Karl Iglesias


Karl "OYE" Iglesias is a Poet Mentor at Urban Word NYC originally from Milwaukee, WI but has made a home in Brooklyn, NY. He recently performed in and facilitated The BARS Workshop at The Public Theater in New York, where writers/performers develop new verse for the stage. His poetry has been featured at festivals such as Summerfest, Freakfest, Brave New Voices, Collegiate Union Poetry Slam Invitational, Hip Hop Theater Festival of NYC (currently Hi-Arts NYC) and the Contacting the World Theatre Festival in Manchester, England. His work can be read on Apogee and Words Dance Publishing as well.

Hip Hop. @OYE414

Batamanaco at the crematorium

I was asked not to count the names etched in ash
it is uncertain which dried mounds have drowned 

or which dry mouths have burned
so we do not count the dead. 

After los juracanes roared over the island
Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety 

reported 51 deaths. I have been engulfing the island
in stars. Old Man Fire. Algid hallways lit by Taíno 

torch. Most of the island is a melting candle
Powerless; the night is a blanket of sweat, fatigue 

I have seen these same solemn ashes spread
across campos and the crystal shallows of Culebra 

I gather them now, names deserving of echoes, a lit
furnace, oven of russet hearts, asthma, dehydration 

all glowing in a halo of rainwater
thin bones speak firewood 

cracking. A quick retort of desiccated
branches hacked from where they burgeon 

After the sky of Aguada
rushed like children into the surf 

and the sea deluged to meet the storm
over 900 bodies have been cremated 

And to think, I thought that there would be nothing
left to burn 


Eulogy for a mango tree


I’m still the boy in the navy shorts running around
you with my shirt wrapped around my head.
Lifting a fallen branch, now, a leafed sword. You whisper
a breeze I could barely hear and I nod as if I understand. 

Did you think less of me when home was a spiraled gust
and I returned to the thunder of my birth? Fist rushing into wall. Hiding
violently. Some secrets sound like boiling salt water, don’t they? Carved
my name into you with a parrots claw. You were there. I fell asleep outside 

my door on cobble road. Did you whisper our stories to the horses in summer?
On the darkest nights, where I’d stumble home a puddle of myself, why didn’t
you just drink me? God lift you. Wake me up with sweet prayers
as if to not embarrass me. Who else do you offer refuge in your shadows? 

What other faces have you saved? You understood that the stars don’t need
to see everything. When the sky arrived masked as a bursting mango, I’d share
a cafecito with you. Scoff in your bark, you’d admit you thought you’d
never see the day I’d like my coffee without cream.

It’s my secret to everlasting life. What’s yours? Tell me, tell me.



© The Acentos Review 2018