“Making Love in Spanish”: A Poem by Jennifer Clement
Jennifer Clement, former president of PEN Mexico, is the author of Widow Basquiat, Prayers for the Stolen, and numerous novels and collections of poetry. Jennifer’s life in Mexico has allowed her to experience firsthand the corruption and oppressive free speech conditions in her country. As president of PEN Mexico, her mission was to address the high rate of journalist murders, for which no killers have been found or convicted.
In February, Jennifer was a writer in residence at City of Asylum. She hosted a poetry reading and held several writing workshops at City of Asylum during her stay. This poem, a rumination on intercultural gender and identity, is republished with Jennifer’s permission.
Making Love in Spanish
When I make love to you in English
the objects in the room have no gender
and I only hear our voices.
But when I make love to you in Spanish
the chairs – – those little girls – – chatter,
and our shoes
want to step, with adoration, on the body
of light, lamplight,
that falls across the floor.
In Spanish the tangled sleeves of our sweaters
sigh with soft womanly voices,
and fall like long vines
around an armchair
that has become their master.
The roses bathe and bow
filled with desire for the clock
and the fragile windows
want to break into the mirror.
Here, your pockets worship
Here, the white walls worship
the white moon.
In the dark,
I give you my feminine mouth.
In the dark,
I give you my masculine eyes.