Malcolm Friend

                               A Strange Conversation | Mike Stilkey

                              A Strange Conversation | Mike Stilkey

Clemente's Love Poem

               for Vera Zabala


I know
you hate
my anger.
That you think
I shouldn’t
have yelled
at the clerk
for assuming
us poor.

                                    But when
                                    he said
                                    he thought
                                    I was
                                    “some other”
                                    Puerto Rican
                                    I was hotdog
                                    and hypochondriac
                                    and nigger-spic
                                    all over

I know
you don’t
You haven’t
lived here
long as me.
Haven’t been under
a thousand
to insignificance
even in stardom.

                                    But when
                                    he grabbed
                                    your arm,
                                    you were pregnant
                                    and extended
                                    a tender touch,
                                    I was reminded
                                    of how quickly
                                    it can turn

                                                                        and how
                                                                        I never
                                                                        wanted you
                                                                        to know this.

Clemente Speaks Spanish after the World Series, 1971


En el día más grande
de mi vida,
para los nenes
la bendición mía
y que mis padres
me echen la bendición.

Primera traducción:
On this, the greates day
of my life,
I bless my kids
and ask my parents
their blessing.

Segunda traducción:
Pa’l carajo, mamabichos.
Que siempre
me criticaban,
que siempre
me jodían.
No valen
ni que te mee
ni que te dé
el bicho mío.
Esto les digo
en venganza
por todos los años
que me hicieron sufrir.
Que mis padres
me echen la bendición.



Malcolm Friend is a poet and CantoMundo fellow originally from the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. He received his BA from Vanderbilt University, where he was the 2014 recipient of the Merrill Moore Prize for Poetry, and is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a 2014 recipient of a Talbot International Award for Writing. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as La Respuesta magazine, the Fjords Review’s Black American Edition, Alicante’s Información, fields magazine, The Acentos Review, Pretty Owl Poetry and elsewhere.