection of stories, Págales tú a los psicoanalistas [For the Psychoanalysts, You Pick Up the Tab!] (Editorial Ferilibro, Santo Domingo, 2007) won the First Prize for Short Stories at the Santo Domingo Book Fair of 2006.  With his fellow poet Homero Pumarol, he founded a “spoken word band” called El Hombrecito, which in 2009 cut a CD called Llegó el hombrecito [The Hombrecito Has Arrived].  He regularly gives readings accompanied by music, and is an amateur DJ.

The quality of Frank Baez’s work has already won him an international following as well.  His first book, Jarrón y otros poemas, was published in Madrid by Editorial Betania in 2004, and selections from his verse recently appeared in the Latin American anthology Cuerpo plural: Antología de la poesía hispanoamericana contemporánea (Editorial Pre Textos, 2010).  His latest poetry collection, Postales, won the National Poetry Prize Salomé Ureña in 2009 as a manuscript, and was published in Costa Rica and Argentina even before it appeared in the Dominican Republic. As editor of the online poetry review Ping Pong, he has published scores of poets from Latin America, North America, and Europe.  Highly conversant with the literatures of all three continents, he is a distinguished translator of English and American verse.

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Hoyt RogersHoyt Rogers

Hoyt Rogers has published his original work, essays, translations, and editions in dozens of books and periodicals. He is the author of a collection of poems,Witnesses (1986) and a volume of criticism, The Poetics of Inconstancy (1998). His most recent poetry appeared in Agni Online in 2010, and his latest short story was published by the New England Review in the summer of 2011.

Hoyt Rogers translates poetry and other literary works from the French, German, and Spanish. With Friedhelm Kemp, he produced the first translations of George Oppen into German. His translation of Klaus Eidam’s biography of Bach was published in 2001. His translations of Jorge Luis Borges appeared in the Viking/Penguin centenary edition of 1999. His translation of Yves Bonnefoy’s The Curved Planks, with accompanying essays and a preface by Richard Howard, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2006. In the same year, his translation of Philippe Claudel’s novel Les âmes grises appeared at Knopf. His anthology of Bonnefoy’s last two decades of work, Second Simplicity, with a lengthy introduction, was published by the Yale University Press in January 2012. With Paul Auster, he is currently preparing a new bilingual edition of poems by André du Bouchet.

Though Hoyt Rogers travels much of the year, above all in Italy, he resides mainly in the Dominican Republic.