Amor en la Zona Colonial


by Nathalie Handal

Habitación 17

The hour changes time into other forms of desire. A woman needs no bra in summer. A kiss after a fuck. A way to depart. She spends her entire life preparing to leave, play with verbs and nouns and syllables but there is no language for what we can’t give. Lovemaking isn’t about love; it’s about making a noise or a rhythm, arranging a life, giving an order, the way we weep on a wish to wash it away. There is always a way to disappear in your addiction. So use your sharpest knife, hombre. The sky is filled with dirty words.

Habitación 32

If you want him to kiss you, drink a shot of Ron Barceló. If you seek history or philosophy, buy a razor and shave your legs to clear your thoughts. If you need more imagination, misbehave. Count your zeros inside out, repeat. Fuck morphine and logic. Joder, otra vez, she says, as he zips his Jordans. Nothing comes when it should.

Habitación 53

The night I stayed in her too long, I discovered I could write a tune. The saxophone invents a memory for us, I learned later on. But we aren’t good followers. Or good men. I asked for her every morning but when the record I was making took over my mind, the history of my heart dismantling the city, I left every sentence contained in a single tune. At 75 mph told her I didn’t like her feet any more.

Habitación 47

Why can’t you put your tongue in my mouth like you used to? Daily life beats the crap out of marriage, the Holy Spirit and the bottle of wijki. I threw up hijo de puta so come scratch my hair. We are not phantoms yet, not a memory yet. We are just a riot waiting to be broken and dispersed. I have no idea what it means to be beautiful but I try to survive what you don’t say. It sure makes wanting less difficult. The apples turn into lyrics. Take a piss, man, and tell me who you were in your dream last night.

Habitación 1

I couldn’t tell if we were dancing or screaming or maybe it was a way to meditate la pobreza away, find the flame in our jaws that hadn’t expired, find the charcoal we sold to pay for this room. To discover if the intimacy of a shared glance can save us.

About the Author:

Nathalie Handal’s most recent books include the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker praises as “poems of depth and weight and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve,” and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” She is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the 2011 Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. She writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders.