Teodoro Luna Confesses After Years to His Brother, Anselmo the Priest, Who Is Required to Understand, But Who Understands Anyway, More Than People Think

By Alberto Ríos b. 1952 Alberto Rios
I am a slave to the nudity of women.   
I do not know with what resolve

I could stand against it, a naked woman   
Asking of me anything.

An unclothed woman is sometimes other things.   
I see her in a dish of green pears.

Anselmo, do you know what I mean if I say   
Without clothes

Her breasts are the two lions
In front of the New York Public Library,

Do you know that postcard of mine?   
In those lions there is something

For which I have in exchange   
Only sounds. Only my fingers.

I see her everywhere. She is the lions
And the pears, those letters of the alphabet

As children we called dirty, the W,   
The Y, the small o.

She is absolutely the wet clothing on the line.   
Or, you know, to be more intimate,

May I? The nub, the nose of the pear,
Do you know what I mean? Those parts of the woman

I will call two Spanish dancer hats,
Or rounder sometimes, doughboy helmets from the War.

Sometimes they are flat in the late afternoon   
Asleep. Like drawings,

Like a single rock thrown into the lake,   
These parts of a woman an imperfect circling

Gyre of lines moving out, beyond the water.   
They reach me at the shore, Anselmo.

Without fail, they are stronger,
And they have always been faster than I am.

It’s like watching the lassoing man,
The man with the perfectly circling rope,

Pedro Armendariz in the Mexican movies,   
Or Will Rogers. Wherever one is from,

Whoever this man is.
And he is always there. Everybody knows one.

He always makes his big lasso, twirling his rope   
Around himself and a woman from the audience

Only I am the woman, do you understand, Anselmo?   
Caught in the circling rope. I am the woman

And me thinking of a woman   
Without clothes

Is that man and that rope
And we are riding on separate horses.

Alberto Rios, "Teodoro Luna Confesses After Years to His Brother, Anselmo the Priest, Who Is Required to Understand, But Who Understands Anyway, More Than People Think" from Teodoro Luna’s Two Kisses. Copyright © 1990 by Alberto Rios.  Used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1990)

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Poet Alberto Ríos b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Relationships, Nature, The Body, Love, Men & Women, Religion, Christianity, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Alberto  Ríos

Biography

Alberto Ríos has won acclaim as a writer who uses language in lyrical and unexpected ways in both his poems and short stories, which reflect his Chicano heritage and contain elements of magical realism. "Ríos's poetry is a kind of magical storytelling, and his stories are a kind of magical poetry," commented Jose David Saldivar in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Ríos grew up in a Spanish-speaking family but was forced to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Nature, The Body, Love, Men & Women, Religion, Christianity, Desire

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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