I write my best after reading great writing. It’s a combination of inspiration and competition. I feed off greatness, and feel extra compelled to write something others might love. Deanna Larsen is greatness, and I love her writing. I’ve had the good fortune of appearing in several journals with her. Here is her gorgeous poem, Buenos Aires in Three Short Lessons. Click the hearts to be directed to Pank, where you can hear her read this with a better accent than this Mexican poet. ♥♥♥
I. El Beso. Riobamba 416, Abasto.
Sebastián spoke in castellano but when my foot fumbled he repeated in English, “¡No, no!, you must step on the beat.” I explained it wasn’t a language barrier but incoordination at the cellular level. I hoped he wouldn’t notice cracked calluses slipping out my overzealous stilettos. He placed his hand dangerously close to my breast, “Lead from the heart!” Lost in choreography sea urchins slivered my feet; every misstep a hyperbole, a heartbeat.
II. Loca! Milonga. Niceto Vega 5248, Palermo Soho.
Natalia grabbed the underside of my thigh without warning and thrust it against her chest, “Never be afraid of your body.” Her skin butterscotch frosting so sweet my blood sugar spiked the roof of her mouth. Her calves could cut bread; she prowled with an Abyssinians perfect shoulders. Her voice bubbled up like a tar pit, syrupy and thick, “It’s only walking. You know how to walk don’t you?” I tried to boleo but her stare could break bones.
III. El Arranque. Bartolomé Mitre 1759, Congreso.
Flor lit a cigarette in the antique elevator as it ascended. Her hair was an unnatural orange like a mescaline sunset or lovesick nectarine. She claimed she could teach anyone to tango in an hour.
Slow slow slow slow
quickquick slow slow
adelante, atrás! My toes traced purposeful circles till the bandoneón ocean crash sent me shipwrecked to the floor. I would’ve drown without the next song; baritone ghost so bold I felt a curious firefly rustle my hair and flicker towards those jealous stars.