RUMPUS POETRY BOOK CLUB EXCERPT: UPWARD MOBILITY by José Olivarez
Our February 2023 Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection is José Olivarez‘s, Promises of Gold, a groundbreaking collection of poems addressing how every kind of love—self, brotherly, romantic, familial, cultural—is birthed, shaped, and complicated by the invisible forces of gender, capitalism, religion, migration, and so on. Read an excerpt below and subscribe by January 15 to the Poetry Book Club to receive this title and an invitation to an exclusive conversation with the author via Crowdcast.
dancing to avoid the fluttering
of roaches, the boy brushes his teeth
with one eye on the sink
& one eye on the bugs
& one eye on his teeth
& one eye on time
& one eye on homework
& one eye on his brothers
& one eye on the future—
years later when his friends joke
about how he has poor people teeth,
his head will shed its skin
to reveal 5000 eyes the size
of cockroach hearts.
Excerpted from PROMISES OF GOLD by José Olivarez. Published by Henry Holt and Company. Copyright © 2023 by José Olivarez. Translation Copyright © 2023 by David Ruano González. All rights reserved.