They don’t alliterate October
with gold falling from the fragile trees

Three poems by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias translated by Curtis Bauer.

Octubre, Mes sin Dioses

by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias

Los japoneses piensan que éste es el mes-sin-dioses.

Lo celebran así. No aliteran octubre

con oro desprendido de los árboles frágiles,

ni con revoluciones que cambiaron la historia.

Octubre como tregua. Como ausencia de todo

lo que excede los límites. Así para nosotros

sea: liberación. Porque ya no se exhiben

los implacables dioses desnudos del verano, 

los demasiados dioses, y falta todavía

mucho para que nazca el niño del invierno,

y más allá no alcanza la vista, desde este 

mes de distancias, mes de lejanías,

imperfecto, logrado, fortuito. Que así

sea para nosotros. Sin los ocho millones

de dioses que se esconden en la ciudad o el bosque,

las escalas coinciden con nuestras estaturas.

Dejémonos llevar por los presentimientos.

Escribamos las cosas con las letras minúsculas.

Celebremos octubre por su ausencia de dioses.

Disfrutemos su nombre porque sólo es un número

de una serie truncada. Y olvidada. Es octubre.

Tenemos treinta días sólo para nosotros.

 

October, Month Without Gods

by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias

The Japanese think this is the month-without-gods.

They celebrate it this way. They don’t alliterate October

with gold falling from the fragile trees,

or with revolutions that changed history.

October, like a truce. Like an absence of everything

that exceeds limits. May it be for us 

liberation. Because now they don’t exhibit

the relentless naked gods of summer,

the too many gods, and so much remains

for the child of winter to be born, 

and our sight doesn’t reach any further, from this 

month of distances, month of far aways,

imperfect, attained, fortuitous. If only it would be

like this for us. Without the eight million

gods that hide in the city or in the forest,

the scales coincide with our statures.

Let us be carried away by our premonitions.

Let us write things with small letters.

Let us celebrate October for its absence of gods.

Let us enjoy its name because it is only a number

in a truncated series. And forgotten. It is October.

We have thirty days all to ourselves.

translated from Spanish by Curtis Bauer
more>>

Arte de Traducir

by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias

Debemos celebrar las traducciones afortunadas.

Como el Précis de décomposition

de Cioran, convertido

en Breviario de podredumbre.

En momentos de máxima inseguridad cultural

el arte de traducir se erige

en última forma de conocimiento.

Ahora que la torre de la historia

sufre asedios que pueden ser los definitivos,

hemos de recurrir a los especialistas

y a quienes los traducen

sin prisa y con audacia

intuyendo el sentido final de los escritos.

Para comprender todo

lo que ocurre estos años,

basta con este libro

de Arnaldo Momigliano

que trata de otra época:

The Alien Wisdom, que alguien bellamente

ha traducido La sabiduría

de los bárbaros.

The Art of Translation

by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias

 

 

We should celebrate the fortunate translations.

Like the Précis de décomposition

by Cioran, turned into

Breviary of Putrefaction.

In those moments of maximum cultural insecurity

the art of translation extends

into the ultimate form of knowledge.

Now that the tower of history

suffers sieges that can be definitive,

we should appeal to the specialists

and to those who translate them

slowly and boldly

intuiting the essential meaning of the writing.

In order to understand everything

that has happened these years,

it’s enough to look at this book

by Arnaldo Momigliano 

which is about another time:

The Alien Wisdom, which someone 

translated beautifully into La sabiduría

de los bárbaros.

translated from Spanish by Curtis Bauer
more>>


Cumplimiento

by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias

 

El oráculo dijo

que para ser feliz

debería vivir en una casa 

levantada sobre un lugar que no

estuviera ni dentro

ni fuera 

de la ciudad.

 

Yo he cumplido mi parte.

Fulfillment

by Juan Antonio González-Iglesias

 

The oracle said

that in order to be happy

you should live in a house

raised above a place that is

neither inside nor

outside 

the city.

 

I’ve done my part.

translated from Spanish by Curtis Bauer
more>>

Eternity, though, never blinks.

Three poems by Perundevi, translated by N Kalyan Raman.

8:10

by Perundevi

அதிகாலை எழும் சுசித்ரா
ஒவ்வொரு மணி நேரத்தையும்
மூச்சுவாங்கஏறுவாள்
8:10
ஹேப்பி மணமஹால்
பேருந்து நிறுத்தத்தில்நின்றால்
அலுவலகம் தொடங்கும்போது
அங்கிருக்கலாம்
ஓர் இரவு
தட்டில் கூடகொஞ்சம் சப்ஜி
வைக்கச்சொன்ன
கணவனை ரெண்டு
கெட்டவார்த்தையில்திட்டினாள்
அப்போது
8:10
எண்களின் பரப்பில்
எட்டுக்கும்இரண்டுக்குமிடையே
மூன்றில் நான்கில்
ஐந்தில்
ஆறில் ஏழில்
அவள்கழுத்தை
நெருங்குகிற
இருகரங்களில்
ஒன்றையாவது உடைக்க
ஆசைப்படுகிறாள்தினம்தினம்.

8:10

by Perundevi

Rising at dawn, Suchitra

scales every passing hour,

panting for breath.

8:10

If she waits at the

Happy Wedding Palace

bus-stop, she can reach

her office on time.

One night,

when her husband asked for another

helping of vegetable on his plate,

she abused him, mouthing

a couple of swear-words.

