No. 39 - Mervyn Taylor, the Bachata, and "Marie, and Juan."

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Photography by Adrian Moens __________________________________________________________________________________

September 2nd, 2019

"Marie, and Juan" appears within Mervyn Taylor's sixth of eight books of poetry, The Waving Gallery (2014). His most recent collection, Country of Warm Snow, will be forthcoming in 2020.

In December of 2017, Adrian Moens and I visited with Taylor at his place in Flatbush, Brooklyn, just off of Prospect Park. During our time together, he filled us in on Dominican music, mainly, the bachata, and read "Marie, and Juan, " which appears below. The entire interview appears within Issue No. 2 - Autumn 2017.

- Isaac Myers III

"The bachata is really Dominican music, from Santa Domingo. So the point of the poem, “Marie, and Juan,” is the opportunity that Brooklyn provides for two people to get together who in their own country back home probably don’t get along."

Marie, and Juan

If he had remained in his country

and you in yours, you’d never

have danced like this

He would never have crossed

the border between the cane

not known your name.

Your memory of Trujillo

would have focused your eyes

on the sharp edge of a machete

and your cries in patois

would have brought your father

running, the old Boukman record

skipping on the gramophone. But

here you are, dancing a bachata

in Brooklyn.

The step is fast,

the Zombie from the past

trying to keep up.

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