Poems by Stephen Paul Wren*

Land of silver

The cartographer Lopo Homem called it ‘Terra Argentea’ in 1554. The explorers who found families in the Río de la Plata were blessed.

See the river of silver,
Receive the gifts of silver,

Argentinian Malbec

Wading through plums
I take the plunge
in cherry swims
to sign off days
the violets
and cocoa shores
are within reach
airs of new wine
propelled by suns
aged by oak wood

Fair winds

(Remembering Pedro de Mendoza in 1536 and Juan de Garay in 1580)

His upturned palms paint many souls
with saffrons and cyans, for here
under a trinket sun, is home
Buenos Aires begins to form
Just a trading post, it’s own smell
filling colonial nostrils

Marcelo put the ball where he wanted
Left corner, right corner, roof of the net
Up the Andes. In the Chaco region.
He had no cartilage left in his knees
Fluid therein mixed with his blood like time
breezing through the fertile Pampas lowlands

Marcelo was Maradona to me
Blink of an eye, all seeing eye, bullseye.
The Río de la Plata held his wheels
tucked up and riding brims of elegance.
All the way to starkissed shores, to the land
of his cravings, to the land of his heart

River of silver

Lustrous glints in the water
and glosses
Wider than the sleepy world
O, river!
River Plate, cover me sweetly
with glasses
Forward to Punta Gorda
and back home

*About Stephen Paul Wren

Dr Stephen Paul Wren studied at Cambridge and worked in industry for many years. He transitioned back into academia at Oxford before joining Kingston University in 2018 where he works as a Senior lecturer. 
Stephen’s poetry can be read at here and you can find him on Twitter here. His book ‘Formulations’ (co-written with Dr Miranda Lynn Barnes) was published by Small Press in 2022. His ‘A celestial crown of Sonnets’ (co-written with Dr Sam Illingworth) was published by Penteract Press in 2021. Stephen’s poetry has appeared in 14 magazine, Marble Broadsheet, Consilience, Tears in the Fence and Dreich magazine.

Poem by Michelle Madsen*

Fragment: ‘A La Grasa’

Somewhere between the Pampas and the pig farm
Born on a Tuesday
Unlucky in Argentina
Ambivalent here
Where the fens lie flat under lengthening skies

We make chorizos a la grasa in the kitchen of your memory
The carcass stripped, butchered by your broad shouldered grandfather
The one who held things together, fathered a herd of children
Who slip into the boots of cars and creep out to the Swiss ball
The pampas burning in Chevrolet headlights

At the Hotel Des Imigrantes there’s an entry
Brussino de Pinerolo
An entry ticket to a rich land
O vast potential, enclosed, ringfenced
Erased, alive, distant, breathless

In the hills of Cordoba, we meet a man who talks to trees
They ring his house, a simple place, shacklike
I remember wide windows which reach to the floor
How the leaves of the pages of the books and the magazines
Which line the walls, ring the table where we drink mate
Are browning, pailing, crumbling
The reformed cousins of the trunks on the hill

I wonder where his stories come from, how he has grown with the leaf mulch
How he has breathed in, adopted the earth here.
How tears prick my eyes and his face alight with the late-afternoon sun
Says ‘I belong, I belong, I belong’

In a field of gladioli, thick with weighty spiders
I imagine tall legs striding, planting, knowing
Greening this place on the edge of the waste
Putting down roots, fingers browned by the earth
Turning unowned, unearned clods again and again
Until we understand what it is to live again

How to promise return
How to find the bones
How to bring back the dead

No great outhouses here, no patios for asado but a garden shed with old toys in it
I play with a barrel, make a potion, plant a dead seed in the crook of the apple tree
Remembering the ancient promise to use all there is as all there will ever be.

In that old memory, the barrel wasn’t fixed properly
The chorizo spoiled
The annual butchery undone, blood split for no-one
Except the flies
And we, on the edges of now, relishing the humility

*About Michelle Madsen

Michelle Madsen (UK) is an award-winning poet and journalist. She founded the London branch of Hammer and Tongue, the UK’s largest slam poetry network and has featured on stages in four continents. She has performed at the Bowery Poetry Cafe, Latitude, Hay-on-Wye, the Secret Garden Party, Bestival and Glastonbury. Michelle also teaches creative writing with First Story. In 2013 she took her show I’m Sorry I Haven’t Haiku, the world’s first and possibly last ever poetry panel game, to the Edinburgh Festival. She has opened for Kate Tempest and interviewed many odd people, including Tony Blair, Ronnie Wood and the president of Guinea.

