A Poem for a Time of Pandemic

North Dakota Quarterly is very pleased to share Maunel Tzoc Bucup’s poem, “Bullshit in oblivion” written for International Poetry Day in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the author notes: “I wrote this poem as we sit on the verge of mass death.” The poem was originally posted on Facebook.

The poem was originally composed in Spanish which we’ve printed below and was translated by our poetry editor, Paul M. Worley.

Remember that NDQ relies on our outstanding contributors, editors, and subscribers to thrive. Please consider submitting to NDQ. Also remember that these days are rough for many cultural institutions, publishers, and little magazines. If you can, consider buying a book from a small press, subscribing to a literary journal, or otherwise supporting the arts. 

For some content from from our most recent issue, NDQ 86.3/4, click here. For a preview from our next issue, 87.1/2, go here.   

Bullshit in oblivion

Looking at the things in my bathroom
I ask myself about the bullshit left in them
those cynical bodies of the future
washing themselves with unscented gel soap

Exactly boy
we are bodies with no future
washing and dirtying our hearts, wanting
to write from the depths of the abyss

Rebuilding the crime of day-to-day life
hugging our favorite book
watering a red poppy
looking out at the oil infested water
hugging a dead body, still warm
caressing street dogs
finally and at last
this is the bullshit of our happy years

The day’s crime section
full of domestic and work incidents
are we alone or do we feel alone?
the truth is always singular
I can’t speak for you, child
I’m sorry
even if you hate me
I’ll disappear any minute
to rebuild the cursed history of our lives


Fecalidad en el olvido 

Observando las cosas de mi baño
me pregunté por las pequeñas fecalidades que quedan en ellas
y ahí están los cuerpos futuros y cínicos 
limpiándose las culpas con jabón gel sin aroma 

Exacto nene
los cuerpos sin futuro
limpiando y ensuciando el corazón con el deseo
de escribir en medio del abismo 

Reconstruir el crimen de vivir el día a día 
abrazando nuestro libro preferido 
regando cada mañana una planta de amapolas 
observando el mar infestado de petróleo 
abrazando un cuerpo muerto y aún tibio 
acariciando perros callejeros 
en fin y por fin
esto es la fecalidad de los años felices 

La crónica roja del día 
llena de obligaciones domésticas y laborales 
¿estamos solos o nos sentimos solos?
la verdad es singular en cada sujeto 
no puedo a hablar por ti nenx
lo siento
aunque me odies 
yo desapareceré en cualquier momento 
reconstruyendo la malvada historia de nuestras vidas


Manuel Gabriel Tzoc Bucup (b. 1982), San Andrés Xecul, Totonicapán / Ciudad de Guatemala. Manuel Tzoc is an interdisciplinary poet and visual artist whose poet work serves as a matrix to unite diverse aesthetic language languages in the creation of a work. His craft focuses on re-signifying objects through written poetry, exploring all of the book’s aesthetic possibilities, and giving it the status of a visual object.

Manuel Gabriel Tzoc Bucup (n. 1982), San Andrés Xecul, Totonicapán / Ciudad de Guatemala. Poeta y artista visual interdisciplinario con matriz en la poesía, que cohesiona los demás lenguajes estéticos para la creación de una obra. Su oficio se concentra en re-significarlos objetos a través de la poesía escrita, explorar todas las posibilidades estéticas del libro, asignándole categorías de piezas visuales.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
%d bloggers like this: