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Castro and I


He pouts, “I want out.”

The death of a movie director he’s never even heard of but close to his age has made him sad.

Unhappiness drops by: His features sink,

A soft collapse,

The trusses give way; top meets bottom.

Sometimes I’d love to suggest he jazz up his life with a murderous spree but that wouldn’t be nice now would it. Instead

I counsel, push; I cheer, tether him. I dislodge, joke badly, and chop off the diseased limb.

“No added sugars,” I warn. “Pigs on the blanket equal your head in a basket.”

He says: “Red is the new green and vice versa. As in, ‘I’m red with envy.’ Or, ‘I flew back on the green eye last night.’ Not applicable when it comes to apples. The blues are still the blues.”

I tell him he lives in the Empire of Nonsense.

I tell him he’s King of Kind of Laughing.

We dislike mirrors and yet cannot get enough of each other.

I know I’m lied to. I lie too.

Still I’ll take notice, note; I’ll braise, parboil and sauté his words.   

“I’m a bird in reverse,” he tweets.

I hold his hand as he flaps underground but it’s my heart and mouth that fill with dirt.

We split. I spit.

Silence is my science.







Self-Portrait as Spectator


Those boys untouchable except
For the quick hand they offered and I shook

Longing to be swept into their Olympus
Of soccer and sex-with-other-than-oneself

If not good they were at least exactly right
I thought from the sidelines miles away

What I deserved my lesson for being flawed
Cast with the girls watching them

Knot on the field and break apart
All throttle and forward lean

Seeking the crack in the other team’s
Defense that crumbled like a language

I failed to grasp
My loathing their perfection

What I had otherwise come to extol and celebrate
When I stormed the grass

Handsome as suns those boys rose over our shoulders

And for whom I would burn more than once
And for whom I shall never burn in hell







Self-Portrait with Boxer


Sorry for slamming the green metal door
That blackened your left eye. Sorry if

I had already drum-slapped your bald head, yanked on belly hairs,
All in the room where you botched the slaughter
Of holiday birds and the pronunciation of foie gras.
Sorry I found it amusing to see you weep with such flair
Under the eyes of Evita and Ceferino Namuncará
Who hung childless and saintly on your wall. Sorry

I was such an unabashed asshole fifth grader mocking
Your third grade education, slick enough to know
You’d forgive and once again rig card games in my favor,
If not cheer me on whenever I shadow-boxed on a box spring
In emulation of the flyweight life of your youth,
Jab, jab, left cross, hook, and uppercut, head bob, head bob; un-

Matched men touching other men the only way
They knew how, for profit, in exhaustion, gored. It must have

Really hurt, Uncle; sorry I lost your wedding ring.







Self-Portrait with Musician


Sometimes the heart strikes out noisily,
Leaps into a grand piano like a stunt man.
Green-eyed, an almost green voice:
She leaps out of a grand piano like a stunted man,
Resurfaces reptilian, shedding scales.
She’s a whisper inside a box of wails,
An amphibian on the surface, adding scales
To leave the swamp dressed for a part.
I too whisper from inside a box of veils,
Rustle up a melody that comes apart
Leaving the water in a dress from K-Mart.
She sings over sweeps of pedal steel,
Rustles up a harmony that quickly comes part
Of my flesh. More and more I would steal
From this lady singing over sweet pedal steel:
The green eyes; and the pale green noise
That sinks into flesh as much as it might heal
Whenever the heart strikes, without a voice.


For Chan Marshall a.k.a. Cat Power







Portrait Calling for Self


Come to me as a missing child,

A hiccup in a sentence, oh little comma in my life.

Find me in the garden as you would in a poem
Where you misread fog for frog.

Leaping prince,

Part wolf, part Isadora Duncan;

Child pissing in a cup, come.

And what’s with the hurry you might wonder.
Well, we’re always running late.


And in love with the good

Sky, find me lit up,
Feet at last unstuck from the mud,

Drifting downstream on my back. As kin to the sun,

As king of the slow-thinking clouds, come child;

Wave as if you’d known me all your life.




Guillermo Filice Castro

Guillermo Filice Castro is the author of the chapbooks Mixtape for a War and Agua, Fuego. He has work forthcoming in Allium and Barrow Street. Born and raised in Argentina, Castro lives in New Jersey with his husband and two cats.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2014

All Issues