At a Bus Stop in El Barrio

By Rodrigo Toscano Rodrigo Toscano
Tha’ vahnahnah go-een to keel joo.

Excuse me?

Tha’ vahnahnah    ...    go-een to keel joo.

I’m sorry, I don’t understand.

O’ káy. Sô    ...    vahnahnah haf sostahnence, nô?

Uh — 

O’ káy. Ees troo if  joo haf sostahnence, joo problee leev anothe’ thay?

I suppose so, look — 

Alrigh. If  joo ee tha’ vahnahnah, joo weel be leeving ôp a-hed, righ?

Yeah alright, so?

O’ káy. Are joo thy-een now?


Are joo thy-een now — a’ thees momen?

I hope not.

O’ káy. Ees troo    ...    ôp a-hed — joo thy some poin?

Of course.

Alrigh, sô, vahnahnah poosh you there.


Tha’ vahnahnah go-een to keel joo, baby.

Source: Poetry (May 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2014
 Rodrigo  Toscano


Raised in southern California, experimental poet, playwright, and labor activist Rodrigo Toscano's experimental work often takes the form of conversation and physical movement that interrogates, and crosses, borders: the border between poetic and political action, between the made thing and its making, between speech and theater, between languages, between social change and its provocation. In a 2005 interview with poet Leonard . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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