8:10

Daily,

she wants to break

at least one of the two

hands that loom close

between eight and two

in the sprawl of numbers –

at three, four,

five, six

and seven –

to wring her neck.

translated from Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman
more>>

68வது பிரிவு

by Perundevi

கந்தசாமிக்கும் லதாவுக்கும் இது
68வது பிரிவு.
முதல் 2 தடவை
இருவரும்தற்கொலைக்கு
முயல நினைத்தார்கள்
தனித்தனியாக;
அடுத்த 8 தடவை
வாழ்த்துகளோடு குட்பை சொல்லிக்கொண்டார்கள்.
1 முறை தன் உள்ளங்கையில்
அவன்பார்க்க பிளேடால் கீறிச்சென்றாள் லதா.
இருவருக்கும் சங்கேதமான
பாடல்காட்சிவந்த டிவியை
குத்தி உடைத்தான் கந்தசாமி 1 முறை.
கண்ணீர் நனைத்தகண்ணாடி
பிரிவின் தடயச் செல்வத்தை
லதா துடைக்கவில்லை 1 தரம்.
முதல்முத்தம்கொடுத்தபோது
அவள் ஈஷிய சட்டையை
எரித்துப்போட்டான் கந்தசாமி 1 தரம்.
4 தடவைலதாவும் 1 தடவை கந்தசாமியும்
தொலையுறவில் கதறியழுது அவரவர்முன்பிருந்த
லேப்டாப்களை நனைத்துக் கெடுத்ததும் உண்டு.
கந்தசாமி அவளைப்பார்க்காமல்
ஈமெயில் மட்டும் போட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தான்
அது 1/2.
லதா அவனைப்பார்த்தபடியே
அவனைப் பார்க்கவேயில்லை, அது இன்னொரு 1/2.
3 முறை லதாகந்தசாமியையும்
3 முறை கந்தசாமி லதாவையும்
பரஸ்பர அன்பில் சந்தேகித்துப்பிரிந்தார்கள்.
(அவன் கனவில் அனுஷ்கா அரைகுறையாய் வந்ததும்
இவள் தன் கனவில்அதை முழுசாய்க் கண்டதும்
இதில் அடக்கம்)
சந்தேகத்தை மனதில் வைக்காமல்
லதாசொல்லித்தொலைத்ததால்
கந்தசாமிக்கு பிரிய 1 வாய்ப்பு.
அப்படி அவன்பிரிந்ததால்
லதாவுக்கும் சண்டைபோட 1 வாய்ப்பு.
சேர்ந்திருந்தபோதே லதாவோடு
7 தடவை
பிரிந்துதான் இருந்தான் கந்தசாமி.
அவ்வளவு மோசமில்லை லதா.
1 தடவை இன்னொருவன்
தன்னைக்கொஞ்சியதற்காய்
2 முறை தானாகவேபிரிந்து
கந்தசாமியைத் தண்டித்தாள் மாதர் சிரோமணி.
லதா ஒரு கவிதைஎழுதியதற்காக
1,
கந்தசாமி அவள் கவிதைகளைப் படிக்காததற்காக
8,
மனதில்பிரிந்திருக்கிறார்கள்.
ஒரேவழியாக அவள் தொல்லை ஒழிய
சாமியிடம் நின்றுபுலம்பினான் கந்தசாமி 1 நாள்,
அன்றிரவே சாமியாடி
லதா அவனைமீட்டுக்கொண்டாள்.
ஸ்தூலத்திலிருந்து சூட்சுமமாய் உறவு பயணிக்க
யாஹூ கணக்கை (அவளுக்கென தொடங்கியது)
7 முறை கந்தசாமி மூடிப்போட்டான்
போட்டிக்கு லதாவும் 6 முறை லிஸ்டில்
அவனை நீக்கி முறித்துக்கொண்டாள்.
இன்னும் சிலபிரிவுகள்
அவர்களுக்கே நினைவில்லை.
68 பிரிவுக்கு ராசியானஇலக்கம்,
நவக்கிரக ராசிக்கல் சோசியர்
சொல் மட்டுமே நினைவில்இருத்தப்
பிரயத்தனப்படுகிறான் கந்தசாமி.
தூதுசெல்லபுழுபூச்சியைக்கூடத்
தேடுவதாக இல்லை லதா.

69, 77, 88
அவர்களுக்காகப்
பொறுமையாகக் காத்திருக்கின்றன.
90-ல்
நிற்கும்மரணம் மட்டும்
வரிசையில்
முந்தத்துடிக்காமல் இருக்கட்டும்.

68th Parting

by Perundevi

For Kandasamy and Latha,

this is their 68th parting.

The first two times

they had individually

considered

attempting suicide.

The next eight times

they said goodbye to each other

with lots of good wishes.

Once, as he was looking on,

Latha cut her palm with a blade.

Once Kandasamy smashed and broke

the TV set when a song they had used

as their private code came on.

Once Latha did not wipe

a treasured trace of their parting:

her glasses wet with tears.

Once Kandasamy burnt to ashes

the shirt to which she had glued

herself during their first kiss.

Latha (four times) and Kandasamy (once)

had also sobbed and wept during their long-distance liaison,

drenching and damaging their laptops.

Without meeting her at all, Kandasamy

only sent her emails – that was one half.

Latha failed to see him while

she was looking at him –

that was another half.

They had each parted from the other, suspecting

the other’s fidelity to their mutual love:

Latha thrice and Kandasamy thrice.

(These include the time

Anushka appeared in his dreams half-naked,

a scene that Latha witnessed

in its entirety).

Because Latha blurted out her suspicion

without keeping it in her heart,

Kandasamy got one chance to part.

Because he left her in that fashion,

Latha got one chance to start a fight.

Even when they were together,

Kandasamy had stayed away

from her seven times.

Latha was not so bad, after all.

Because another man had wooed her

once,

that woman of exemplary virtue left  twice on her own,

to punish Kandasamy.

They parted in their hearts too –

once because Latha wrote poetry

and eight times because Kandasamy

did not read her poems.

One day, to get rid of her nuisance once and for all,

Kandasamy stood before god and complained.

That very night, dancing possessed,

Latha won him back.

When their relationship went from gross

to subtle, he closed his Yahoo! account

(opened especially for her sake) seven times.

To compete, Latha deleted him from her list

and cut him off six times.

A few more partings elude

even their own memories.

“68 is a lucky number for partings” –

Kandasamy is trying hard to retain

these words of the astrologer, renowned for

picking lucky gemstones from planetary positions,

in his memory. This time, Latha does not look for

even a worm or an insect

to be her emissary.

