HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA An International Journal of Culture Revista International de Cultura
P U L E N TA P O O L PERUVIAN POETS IN THE US GUEST EDITOR / EDITOR INVITADO GIANCARLO HUAPAYA
NÚMERO / ISSUE 13 2017
UNA PUBLICACIÓN DEL INSTITUTO DE ESCRITORES LATINOAMERICANOS A PUBLICATION OF THE LATIN AMERICAN WRITERS INSTITUTE OFICINA DE ASUNTOS ACADÉMICOS / OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS DEPARTAMENTO DE HUMANIDADES / HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT EUGENIO MARIA DE HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF CUNY
HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA DIRECTOR / EDITOR ISAAC GOLDEMBERG
diagramación y diseño / layout and design mutandis Imagen de la portada, cortesía de / Cover image, courtesy of Editorial del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana es una publicación internacional dedicada a la cultura. Hostos Review / Revista Hostosiana is an international journal devoted to culture. La revista no comparte necesariamente la opinión de sus colaboradores. Articles represent the opinions of the contributors, not necessarily those of the journal. Por favor dirijan toda la correspondencia al Director Please address all correspondence to the Editor. Instituto de Escritores Latinoamericanos Latin American Writers Institute Hostos Community College / CUNY Office of Academic Affairs 500 Grand Concourse Bronx, New York 10451 U.S.A. Tel: (718) 518-6680 E-mail: email@example.com
HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA
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ISSN: 1547-4577 Copyright © 2017 by Latin American Writers Institute Todos los derechos reservados / All Rights Reserved
CONSEJO EDITORIAL HONORARIO HONORARY EDITORIAL BOARD MARJORIE AGOSÍN (Wellesley College) CARMEN BOULLOSA (City College-CUNY) JOSÉ CASTRO URIOSTE (Purdue University) CARLOTA CAULFIELD (Mills College) RAQUEL CHANG-RODRÍGUEZ (City College-CUNY) ARIEL DORFMAN (Duke University) AMÉRICO FERRARI (Universidad de Ginebra) EDWARD H. FRIEDMAN (Vanderbilt University) MARIE-LISE GAZARIAN (St. John’s University) MEMPO GIARDINELLI (Fundación Mempo Giardinelli) CHRISTIAN GIUDICELLI (Universidad de La Sorbonne) MARGO GLANTZ (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) FLORINDA F. GOLDBERG (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) EDUARDO GONZÁLEZ VIAÑA (Western Oregon University) OSCAR HIJUELOS (Estados Unidos/United States) SEYMOUR MENTON (University of California, Irvine) LOUISE M. MIRRER (New York Historical Society) EDMUNDO PAZ SOLDÁN (Cornell University) RANDOLPH POPE (University of Virginia) ALEJANDRO SÁNCHEZ AIZCORBE (P.E.N. Club del Perú) STEPHEN A. SADOW (Northeastern University) RÓGER SANTIVÁÑEZ (Temple University) JACOBO SEFAMÍ (University of California, Irvine) LEONARDO SENKMAN (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) MERCEDES SERNA (Universidad de Barcelona) SAÚL SOSNOWSKI (University of Maryland) ANTHONY STANTON (El Colegio de México) ILÁN STAVANS (Amherst College) SILVIO TORRES-SAILLANT (Syracuse University) MIGUEL ÁNGEL ZAPATA (Hofstra University)
INTRODUCTION Giancarlo Huapaya: Pulenta Pool
Ethel Barja Translated by Lisa James and María Cristina Hall
Andrea Cabel Translated by Maggie Messerschmidt
José Antonio Villarán
translated by Diego Arispe Bazán
Paul Guillén translated by Ilana Dann Luna
Carlos Villacorta Gonzales
translated by Daniel Alarcón and Rachel Precopio-White
Enrique Bernales Albites translated by Vicent Moreno
Xavier Echarri translated by Maria DiFrancesco
translated by Lynn Levin, Fredy Roncalla and Raul Sentenat
65 76 86 97
translated by E. M. O’Connor and Gabriel Amor
translated by G. J. Racz
Roger Santiváñez translated by Elsa Costa
Miguel Ángel Zapata
translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, Anthony Seidman and Gwendolyn Osterwald
he thirteen poets collected in this volume fulfill just two requirements: they were born in Peru and they currently live in the United States. With these characteristics, our aim is not to determine common traits in the writing of the presented texts nor to uncover particularities in order to assign authors categories of geography or origin, as that would be insufficient for—even contradictory to— expressing perspectives and poetic panoramas. We think of this collection as the organization and record of a circulation between two areas in connection with specific collective imaginations and variable locations. In Pulenta Pool we contribute to a healthy interest in designing maps as a constant and mobile exercise of decentralizing and destroying areas of power. In this sense, we leave a record of multiple displacements of writings that have very little in common but that are deployed as concepts of exchange. This allows us to rethink the relationships between texts as intermittences of logics in flows of languages. In diasporas of disparity, the making of intersections articulates the disintegration of poetic wealth, that, when considered as a snapshot, shows us a mosaic of resistances that go beyond belongings and territories. This process could expose coinciding horizons in the catalog of anthologies of poetry in transit written in Spanish. However, current political contexts and creative markets demarcate the prospects for the management of poetry’s movement. The current panorama is not the best. Intersecting dimensions of cultural politics require us to confront the crisis of representation, the weakening of democracy and the normalization of violations of human and environmental rights. The spaces and mediums of literary development form part of a multiplicity of reflections that promote themes such as the strength of democracy,
