Two Poems by Yoseli Castillo Fuertes

Photo by Ruby Fernandez-Brown


Human Typography


I love your handwriting

Your cursive moves

The roundness of your As

The slickness of your S

The shape your full written name makes on the page.

I love your firm mark

The tracks you leave behind

On the following pages of your journal

And on my life.

I love your pen

The one I can’t touch

The one I just follow with my gaze and admire

The way it flows and dances to create

And how I know this is the way to your true self.

I love your long hands

How erratically they thrive

They move

They run to catch up with the stories living in your head

In your ancestral mother’s place

In the brown bodies of boys and girls learning to dodge the bullet

Learning to create a safe space for and by themselves.

I love your words

Both of chaos and strengths

They speak to all of struggles and victories won on the day by day.

I love the image you portray

The one lingering on people’s face

The one that transforms a room into a safe space

The one that empowers and inspires by virtue of self.



If this poem were me


If this poem were an essay

I could explain, rationalize and attempt to prove

How a person changes from innocence to adulthood

How her morals and ideals die and become a need to survive.


If this poem were a play

I could portray, in detail

With visual emotions, annotations, prompts and a stage

How the world is fake, made up everyday

Fit to suit those who write, direct and produce the play.


If this poem were a novel

I could explain or very well elaborate

On the feelings that make a human change, compromise,

Sell his soul for a ride or a ticket on a passing all-inclusive-one-way ride.


If this poem were a movie

I could show with music, an editor and special effects

The meaning of life here on earth

Show how to live in harmony with the living, the eternal and the dead.


If this poem were a myth

I could explain the birth of all human

I’ll start with the most organic emotions of love and hate.


If this poem were a comic

I would draw, just like a child would,

How we are all the same

Boys and girls

Playing many different games

Some more real and cruel than others

With more to lose or gain

But I can’t.

This poem is just a poem

A couple of words pieced together with a common threat

No clear beginning nor end

Just ideas, feelings and visions through a lens.


Yoseli Castillo Fuertes, born in the Dominican Republic in 1972, migrated to the United States at 16. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Spanish Literature. She is a bilingual-afro-dominican-latina-lesbian poet-activist-teacher-aunt. She is a Cave Canem alumnus and her poems and short stories have appeared in various anthologies in New York, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Santo Domingo. She has published the poetry collection De eso sí se habla/Of That, I Speak.

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