 

 

69th, 77th and 88th

partings await them

patiently.

May death, slated

for their 90th parting,

be not in a hurry

to jump the queue.

translated from Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman
more>>

காலம் இக்காலம்

by Perundevi

பெருங்காலத்தில் துளிக்காலங்கள்
ஒளிந்திருக்கின்றனஎப்போதும்.
என்றாலும்
புதையலைக் கண்ட

விபத்தைக் கேட்ட
முத்தத்தின் முதல்எச்சிலைச் சுவைத்த
கணத்துளிகளின் தொகுப்பாய்

அறியவேண்டாம்பெருங்காலத்தை.
அது
ஆயுளின் ஒரு கையால் ஆசிர்வதித்தபடி
வாழ்க்கையின் மறுகையால் தரதரவென
இழுத்துச் செல்கிறதுநம்மை.
நல்லெண்ணங்களின் திருவிழாக்களில்
நம்மைத்தொலைத்துபின்னர்
நோயாளியாக வேண்டப்படாதவராக
தேசங்களின் வர்க்கங்களின்பாலினங்களின்
அகதியாக மீட்டெடுக்கிறது.

களங்கமற்ற துளிக்காலங்கள்அயர்ந்துவிடுகின்றன அவ்வப்போது
மாளாவரம் வேண்டிய கில்காமேஷ்
அடக்கமுடியாததூக்கத்தில்
தன்வரத்தைத் தொலைத்ததைப் போல
இழக்கிறோம் நாம்அப்போதெல்லாம்.
பெருங்காலமோ கண்ணிமைப்பதே இல்லை
அது தூங்கிய கில்காமேஷின் காலடியில்
நாளுக்கொன்றாய் வைக்கப்பட்ட ரொட்டித்துண்டுகளாக
நம் அடி ஒவ்வொன்றையும்கணக்கிடுகிறது.

கொடுமையின் ஈகையின் துரோகத்தின் நேசத்தின்
ஏதோ ஒருகூரியமுனையால்
நமக்குள்ளே நம்மை வரையப்பார்க்கிறது
துளிக்காலம்.
பெருங்காலத்திடமோ
தோற்றுவிட்டோம்
பிறந்தபோதே.

Time This Time

by Perundevi

Though fleeting moments lie

hidden, always, within

eternity, let us not

know eternity as a collection

of moments when we

found the treasure,

heard of the accident or

first tasted the saliva of a kiss.

While blessing us with its one hand

of lifespan, with its other hand

life

drags us forward

roughly.

After losing us amid festive celebrations

of goodwill, it retrieves us later

as sick or unwanted persons,

as refugees in flight from

nations, classes and genders.

 

Innocent specks of time nod off to sleep every now and then; and

whenever that happens, just as Gilgamesh who sought

the boon of immortality lost it

in uncontrollable sleep, we lose all.

Eternity, though, never blinks.

It reckons our every step

as pieces of bread offered daily

at the feet of sleeping Gilgamesh.

 

With some sharp and deadly point

of cruelty, charity, betrayal or love,

this tiny speck of time tries

to draw us inside ourselves.

With eternity, though,

we lost the battle

right when we were born.

translated from Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman
more>>

We are planets
with personality flaws

Francesca_Pellegrino_foto_@paola_aloisio_-1Six poems by Francesca Pellegrino, translated from the Italian by Adria Bernardi.

Francesca Pellegrino, by profession and training, is a geometra, which could be described as something similar to engineer-architect-and site foreman, not exactly one of these, but one whose work corresponds with the work of each, a designer-constructor of buildings and go-between to the real world of permits and codes — in her case with a specialization of roadways and bridges.  

Adria_Bernardi__photo_credit_Tammy_Gentuso--April2013--10The velocity of these poems, from her collection, Chernobylove—il giorno dopo il vento (The Day After the Wind) divert the eye and the mind from a kind of mathematical logic with which they are constructed; it’s the logic of a poet who is always unconsciously measuring spatial relationships in a kind of rigorous echoing of that evaporates when you try to apply a formula. Her poems follow the course of a glamorous heyday of love-and-prosperity to the train-wreck of Italy’s economic collapse and the rupturing of institutions after the big party: “The principle partner / was seen on a tropical island / sun always / wearing a suit / made with my hide. Completely hand stitched.”  (“My bank is different”)  These poems also represent particular poetic inheritances: the lyric poet engaged in the searing, relentless, self-examination and the exploration of Bitter-Love becoming something else.  In addition to Chernobylove—il giorno dopo il vento (Kimerik 2010), Francesca Pellegrino has published Dimentico sempre di dare l’acqua ai sogni (Kimerik 2009), Niente di personale (Samizdat 2009); and a chapbook, L’Enunciato (Libraria Padovana 2008).  Francesca Pellegrino is a coordinator of the literary magazine LibrAria.  These poems appear in Chernobylove—The Day After the Wind Selected Poems 2008-2010 Selected, Edited, and Translated by Adria Bernardi (Chelsea Editions).  Born in 1974, Pellegrino lives in Taranto.

– Adria Bernardi

La mia banca è differente

by Francesca Pellegrino

Il mio cuore è un rosso fisso

fallimentare

tra crediti mai risarciti d’amore

ed interessi di mora

da pagare sull’unghia.

Al portatore.

 

. . .

 

Sono l’ultima della fila

al banco dei pegni.

Spero che l’omino sia buono con me

che mi dia almeno due centesimi

ho da pagare una bolletta

per tutte le ore

che ho nella borsa

investite in quelle azioni

che sono poi andate.  Fottute.

Fallite.

Il socio capogruppo

lo hanno visto su un’isola tropicale

sempre il sole

che portava un vestito fatto

con la mia pelle.  Tutto cucito a mano.

Gli stava da Dio, così come

l’ho amato

ma sapendo la poca cura

che ha avuto di tutto il tempo mio

resterà nudo, prima che faccia notte.

E freddo.

My bank is different

by Francesca Pellegrino

My heart is a fixed red

bankruptcy

between debts of love never repaid

and interest on defaults

to be paid on the nail.