cultural rights, social transformation, and respect for multiculturalism. From these contexts we form micro-politics for positioning, making visible, and circulating writing, and we create valuable meanings that stimulate diverse connections and social actions. Therefore, it is important to note some aspects of the economic space of the poetics of transit/translation to better understand their circulation in the market. The presence of poetry written in Spanish and translated into English in the United States editorial industry is meager; however, there is more published in the US than in any other editorial market. According to the magazine, Three Percent, only 0.7% of total books published in the United States each year are literary translations. Between 2010 and 2016 about 600 titles of poetry-in-translation were published, of which 129 were translated from Spanish. This constitutes around 21% in a universe led by Francophone poetry1. The few publishers that risk publishing translations of poetry from Spanish subsist thanks to grants, subventions and institutional funding. Within this panorama, the catalog of Peruvian books of poetry translated into English is miniscule. This is a reflection of the precariousness of Peru’s editorial market and of the lack of resources available to authors to have an impact in the international sphere. While countries like Mexico, Spain, Chile, and Uruguay have implemented public policies so that their cultural products have better relations in national and international markets,2 Peru has not implemented any plan to promote the professionalism of independent publishers, the flow of the book in local and regional markets, and the participation of its authors in foreign markets. In spite of such precariousness there are English publications of important poetic projects and more are planned for this year3. Seventeen Peruvian authors have published books of poetry translated into English in fifty-seven titles distributed among publishers of the United States (42), United Kingdom (14) and India (1). César Vallejo is the most translated and published Peruvian poet in the English language with twenty-seven4 editions of his poetic work alone5—more than 50 percent of the total—which include five versions of Trilce and
two volumes of his complete works. Eduardo Chirinos follows, with seven translations published; six editions from U.S. publishers and one from the London-based Salt Publishing, all translated by Gregary Racz6. Antonio Cisneros and Isaac Goldemberg are two more poets who have published more than one book in English; Cisneros has published four in the United Kingdom and one in the United States (New York) that together make up his Anglo legacy by virtue of his translators William Rowe, David Tipton and Maureen Ahern. Goldemberg has published three books in bilingual editions. His book Dialogues with Myself and My Others, translated by Jonathan Tittler, was published by Cardboard House Press last year7. Another book published by this publishing house—of which I am the founding editor—is Domingo de Ramos; his book China Pop, translated by Thomas Ward, includes a selection of some of the most representative poems of this fundamental author. An exceptional case is the poet César Moro, who has two books translated from French into English, as most of his work was written in French. Amour à mort (Love Till Death) translated by Frances LeFevre was published by Vanishing Rotating Triangle Press (New York) in 1973 and The Scandalous Life of César Moro, In His Own Words, translated by Philip Ward, came out of Oleander Press (New York) in 1976; the latter also includes poems translated from Spanish. The other fourteen poets each have only one book translated and published in English. Three Peruvian women have published books of poetry in English. The first was Magdalena Chocano, translated by Larisa Chaddick and William Rowe. Poems Read in London was published in an artisanal edition and in a limited edition by Yapa Editors (London) in 2003; later the book had a second edition by Cardboard House Press (Phoenix / Bloomington, 2015). Peruvian Rebel: The World of Magda Portal (Penn State University Press, 2009) examines the life and work of the poet and contains a selection of poetry translated by Kathleen Weaver, who is also the author of the extensive biographical sketch that begins the volume. Fish by Mariela Dreyfus, translated by Eileen M. O’Connor, was published by Nirala Press in 2014. Although edited in New Delhi, India, it has had distribution and circulation in the US American market.
