Rodrigo Toscano



Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book, The Charm and The Dread (Fence Books) of poetry is forthcoming in Spring 2021.  His previous books include In Range, Explosion Rocks Springfield, Deck of Deeds, Collapsible Poetics Theater (a National Poetry Series selection), To Leveling Swerve, Platform, Partisans, and The Disparities.  His poetry has appeared in the anthologies Voices Without Borders, Diasporic Avant Gardes, Imagined Theatres, In the Criminal’s Cabinet, Earth Bound, and Best American Poetry. Toscano has received a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. He won the Edwin Markham 2019 prize for poetry. Toscano’s poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Catalan. He works for the Labor Institute in conjunction with the United Steelworkers, the National Institute for Environmental Health Science, Communication Workers of America, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, and northwest tribes (Umatilla, Cayuse, Yakima, Nez Perce) working on educational / training projects that involve environmental and labor justice, health & safety culture transformation. He is currently working on essential worker Covid training and vaccination networking nationwide. Toscano lives in New Orleans.

Editors note:  Please click on the title links for the poems in PDF form.

The Tango 

the black/white
tango wears
thin on
the rest
The tango
not key
The tango
you can’t
get between
gotta watch
your feet
Again not
inflection point
for all
But tango
dance floor
all over
Head snapping
stern face
quick embrace
deep dips
Here they come
step aside
or – don’t
grab on
triple tango
Ok here
who’s that? 

well alright
excuse me
this way?
Here we go
full tango
but wait
a new tune’s

Marvin Gaye’s
“got to give it up”
free movement

fingers arms
shoulders hips
chin up
hats off



Latinx Poet

Sometimes X leans Tang Dynasty
and is glad to tell these Romans
who’ve stuck around for the last call
chumming it with Delta Blues Folk
razzing Elizabethan bards 

Says X, “Ahoy Futurist brutes
on seven stages vogueing to
Post-LangPo cell group epsilon
in harmonic consonance with
rd wave Xicano presente”
And what do they say these Romans
to X wobbling on a bar stool
pensive about collapsing towards
Infrarealists moshing with 
Canadian Kootenay Kool Dub? 

“3rd wave Harlem Renaissancing
bouncing to Symbolist techno
with acoustic Marxist lehrstuck
at Baroque toccata tempi
is true NOLA line strutting

And X, supine retorts skyward
just as the Beat Front rounds the curb
sighting the tail end of ConPo
clearing the path for gen-u-wine
Ruskie Constructivism “

To which these Romans saucily
counterpoint to drop precisely
“do all-night donk to donk with Gronk
skanking it up to cop a feel
Castilian Lit pre-1610”


1519 Aztec Arrivista 

“I want to make sure to register my full support for Zapotec Power
With respects to Mixtec Power, derived from Toltec Power
Transposed from Mayan Power, indebted to Totonac Power
Taking a page from Olmec Power
When given the chance to validate Tarascan Power in the Present
And defer to the rising Chichimec Power
In alliance with the Cholulan Complex
Six hundred years of illicit Serpentine Sex 
Atop the Teotihuatecan Simplex”



© The Acentos Review 2020