To the bearer.

 

.   .   .

 

I am last in line

at the pawnshop counter

and I hope the small fellow will do right by me,

grant me at least two centimes

I have to pay a bill

for all the hours

I invested in the market in those shares

that were then lost.  Fucked.

Failured.

The principle partner

was seen on a tropical island

sun always

wearing a suit

made with my hide.  Completely hand stitched.

He wore it divinely, just the way

I loved him

but knowing the slipshodness

he used with all my time

he will remain naked, before it gets dark.

And cold.

translated from Italian by Adria Bernardi
more>>

Il diavolo azzurro, di famiglia nobile

by Francesca Pellegrino

Era un grand’uomo, lui

c’è da dirlo.  Impettito di tutto spillo e

mi portava a spasso al braccio

sempre che io non parlassi troppo

o troppo poco.  Potevo fare pipì

ma solo se non avevo esagerato

a saziare la sete. E l’amore sulle unghie.

E potevo baciarlo

solo se asciugavo bene bene

la bocca coi silenzi

respirando il giusto, senza

esagerare, come stare con l’anima

in mezzo ai ferri—stretta di morsa stretta

la lingua.  Che neanche una preghiera

si poteva.  Neanche una preghiera.

Era un grand’uomo.  Davvero davvero

lui, che si pettinava i capelli

all’ultimo grido mio, per ore e ore e ore.

E poi, una cosa buona, anzi due,

la fece una sera, quando andò via,

brav’uomo, lui

che aveva altre fiche da marcire

senza dimenticare lasciarmi il figlioamoremio

e prendere lo shampoo.

PrinceHarming, of noble origins

by Francesca Pellegrino

He was a very important man, he was,

no two ways about it.  Walking tall, slim,

and he always ushered me around by the arm

provided I didn’t talk too much

or too little.  I was permitted to pee but only if

I hadn’t exaggerated

satiating thirst.  And love

on the fingernails. And I could kiss him

only if I dried my mouth

very well with silences

breathing appropriately

without exaggerating, like having the soul

in fetters—tongue cinched

with cinched grip.  Not even a plea was allowed.

Not even a plea.  He was a very important man. Really

and truly.  Really he was. He would comb his hair

in the latest crazy craze, for hour upon hour upon hour.

And then, one good thing, two, actually

one evening, he did this, when he went away,

he was a good man,

who had other cunts to let rot

without forgetting to leave me

the sonloveofmylife and take the shampoo.

translated from Italian by Adria Bernardi
more>>

Nella pentola non c’era il sugo
e neanche il coperchio

by Francesca Pellegrino

Non sapevo che le tempeste

intorno avessero sempre e solo

tempeste. Non lo sapevo.

E così vanno anche i minuti

uno dietro l’altro

di fretta

a mozzicare i culi delle persone

coi denti intartarati.

E so di qualcuno

che si era pure inventato

un gioco nuovo

qualcosa come una parentesi che apriva

e dentro c’era una bambola

che aveva un figlio di pezza pure lui.

Ma facevano le lacrime vere

con gli occhi.

Poi, quando si era fatta una certa

chiudeva la parentesi

e tornava a girare il vuoto

nel vuoto, di tutto il niente del niente

che era.

 

 

Nothing in the pot,
Not even a lid

by Francesca Pellegrino

I didn’t know that storms

were always and only surrounded

by storms. I did not understand that.

And in this way even the minutes follow

one right after the other

in a rush

ass-biting people

with entartared teeth.

And I know of someone

who even invented

a new game

something like a parenthesis that opened up

and inside there was a ragdoll

which had a ragdoll baby that was part him.

However they cried true tears

from their eyes.

Then, when it got late

he closed the parentheses

and returned to spinning the void within

the void of all of the nothings of nothings

that were.

translated from Italian by Adria Bernardi
more>>

Read full article

There is a lawless canyon in our lips,
a labyrinth whose exits are burning.

Five poems from Luis García Montero’s Diary of an Accomplice, translated by Alice McAdams.

photo_Luis García Montero (1)

IMG_2836 - Version 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

I, III [Como el primer cigarillo]

by Luis García Montero

Como el primer cigarillo,

los primeros abrazos. Tú tenías

una pequeña estrella de papel

brillante sobre el pómulo

y ocupabas la escena marginal

donde las fiestas juntan la soledad, la música

o el deseo apacible de un regreso en común,

casi siempre más tarde.

 

Y no la oscuridad, sino esas horas

que convierten las calles en decorados públicos

para el privado amor,

atravesaron juntas

nuestras posibles sombras fugitivas,

con los cuellos alzados y fumando.

Siluetas con voz,

sombras en las que fue tomando cuerpo

esa historia que hoy somos de verdad,

una vez apostada la paz del corazón.

 

Aunque también se hicieron

los muebles a nosotros.

Frente a aquella ventana—que no cerraba bien—,

en una habitación parecida a la nuestra,

con libros y con cuerpos parecidos

estuvimos amándonos

bajo el primer bostezo de la ciudad, su aviso,

su arrogante protesta. Yo tenía

una pequeña estrella de papel

brillante sobre el labio.

I, III [Like the first cigarette]

by Luis García Montero

Like the first cigarette,

the first embraces. You had

a small paper star

shiny on your cheekbone

and you occupied the marginal stage

where parties joined with loneliness, music,

or the gentle desire for a common return,

almost always later.

 

And it was not darkness but those hours

that turned streets into public decorations

of a private love.

Our possible fugitive shadows

dared together,

smoking with upturned collars.

Silhouettes with voice,

shadows in which history took shape,

the history that today we are,

once wagered the heart’s peace.

 

Yet furniture

also did this to us.

In front of that window—which never closed well—

in a room that looks like ours,

with books and with bodies

that could be ours,

we loved each other

beneath the city’s first yawn, its warning,

its arrogant protest. I had

a small paper star

shiny on my lip.

translated from Spanish by Alice McAdams
more>>

I, VI [Rojo temblor de frenos por la noche]

by Luis García Montero

Rojo temblor de frenos por la noche,

así sueño el amor, así recuerdo,

entre la madrugada olvidadiza,

sensaciones de turbia intimidad,

cuando tener pareja conocida

es un alivio para los extraños.