Poems by Enrique Bernales Albites

Malba 2019

y porque Buenos Aires no pudo mirar esa muerte
Jorge Luis Borges

They told me to come here
that I would go nuts,
from 1900 Pueyrredon Av.
to El Malba
is a twenty-one minutes’ walk.

You must eat the field
like this city.

I arrived at El Malba or
to its very long line which is the same,
in less than eighteen minutes.
as I love to beat the estimated time of Google Maps.

I have a blind faith in my legs,
they have saved me so many times of dying.

Next to El Malba,
there is a square,
Republic of Peru with some bourgeois trees,
but Peruvians do not know it.

In Lima,
there is an avenue, Argentina,
that is not bourgeois at all, since it lacks trees,
but Argentines don’t know it
because it is not in Miraflores.

In the summer, the heat there is unbearable,
and you must be careful with the pickpockets.

Along Argentine Avenue in Lima
the freight train was moving with its precious cargo…
And sometimes the workers greeted us waiving their hands,

It’s raining in Buenos Aires,
along Figueroa Alcorta Av.
buses rush by,
and taxis,

in eight months
this street will be empty,

and my legs,
like those of God,
won’t be able to save me

In Lima or Buenos Aires,
In El Malba or Miraflores,
bodies rot under the same rain.

Strassenszenen: Constitución

Penumbra de la paloma
Llamaron los hebreos a la iniciación de la tarde

Jorge Luis Borges

I need to confess that
I never set foot in the Borough of Constitución
I was very close, inches close?
I was visiting
the exact location of the execution of Rodolfo W.
during the long winter of 2019,
before we learnt words like Zoom,
Social Distancing, and the particular
meaning of the word hero sponsored by The Who,
not the rock band, precisely.

Either I couldn’t find
Rodolfo’s home in Tigre, instead I found solace contemplating a golf course
eating an alfajor Havanna
by the brown waters of Sarmiento River.

There are places in the world,
mythical places,
for Borges is the South,
for Homer Simpson is Springfield,
for Ulysses is Ithaca,
for Virginia is a room at her own
and for me is Constitución,

These are no real places,
like metaphors they are buried in the heart of humans
and they will vanish
when Poetry become a deaf language
when humans forget why Rodolfo W. fought
with a gun and with a typewriter

In Constitución
there is no treasure.
Every bystander is the bounty,
but that morning of March 25, 1977,
in the intersection of San Juan and Entre Ríos,
Rodolfito was the only bounty.


Y anhelamos el sueño y la indiferencia.
Jorge Luis Borges

I was just walking around here.
For me, Recoleta
is like Machu Picchu
Plenty of dead stone
that reminds me
Of the stupidity of Wealth:
the human stupidity.

I was just walking around here,
burying a love pain,

Why did I bring a dead stone, a love pain,
all the way from Colorado to Argentina,
with a short stop in Peru?
Still, I am asking myself that question,

A love pain is like
an angel in the snow
A love pain is like Recoleta
or Machu Picchu:
A pizza without cheese.

*About Enrique Bernales Albites

Enrique Bernales Albites (Perú, 1975) is from Lima, Peru. He completed his Ph.D. in Spanish at Boston University and specializes in contemporary Latin American literature and cultural production. He was part of the Peruvian Poetry Group Immanence in the nineties. He has published the poetry books: Immanence (1998), Immanence: Return to Ouroborea (1999), 21 poems: Cerridwen (2004), the novel The Occupied Territories (2008), the Anthology of Peruvian Poetry The clocks are broken (2005), and Regreso a Big Sur (Bardoborde Poesía, Lima, 2019).

Poems by Paula Giglio

Del libro En el cuerpo (Ed. Del Dock, 2016, Buenos Aires)

A mí se me hace cuento que empezó Buenos Aires:
la juzgo tan eterna como el agua y el aire.

