The Queer Riveter: From IMPURE ACTS by Ángelo Néstore, translated by Lawrence Schimel

 E io chi sono?

In the morning, I abandon my sex.
At sunset I return
when I strip to enter the shower.

My mother always says I have my father’s shoulders.
With the mirror fogged with steam, my silhouette is broader, more lavish.
I draw a straight line with my fingers, wipe it out with my hand.

My eyes hold the sadness of the dolls
who played at being daughters,
which my parents wound up giving away.
The cold water brings me to my body,
I hide my penis between my legs.

Mama, who do I look like?

 If My Father Tells Me

If my father tells me: Be a man,
I shrivel like a grub,
stick my belly on the fishhook.

Soft, like some mollusc without its shell,
I feel dismantled, keep my cool.

I then ask myself
what use was learning four languages
if words can’t be heard beneath the water,
if I only know how to write poems.


Every day an iron turnstile
stops me at the gym’s entrance.
The soundproofed glass turns the place into a showcase.
From this side I watch a blond man, clean-shaven,
with a military buzz cut and a sleeveless green shirt.
He has a sophisticated vanity with his quiff
and wide pants, which let one deduce golden pubic hair.
The guy takes a sip of his protein shake
and places on his shoulders the weight of masculinity that calls him.

I’d like to know what he’s thinking
as he bends his knees theatrically.
How many times he’ll count to ten.
Whether his arms, his back ache.
The identity of the woman waiting for him at home.

The blond boy looks up, exhausted.
I’m turned on by the sweat on his chin,
the candour of those beads soaking his towel.
I imagine myself crossing the threshold that separates us.
I open my mouth beneath his chin and stick out my tongue,
like a child kneeling before the altar.

By Ángelo Néstore

Translated by Lawrence Schimel

From IMPURE ACTS published by Indolent Books (Autumn 2019).

Read The Queer Riveter in its entirety here.

Ángelo Néstore is a poet, actor, translator, and professor. He is co-director of both the Irreconciliables International Poetry Festival and the feminist poetry publisher La Señora Dalloway. He has published two poetry collections: Adán o nada (Bandaàparte Editores) and Actos impuros (Ediciones Hiperión, XXXII Premio de Poesía Hiperión).

Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author and translator originally from New York, now living in Madrid. He has published more than 100 books as author or anthologist, in many different genres. He has translated more than thirty poetry collections, most recently Destruction of the Lover by Luis Panini (Pleiades Press), Bomarazo by Elsa Cross (Shearsman), and I Offer My Heart as a Target by Johanny Vazquez Paz (Akashic).

Category: The Queer RiveterThe RiveterTranslationsJune 2019 - The Queer Riveter


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