 

Borrosa gravedad de parabrisas

en la despreocupada seducción.

Porque los coches saben su camino

y van como animales en querencia

a la casa, sin dudas, entre besos

que nos durán el tiempo de un semáforo

y un poco más; porque decir mañana

es casi discutir el más allá,

y hablamos del dolor de los horarios,

alejados, cayendo en la imprudencia,

como los vivos hablan de la muerte.

I, VI [Red tremble of brakes at night]

by Luis García Montero

Red tremble of brakes at night:

so I dream of love, so I remember.

Between the forgetful dawn,

sensations of murky intimacy,

when to have a familiar partner

is a relief for the alien.

 

Blurred gravity of windshields

in carefree seduction.

Because cars know their path

and they move like instinctive animals

toward home, surely, between our kisses

that last the length of a stoplight

and a little more; because to say tomorrow

is almost to discuss the beyond,

and we speak of the pain of schedules,

remote, succumbing to imprudence,

like the living speak of death.

 

 

translated from Spanish by Alice McAdams
more>>

Read full article

Pale Cupid: I am geysers, craters, belly-of-the-earth.

Two poems by Lucie Thésée, translated by Robert Archambeau and Jean-Luc Garneau.

Poème

by Lucie Thésée

Les bennes de ma tête bâillant

Partie dans un grand air bleu me revoilà pour la minute fugitive

un tronçon de tujau d’égout

béant à ciel ouvert,

tout y passé, ma vue parallèle de tuyao

a tout happé.

Qui donte maintenant de mon éternité?

moi dont l’oeil pré-natal assiste

au bain eternal des frondaisons compactes dans le fleuve houleux

dans le fleuve fecund de vies féroces, de vies colossales

dans le fleuve des crocodiles et des hippopotames.

Qui donte de mon éternité moi dont le corps

S’est recrocquevillé quand les clous cupids s’enfonçaient

cyniqeument, sinistrement dans ma chair pré-natal de déracinée

et la marquaient indélébilement, ma chair vierge

de ‘makanguia’ riche des bruits soyeux de jadis et des

senieurs retrospectives de la forét équinoxiale

mon bien primitif,

ma chair rouge-noir, vierge encore de tout nombre.

Apaise-toi ma fronde de rose dynamitée, vengeance est faite:

Mon éternité est.

Pourquoi ne m’y prélasserai-je pas? Je vous le demande, moi dont le coeur

de filao gonflé de sève d’impossible en musant dans ses aigrettes vertes

fait chanter le vent

moi dont les antennes de filao jaillissent à l’assaut d’un ciel de frissons.

Qui a voulu me voler mon éternité

O Mort, la vie ne ricane pas, elle rit et elle aime

elle aime en riant et c’est elle qui tue en riant.

Qui tue tous sec esciocs ai coer vague et flasque

O toi qui n’as même pas pu être un miserable.

Qui dit encore que le temps ne m’appartient pas?

moi qui m’étrille à meme l’échine du soleil

et l’embrasse et le baise de ma langue de flame.

L’essence souveraine de mon étrave voyuant la rage aux soutes

sur l’écume de l’injuste et du crime

allume les 89, les 48, les 45

embrasant l’horizon à terme de fraternité et d’amour.

Et maintenant pouffez de vos joues jouflues de graisse

blêmes indigents de la nue

Je suis jeysers, cratère, ventre de la terre au fond de la terre

Je lance la flame, attrapez-la au vol de mes rires, au vol de mes douleurs;

J’injecte la chanson, je perpétue frissons et frémissements fleurs d’éternel.

Eternité, je suis Liberté.

Poem

by Lucie Thésée

My head — a set of trash cans, open — gawps:

I am a drain pipe

Gaping wide,

And the blue day funnels through me.

I suck down everything.  All of it.

Who doubts my eternity now?

A river, prodigal, roiled with ferocious lives—

You crocodiles, hippopotami — all of it, I suck it down.

Who doubts my eternity now?

 

My unborn eye.

My coiled and unborn flesh, fetal, without race, without color,

Unborn, when Cupid’s little stinging dart

Cut in.  The little cynic!  My virgin flesh,

Unborn, was marked: dark.  A makanguia,

Dark with the silky noises of a past

In the darker forests, rich

In a primitive unborn wealth.

Unnumbered.  Unnamed.  Unborn flesh — red-black:

A sling of plucked rose petals, dying.  Vengeance

Was his: my eternity started.

Why not strut in it?

 

Why not?  I’m asking you.  Why not me?

Me, my heart-sap thick as a filao-tree’s,

Thick with the sap of the impossible

Under green fronds singing in wind.

Me, who skin spikes out filao-tree needles, shivering.

Who said eternity’s not mine?

 

My life doesn’t giggle: my life is she

Who kills while laughing.

You, who can’t even muster your misery,

You doubt eternity can be mine.

I’ll comb my hair with the backbone of the sun.

I’ll kiss fire, I’ll sail to those ships’ holds,

Those crimes on the foam of the waves,

Those crimes between the sea’s two horizons:

Liberté, égalité.

Fat cheeked little beggar in the clouds,

Pale Cupid: I am geysers, craters, belly-of-the-earth.

I throw flame in the flight of my laughter,

I take in everything, drink down song.

I’ll shiver and quake with endless flowers blooming.

Eternity, anyway? I’m Liberté.

translated from French by Robert Archambeau & Jean-Luc Garneau
more>>

Profonde allégresse

by Lucie Thésée

Le balcon couvert de tuiles en verre dépoli du vieux manoir est éclairé ce soir; sa lumière diffuse, clignotante dans la futaie ne surprend àme qui vive aux alentours: la longue dame noire ne descend-t-elle pas souvent au vieux manoir quand la lune s’affirme le seul oeil du ciel?  Aussi repose-t-elle, la longue dame noire, pour le voisinage, sur un lit de legends.

