Friday Night Poetry Corner #123 (With Lorenzo at the Center of the Universe)

Eleven by Sandra Cisneros: Process

Good evening everyone!!

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Night Poetry Corner.  As you should know by now we are continuing the theme of honoring “Women’s History Month” and with that being said…


Welcome Sandra Cisneros, the magnificent.  This Chicago native is an amazing writer.  She also wrote “The House on Mango Street.”  Tonight’s poem called, “With Lorenzo at the Center of the Universe” is an eternal love story that keeps the mind in readiness for more.  Or in mourning of regret.  I will let you decide 🙂


With Lorenzo at the Center of the Universe



We had to cross the street twice
because of rats. But there it was.
The zócalo at night and la Calle de la Moneda
like a dream out of Canaletto. Forget
Canaletto. This was real.

And you were there, Lorenzo.
The cathedral smoky-eyed and still
rising like a pyramid after all
these centuries. You named the four
holy centers- Amecameca, Tepeyac, and two
others I can’t remember. I remember you,
querida flecha, and how all the words I knew
left me. The ones in English and the few
in Spanish too.

This is the center of the universe,
I said and meant it. This is eterntity.
This moment. Now. And love,
that wisp of copal that scared the hell
out of you when I mentioned it,
love is eternal, though
what eternity has to do with tomorrow,
I don’t know. Understand?

I’m not sure you followed me.
Not now, not then. But I know
what I felt when I put my hand
on your heart, and there was that kiss,
just that, from the center of the universe.
Or at least my universe.

Lorenzo, is the center of the universe
always so lonely at night and so
crowded in the day? Earlier
I’d been birthed from the earth
when the metro bust loose at noon.
Stumbled up the steps over Bic pens
embroidered with Batman logos, red
extension cords, vinyl wallets, velveteen
roses, pumpkin seed vendors, brilliant
masons looking for work. I remember the boy
with the burnt foot carried by his mother,
the smell of meat frying, a Styrofoam
plate sticky with grease.

At night we fled
the racket of Garibaldi and mariachi
chasing cars down Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas
for their next meal. At La Hermosa Hortensia,
lights brights as an ice cream parlor,
faces sweaty and creased with grief.
My first pulque warm and frothy like [hot chocolate].

On the last evening we said good-bye
along two streets named after rivers. I
fumbled with the story of Borges and his Delia.
When we meet again beside what river?
But this was no poem. Only mosquitoes
biting like hell and a good-bye
kiss like a mosquito bite that left
me mad for hours. After all,
hadn’t it taken centuries for us
to meet at the center of the universe
and consummate a kiss?

Lorenzo, I forget what’s real.
I mix up the details of what happened
with what I witnessed inside my
universe. Is it like that for you?
But I thought for a moment, I really did,
that a kiss could be a universe.
Or [a look]. Or love, that old shoe. See.
Still hopeless. Still writing poems
for pretty men. Half of me alive
again. The other shouting from the sidelines,
Sit down, clown.

Ah, Lorenzo, I’m a fool.
Eternity or bust. That’s how it is with me.
Even if eternity is simply one kiss,
one night, one moment. And if love isn’t
eternal, what’s the point?

If I knew the words I’d explain
how a man loves a woman before love
and how he loves her after
is never the same. How the two halves split
and can’t be put back whole again.
Isn’t it a shame?

You named the holy centers but forgot
one- the heart. Said every
time you’d pass this zócalo
you’d think of me and that kiss
from the center of the universe.

I remember you, Lorenzo. See
this zócalo? Remember me.

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