J. L. Borges


Tie me to the city I was born
because otherwise I will blow myself
what does it mean to have a compulsion to look through the window?
From the space
an astronaut observes the Earth
and there is a syndrome of staring at it, incessantly, per hours.
In the quietness of this perspective effect,
I see a port, but beyond that,
there is a sweet spot in the corner
where I once walked wildly.
As a first encounter:
a giant where the estuary of the river seemed like a vein and,
up to a point,
the blood of the city was the sea water.

My head adopts the size of the city
where it is based.
Here, intelligence is a facial gesture:
in the underground it looks as if everyone were able to find themselves.
That is what their tasks say during the trip;
each of them are immersed in their own business,
lost in their accessories.
you know what they say from the countryside
with their ‘rustic’ accent.

Walking in San Telmo is like not arriving late.
The leather boats
bought in the fair
walking within a rhythm which doesn’t come
from any known place.
It is raining:
all the same but with umbrellas.
Humidity is intensifying the odours,
even the ones from the smelly bin bags
hanging in the streets.
This is not a tourist walk anymore:
it is the neighbourhood where I would like to live
besides its counterparts.
Someday, at Defensa st.,
the people had to strike with saucepans:
about that, the rubbish doesn’t matter.
I can image a daily life.
I could be the customer at Chicho Greengrocery
and live in that facing building.
If you give me the change I might buy
a cheap antiquity;
that is how I could spend my Sundays,
as this one flies like that.

*About Paula Giglio

Paula Giglio (1988, Córdoba, Argentina) studied a BA philosophy at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC). She published the following poetry books: Ella, naturaleza (Babel, 2012), En el cuerpo (Del Dock, 2016), Un lugar para mis piernas largas (Caleta Olivia, 2018), La risa loca de los ángeles (Liliputienses, 2018) and Hoy llueve en el mundo (Caleta Olivia, 2019). In 2017, she was featured at XII Festival Internacional de Poesía de Buenos Aires and in the 33rd edition of Festival International de la Poésie de Trois-Rivières in Canadá. In 2018, she was awarded with Centrifugados de Poesía Joven prize in Spain with her book La risa loca de los ángeles. In 2019, some of her poems from her book Un lugar para mis piernas largas were translated into german and featured at Alba, lateinamerika lesen magazine. Currently, she lives in Buenos Aires.

Poem by Francisco Muñoz Soler*

Properity Island

Hunger, despair, uprooting,
fertilise the helplessness,
dig the soul while distant songs of sirens are promising a rainbow in vast lands,
as an island of prosperity with open doors.

An snowslide of rawness buries him at La Boca
while the gall devours his hope,
and this strange land hugs him outdoors with a bundle
or a load of children

He finds shelter in a conventillo,
and as a peasant
he lived in a stable
and now emulates his living to the pigeons,

crammed into a dark room trying
to avoid cholera or yellow fever,
looking through the skylight of the patio
in the wide sky, and he is still with the hope to destroy
this loop of misery:
the dream of the Americas returns.

He sings, mamma mamma, give me a hundred lyres,
because I want to go to America,
with the cleft chest of Buenos Aires
and the unfailing determination for better days,
dodging the reality
in which greed has turned an illusion into a chimera.

*About Francisco Muñoz Soler

Francisco Muñoz Soler (1957) is a Spanish poet. He has extensive work published in countries such as Spain, Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, the United States, Venezuela, Cuba and India. It has been translated into English, Italian, Arabic, German, Romanian, Assamese, and Bengali. His poetry is intimate, charged with fine sensitivity, shocking and inviting reflection. He is a poet with metaphysical yearnings, in search of his own personality, focused on the lyrical self and on that intimate world that he wants to manifest as a testimony of his existence. In the search for expression is his greatest achievement. In it is his conquest, his insatiable appetite for Being and projecting us his anguish, disasters and tensions. Its aesthetics can be defined as poetry of Astonishment, poetry that admires, or marvels at those who previously legitimized themselves. His lyrical self, his intimate self that offers us testimony of his existence, shows us, with his ethical commitment, the existence of otherness in his poems of social criticism. A universal poetry that embraces the thirst for justice, for peace, and that raises the flag of love. His work also appears in anthologies and on the Internet. He is the organizer of the Plenilunio Poetic Cycle in Malaga.

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