 

Dans un léger déshabillé qui dresses a carnation chocolate brun, la dame avec le calme imperturbable de l’éternité se promène sur le balcon; de temps en temps son gros chat tout noir lui tombe dans les jupes en miaulant calinement, c’est que la luminescente face de la lune—une face de mort—trouble profondément la bête dont le geste arranche la longue dame à sa froide meditation.

 

La dame noir prend alors la bête dans ses bras et à rebrousse poi, lui passe les doigts dans la fourrure pour lui saisir la tête à pleines mains; maintenant elle vient de deposer le chat et, lui mure avec un bref haussement d’épaule: “Tu avais peur m’a-t-il dit… il ne s’est donc pas douté une minute que ma vie est pour lui… l’envie de me ravir mon soufflé n’effleura pas son couer.  Il alluma une cigarette…” et le plus subtile sourire humanise son visage.

 

L’animal nullement surpris continuerait son manège mais la dame noire va faire de la lumière aux pieces de l’étage tandis qu’elle éteint celle du balcon pour reprendre sa promenade.  Ellse s’arrête fréquemment aux extrémités du balcon comme pour guetter une arrivvée… mais de guerre lasse elle s’accoude à la balustrade la tête dans les deux mains flottant à travers la tropicale musique d’une évlatante nuit de line, la tête prise aussi dans sa proper nuit… et naturellement malgré l’heure très avancée, pas un ne s’étonnerait: n’est-ce pas la longue dame noire?  Le jour pourrait bien la rencontrer là, à la meme position…

Rapture: The Depths

by Lucie Thésée

The one-eyed sky: the moon-sky, its light on the tiles of the ruined plantation veranda.  And she who comes here often, that black woman, long-boned, slender — long bones stretched on a bed rigged out of scraps and village legends.

 

Long bones, slight — and chestnut-bronze and unadorned, her skin; her clothes a muslin filigree.  Darkness in the dark skirt’s folds, her cat mewls for that dead man’s face, the moon:  Long Bones knows the face it sees.

 

Long Bones runs long fingers through the cat-fur, forehead first, against the grain, suffers the cat-eyed gaze a while.  A brief shrug, a flexion of the neck and shoulders. “He wouldn’t take me, he said ‘you are afraid,’ he lit his cigarette…”

 

Darkness in the Dark is not surprised, would suffer her fingers in his fur some more.  But Long Bones paces in the light of the one-eyed sky, veranda-length, veranda-length again, to pause, as if to wait for someone, as if to hope.  Late, and yet late.  If anyone saw, no one would ask: isn’t it Long Bones, dark in dark?  No one would ask.  She comes here often.  Day will find her.  No one else.

translated from French by Robert Archambeau & Jean-Luc Garneau
more>>

 

I worship fire
But recant when lightning finds me out

Four poems by Ghalib translated by M. Shahid Alam.

1

by Ghalib

ہوس کو ہے نشاطِ کار کیا کیا

نہ ہو مرنا تو جینے کا مزا کیا

 

نگاہِ بے محابا چاہتا ہوں

تغافل ہائے تمکیں آزما کیا

 

نفس موجِ محیطِ بیخودی ہے

تغافل ہائے ساقی کا گلا کیا

 

دلِ ہر قطرہ ہے سازِ “انا البحر

ہم اس کے ہیں، ہمارا پوچھنا کیا

 

بلائے جاں ہے غالبؔ اس کی ہر بات

عبارت کیا، اشارت کیا، ادا کیا

1

by Ghalib

In crossing limits we become free.

In dying we live dangerously.

 

Why singe my heart all day?

At once, pitch your bolt at me.

 

I surf the sea of extinction. Saqi –

Your slights cannot sink me.

 

In every drop the cry – I am the sea.

He is for me: great is my glory.

 

Ghalib, she takes my breath away.

What a face, what eyes, what sorcery!

translated from Urdu by M. Shahid Alam
more>>

Read full article

Make each dying rose
a confidante

Two new translations by Micah McCrary from Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Roses.

XIV

from Les Roses

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Été:  être pour quelques jours

le contemporain des roses;

respirer ce qui flotte autour

de leurs âmes écloses.

 

Faire de chacune qui se meurt

une confidante,

et survivre à cette sœur

en d’autres roses absente.

XIV

from The Roses

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Summer:  to be for just a few days

the friend of roses,

to breathe what floats around

their souls in bloom.

 

Make each dying rose

a confidante,

a surviving sister

of other absent roses.

translated from French by Micah McCrary
more>>

XX

from Les Roses

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Dis-moi, rose, d’où vient

qu’en toi-même enclose,

ta lente essence impose

à cet espace en prose

tous ces transports aériens?

 

Combien de fois cet air

prétend que les choses le trouent,

ou, avec une moue,

il se montre amer.

Tandis qu’autour de ta chair,

rose, il fait la roue.

XX

from The Roses

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Tell me, rose.  Where did

your slow essence impose

all this air,

enclosed within yourself,

in this space of prose?

 

How many times has this air

claimed that things perforate,

or, with a sneer,

watch bitterly

while that around your flesh,

rose, cartwheels?

translated from French by Micah McCrary
more>>

Long ago I found out that you were an unfinished animal

Four poems by the Peruvian poet José Watanabe, translated from the Spanish by Carlos Llaza.

 

 

 

 

 

La oruga

by José Watanabe

Te he visto ondulando bajo las cucardas, penosamente,

trabajosamente,

pero sé que mañana serás del aire.

 

Hace mucho supe que no eras un animal terminado

y como entonces

arrodillado y trémulo

te pregunto:

¿sabes que mañana serás del aire?

¿te han advertido que esas dos molestias aún invisibles

serán tus alas?

¿te han dicho cuánto duelen al abrirse

o sólo sentirás de pronto una levedad, una turbación

y un infinito escalofrío subiéndote desde el culo?

 

Tú ignoras el gran prestigio que tienen los seres del aire

y tal vez mirándote las alas no te reconozcas

y quieras renunciar,

pero ya no: debes ir al aire y no con nosotros.

 

Mañana miraré sobre las cucardas, o más arriba.

Haz que te vea,

quiero saber si es muy doloroso el aligerarse para volar.

Hazme saber

si acaso es mejor no despegar nunca la barriga de la tierra.

Caterpillar

by José Watanabe

I’ve seen you squirming painfully under the mallows,

but I know

you belong to the air of tomorrow.

 

Long ago I found out that you were an unfinished animal.

As then,

kneeling down and shaky

I ask:

Do you know you belong to the air?

Has anybody ever warned that those sore yet invisible stripe-humps

will become your wings?

Has anybody ever told you what the ache will be like when they open,

or will you just feel a sudden lightness, a tremor:

sharp shivers up your arse?

 

You ignore the prestige you airborne beings hold

and you might examine your wings and feel strange, not quite yourself,

and you may want to quit,

but no: you must go to the air and not stay with us anymore.

 

Tomorrow I’ll look over the mallows, or higher,

until I spot you,

I want to know if detaching from the soil’s too painful.

Please, let me know

if by any chance it’s best to keep the belly against the earth.

translated from Spanish by Carlos Llaza
more>>

Read full article

I opened an ossuary and saw the bones

Excerpts from The World as Presence by Cuban writer Marcelo Morales Cintero, translated and with an introductory essay by Kristin Dykstra.

El mundo como ser (The World as Presence) is Marcelo Morales Cintero’s newest work. Like his previous books it has emerged in segments. The pattern is that some are first published in freestanding chunks but are destined to become part of a larger whole. Segments 1-12 of El mundo como ser were published as a preliminary sequence in 2013 (in Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas / Nueva escritura de las Américas 16). Morales has now completed subsequent sections and is consolidating his book-length manuscript.

One of the challenges of this translation is that we began our collaboration before he completed the entire book, so the final version may change. And while Morales has won a variety of literary prizes in the past, it’s also too soon to tell what kinds of institutional and artistic validations will come for this book after its Spanish-language publication, so I can’t argue for the value of the new work on these terms. I can only say that so far the reception of our excerpts in English translation has been enthusiastic.

There are opposing truths that motivate me to take up this project despite those apparent pitfalls. First and foremost: translators need to take risks sometimes. Or what are we really doing this for?

Translators need to take risks sometimes. Or what are we really doing this for?

Next, translation has its ways of facilitating life-giving dialogues between an author and his or her colleagues out there in the world. It’s exciting to get a project out there in English while the author is still so intensely involved with it, rather than leaving his work to languish in the usual lag time (years, decades, lifetimes) before translation arrives, if it arrives at all.

Furthermore, while Morales is younger than other Cuban poets who have built a greater international reputation today, he is also a writer mature enough to know himself even while taking new turns. His first book of poetry appeared in 1997, when he was twenty years old, and he has many other collections out already. Cuba is a place where older generations have held onto their dominance in many arenas, often with great accomplishments. No matter what their significance is, it’s still a mistake to overlook the energy of writers now in their thirties and forties.

El mundo como ser explores the vast interior spaces of the self, which figure prominently in Morales’ earlier poetry. The major difference is that the new book is more overtly involved with the recent history of the nation. In the sentences and fragments comprising El mundo como ser, Morales registers shifts in Cuba’s economy and society under the island’s new presidential leadership. Raúl Castro’s gradual and highly planned openings toward small-scale capitalism have begun to alter daily life for Havana residents. It is by no means clear what this much-hyped and much-debated state of transition will become for them in the long term. This fact, more than any concrete reference flitting past that I’ve taken time to confirm while completing the translation, is central to understanding El mundo como ser.

Morales’ lines of text manifest the “stippling” of presence in society – flecks and scratches of the ser, or one’s presence, or one’s being, one’s consciousness. His poems register a constant desire to confront the most essential features of life, to trace its contours and explore the range and complexity of human possibility within everyday life in Havana today. In search of these contours the speaker tends to focus on the edgings of death. The emotional intensities of his everyday quest sometimes seem to carry him toward numbness. Perhaps that alternation of intensity and numbness is essential for survival – but the speaker seems to wage war on numbness anyway. He is absolutely determined to explore the infinitude of spaces within the self, and to make room for love, a powerful and paradoxically internal escape from isolation.

Another significant tension that flows through the fragments of the larger manuscript is the desire to locate a viable political perspective, which brings a new layer of emotional risk into El mundo como ser. These poems clearly indicate a critical view of the status quo in Cuba, expressing distance from official rhetoric in a way characteristic of many citizens confronting the uncertainties of the twenty-first century. Do known dissident organizations, like the Damas de Blanco (the Ladies in White, a well-known opposition group) who appear in a few different places over the course of this book, offer a viable alternative? Might opposition cycle back into familiar (and potentially violent) polarizations between the current government and an all-too familiar version of the right wing? What sources of information are reliable on these matters? Absent greater certainty, where can hope reside?

–Kristin Dykstra

1

De El Mundo como Ser (Fragmentos)

by Marcelo Morales Cintero

Leía un poema de Gottfried Benn, hablaba de un cadáver sobre una mesa de disección, describía la manera en que tocaba el cerebro, la manera en que extraía su lengua y la ponía en un recipiente con agua “like flowers.”

Oí a una multitud gritando atrás por la ventana, una multitud gritando libertad.

Detrás iba una turba gritando cosas violentas.

Libertad, libertad.

Dejé los órganos en el búcaro, cogí mi cámara, me puse las botas sin medias y fui al edificio de prisiones.

Cuando llegué no vi ya a nadie, un guardia joven me dijo que por favor cogiera por la calle, sólo por hoy, me dijo.

Yo pensaba en los órganos de Gottfried.

Sentí emoción por la palabra libertad, creo que eran las madres, regresé a la casa, mientras subía las escaleras pensé, tu problema no es la cobardía, tu problema es

la indiferencia.