José Santos Chocano was the first Peruvian poet to have a complete book translated into English. Spirit of the Andes, translated by Edna Worthley Underwood, was published by the historical Mosher Press (Portland, Maine) in 1935. One important event, of magnitude similar to that of the appearance of the first translation of Trilce, was the publication of the English version of Five Meters of Poems by Carlos Oquendo de Amat by Ugly Duckling Presse. This jewel of the Latin American avant-garde was translated by Joshua Beckman and Alejandro de Acosta and was published in 2010 in the Lost Lit series of the New York publisher. Worthy of separate mention is The School of Solitude by Luis Hernández, translated by Anthony Geist, which was published in 2016 by Swan Isle Press. The edition was well-received by US American critics and was nominated for the shortlist of PEN America’s Poetry in Translation Award. Other poets with books in English are Juan Gonzalo Rose, translated by Paola García, Miguel Ángel Zapata, translated by Anthony Seidman, Tulio Mora, translated by C.A. de Lomellini and David Tipton, José Antonio Mazzotti, translated by Clayton Eshleman, Odi Gonzáles, translated by Lynn Levin, and Yvan Yauri, translated by Marta del Pozo and Nicholas Rattner. Attending more to the absences than the inclusions of this inventory, we could signal that this map is insufficient to address the Peruvian poetic from any perspective or to even intend to elaborate a genealogy of it. This catalog is important but it presents notable absences such as Martín Adán,8 Alberto Hidalgo, Blanca Varela, Jorge Eduardo Eielson, Emilio Adolfo Westphalen, Pablo Guevara, Carlos Germán Belli, Rodolfo Hinostroza, Javier Heraud, Jorge Pimentel, Carmen Ollé, Enrique Verástegui, Juan Ramírez Ruiz, and Mario Montalbetti, to mention only a few.9 The interest in the construction and advancement of this list is also due to the fact that the dialogues that are established from the appearance of a poetic project in translation affect the local poetics and stimulate projects of political-poetic communion. This contributes to the strengthening of cultural relations between the countries of concern and to increasing opportunities for other authors of the same origin. One of the principal actors in this process is the literary translator; their
reading attends to diverse motivations and is directed at coordinating— from the selection of the text to the submission of the manuscript— the publication of the project in diverse platforms, whether the partial publication of the project in specialized magazines or the publication of the book in some publishing house. The translator is a cultural agent that constructs a bridge to amplify identities and give a new reading of a poetic. Pulenta Pool is part of that process and contributes by presenting thirteen poets in translation from diverse generations and styles. This edition contains, from youngest to oldest, the poets: Ethel Barja (1982) translated by Lisa James and María Cristina Hall; Andrea Cabel (1982) translated by Maggie Messerschmidt; José Antonio Villarán10 (1979); Alberto Valdivia (1977) translated by Diego Arispe Bazán; Paul Guillén (1976) translated by Ilana Dann Luna; Carlos Villacorta (1976) translated by Daniel Alarcón and Rachel Precopio-White; Enrique Bernales (1975) translated by Vicent Moreno; Xavier Echarri (1966) translated by Maria DiFrancesco; Odi Gonzáles (1962) translated by Lynn Levin, Fredy Roncalla and Raul Sentenat; Mariela Dreyfus (1960) translated by E. M. O’Connor and Gabriel Amor; Eduardo Chirinos (1960) translated by G. J. Racz; Roger Santiváñez (1956) translated by Elsa Costa; and Miguel Ángel Zapata (1955) translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, Anthony Seidman and Gwendolyn Osterwald. _____________________________________________ Analysis based on Translation Database by Chad W. Post, Three Percent at the University of Rochester (http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/ threepercent/index.php?s=database), translations carried by Small Press Distribution (http://www.spdbooks.org/Products/CategoryCenter/TRA/ Translation.aspx) and Amazon and WorldCat catalogs. 1
One of the programs implemented by the countries mentioned is the financing of books translated from national authors into other languages through agreements with foreign publishers that ensure that the translation is published and distributed in those markets. 2
This year in Cardboard House Press we have three Peruvian authors
programmed for publication: Jorge Eduardo Eielson, Roger Santiváñez and Rodolfo Hinostroza. 4
Chapbooks and broadsides not included.
