Poetry by Jonathan Velasquez

Velasquez, left, reads in Spanish, while Kato, right, shares the English translation.

This past week we had the unique opportunity to welcome Jonathan Velasquez, a poet from El Salvador.  He did a reading from his new collection, Trenes/Traines, while local poet, Jayel Kato, read the English translation.  Afterward, attendees were encouraged to ask questions of Velasquez regarding his work and life in El Salvador.  The following poem, Recipe for making a bird, came up for discussion.  The young poet explained that he was thinking of all the things humans so easily destroy–land, habitats, etc., which led him to ask the question, What would it take to create even the simplest thing in nature, a bird?

Here is his beautiful response, in both Spanish and English:

Receta para hacer un pajaro
Vierta tres botellas
de alcohol sobre una tarde
anada tres plumas de arcangel
un punado de barro fresco
mil violines en trocitos
dos gatos de sangre de poeta.

Un poco de imaginacion
mezcle los ingrediente
en la maquina de hacer pajaros
espere siete vidas y listo…

Recipe for making a bird
Pour three bottles
of alcohol throughout an afternoon
add three feathers of an archangel
a handful of fresh mud
one thousand violins in little pieces
two drops of blood from a poet.

A little imagination
mix the ingredients
in the machine that makes birds
Wait seven lives and it’s ready…

For more information on Velasquez and the organization that made possible his visit, click here.


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