 

 

1

From The World as Presence (Excerpts)

by Marcelo Morales Cintero

I was reading a poem by Gottfried Benn, it talked about a cadaver on a dissection table, describing the way he touched its cerebellum, the way he extracted the tongue and placed it, “como flores,” into a receptacle with water.

Through the back window I heard a crowd shouting, a crowd shouting freedom. 

Behind it a mob shouting violent things.

Freedom, freedom.

I left the organs on the jar, grabbed my camera, threw on my boots without socks and went out toward the prison bureau.

When I arrived I didn’t see anyone, a young guard told me to please walk in the street, just for today, he said.

I thought about Gottfried’s organs.

I was struck by hearing the word freedom, I think it was a protest by the mothers, I

returned to my house, as I was climbing the stairs I thought, your problem isn’t

cowardice, your problem is indifference.

 

translated from Spanish by Kristin Dykstra
more>>

4

De El Mundo como Ser (Fragmentos)

by Marcelo Morales Cintero

Ayer mientras leía un poema político me tembló la mano. Sentí la presión del poder, mi

miedo al poder. Ayer, mientras leía, temblé, como la primera vez. Cuando salí, me

encontré en un bar con mis amigos, hablé de todo sin decirles nada. Oscar gritaba

borracho, la otra pedía tequila. Aunque nos quedamos, hace tiempo que nos fuimos.

4

From The World as Presence (Excerpts)

by Marcelo Morales Cintero

Yesterday while I was reading a political poem my hand shook. I felt the weight of

power, my fear of power. Yesterday as I was reading I shook, just like the first time.

When I left I met friends in a bar, talked about everything while telling them nothing.

Oscar was drunk and shouting, someone else ordered tequila. Even though we stay

here, we left a long time ago.

translated from Spanish by Kristin Dykstra
more>>

Read full article

he relished the taste of sea-soaked hair

A poem by the Martiniquais poet Suzanne Dracius, translated by Nancy Naomi Carlson

De rue d’Enfer à rue Monte au Ciel

by Suzanne Dracius

Le bougre est descendu à Saint-Pierre,

Martinique, Martinique des cendres,

en février 1902,

a drivaillé en plein Mouillage,

n’y a pas trouvé de daubannes ni nulle dame-jeanne

mais des oeillades de dames Jeanne ad libitum,

s’est fait toiser par la dame

qui a la tête dans les nuages,

le ventre en feu,

le mont de Vénus pelé.

Au pied de la Montagne Pelée,

de rue d’Enfer en bordée

jusqu’à la rue Monte au Ciel

driva de biguine en bordel.

En bord d’eau au fond du Mouillage

et des abyssaux mouillages

goûta des chevelures océanes,

dégusta des rhums et des femmes de toutes couleurs,

visita des ventres de feu,

croisa deux-trois gais zombies

en folle partance

pour de créoles Saturnales,

de fantastiques et voluptueuses chevauchées,

des nuits d’orgie à Saint-Pierre.

 

A chocolaté

bon enfant,

tout excité,

un lot de diablotins

pierrotins

et de matadors mamelues,

chatouillé des chabines fessues,

une calazaza biscornue,

prodigué suçons et caresses à une capresse à demi nue

au callipyge bonda maté

sans démâter de son côté

jusqu’à ce que sa queue se dévisse,

honoré masques et bergamasques,

masques-la-mort en émoi,

cheval trois-pattes en grand rut,

Marianne la peau-figue alanguie,

vieux-corps vifs à califourchon

en partance pour un Carnaval

de morituri bons vivants,

l’ultime,

le sublime

qui jamais

ne renaîtrait de ses cendres

en telle splendeur bacchanale.

 

En ce petit temps

court et lourd,

en ce laps d’antan,

en un rien de temps,

à peine à peine

eût-il exonéré ses graines,

songeant à sa légitime

qui l’espérait à Fort-de-France

— poteau mitan

au beau mitan

de l’austérité conjugale —

retira ses pieds juste à temps

pour éviter la Catastrophe.

 

From Hell's Road to Rise-to-Heaven Street

by Suzanne Dracius

The fellow went down to Saint-Pierre,

Martinique, Martinique of cinders and ash,

in February 1902,

drifted along for somewhere to moor,

found no Johnny cakes nor demijohns,

only winks from ladies named Jeanne ad libitum,

was ogled from head to toe

by the lady lost in the clouds

with fire in her womb,

Venus’ bald mount.

At the foot of Mount Pelée,

from the rim of Hell’s road

as far as Rise-to-Heaven street,

he was lured by the brothels’ beguines.

From the water’s shores to the heart

of Le Mouillage and its harbor’s abyssal depths,

he relished the taste of sea-soaked hair,

feasted on rums and women in all shades and hues,

toured fire-filled wombs,

passed two or three zombies with grins

crazily bound

for Creole Saturnalia,

sultry, fantastic rides,

nights of orgy in Saint-Pierre.

 

With good will,

aroused,

he groped with chocolate-smeared hands

a crowd of little devils from Saint-Pierre

bedecked with red

and big-breasted matadors, stiletto-heeled,

tickled chabines with derrières high and round,

a calazaza adorned with a pair of fanciful horns,

lavished caresses and hickeys on a half-naked capresse,

a callipyge with buttocks jutting out like masts on a ship,

without cause, for his part, to dismast

until his tail should come undone,

saluted masks and bergamasks,

spirited skeleton brides raised from the dead,

a three-legged horse, crazed in heat,

languid women disguised as Marianne,

men disguised as old bodies astride one another’s backs

bound for Carnival

where the morituri live well,

the supreme,

the sublime

which never will rise

from cinders and ash

with bacchanal splendor restored.

 

In this short span of time,

intense and compressed,

in this lapse of bygone days,

a mere nothing of time,

barely, hardly

had he dispersed his seed,

remembering his wife

who was waiting for him in Fort-de-France—

a domestic pillar of strength

in the midst

of wedded restraint—

he retraced his steps just in time

to avoid the Disaster.

 

translated from French by Nancy Naomi Carlson
more>>