Twenty Poems of César Vallejo, translated by John Knoepfle, James Wright and Robert Bly (Madison: The Sixties Press, 1962); Human Poems, translated by Clayton Eshleman (New York: Grove Press, 1968); Spain, Let This Cup Pass from Me, translated by Alvaro Cardona-Hine (Palo Alto: Red Hill, 1972); Trilce, translated by David Smith (New York: Grossman, 1973); Spain, Take This Cup from Me, translated by Clayton Eshleman and Jose Rubia Barcia (New York: Grove Press, 1974); César Vallejo: selected poems, selected and translated by Ed Dorn and Gordon Brotherston (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976); César Vallejo: The Complete Posthumous Poetry, translated by Jose Rubia Barcia and Clayton Eshleman (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); Selected Poems of César Vallejo, translated by H. R. Hays (New York: Sachem Press, 1981); Songs of Home, translated by Kathleen Ross and Richard Schaaf (Willimantic: Ziesing Brothers Book Emporium, 1981); César Vallejo: a selection of his poetry, translated by James Higgins (UK: Francis Cairns, 1987); The Black Heralds, translated by Richard Schaaf and Kathleen Ross (Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1990); Trilce, translated by Clayton Eshleman (New York: Marsilio, 1992); Trilce, translated by Rebecca Seiferle (New York: Sheep Meadow Press, 1992); The Black Heralds, translated by Barry Fogden (UK: Allardyce, Barnett Publishers, 1995); Spain Take This Cup from Me, translated by Mary Sarko (New London: Azul Editions, 1995); The Black Heralds, translated by Rebecca Seiferle (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2003); Trilce, translated by James Wagner (New York: Calamari Press, 2005); César Vallejo - Complete Later Poems 19231938, translated by Valentino Gianuzzi and Michael Smith (London: Shearsman Books, 2005); Trilce, translated by Valentino Gianuzzi & Michael Smith (London: Shearsman Books, 2005); The Complete Poetry: a Bilingual Edition, translated by Clayton Eshleman (Berkeley: University of California Press); The Black Heralds & Other Early Poems, translated by Valentino Gianuzzi and Michael Smith (London: Shearsman Books, 2007); César Vallejo - Selected Poems, translated by Valentino Gianuzzi and Michael Smith (London: Shearsman Books, 2007); Spain, Take This Chalice from 5
Me and Other Poems, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden (US: Penguin Classics, 2008); César Vallejo - The Complete Poems, translated by Valentino Gianuzzi and Michael Smith (London: Shearsman Books, 2012); Malanga Chasing Vallejo: Selected Poems of César Vallejo with New Translations and Notes, translated by Gerard Malanga (New York: Three Rooms Press, 2014); Selected writings of César Vallejo, edited by Joseph W Mulligan, includes translations by the editor and Clayton Eshleman, Pierre Joris, Suzanne Jill Levine, Nicole Peyrafitte, Michael Lee Rattigan, William Rowe, Eliot Weinberger, and Jason Weiss (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2015); Against Professional Secrets, translated by Joseph W Mulligan (New York: Roof Books, 2011). Written In Missoula, translated by Gregary Racz (Missoula: The University of Montana Press, 2011), Reasons for writing poetry, translated by Gregary Racz (London: Salt Publishing, 2011); The Smoke of Distant Fires, translated by Gregary Racz (Open Letter Books, 2012); While the Wolf Is Around, translated by Gregary Racz (New Orleans: Diálogos, 2014); Thirtyfive Zoology Lessons, translated by Gregary Racz (Houston, TX: Literal Publishing, 2015); and Still Life with Flies, translated by Gregary Racz (Dos Madres Press, 2016, Ohio). 6
Books by Antonio Cisneros: The Spider Hangs Too Far From the Ground, translated by Maureen Ahern, William Rowe, and David Tipton (London: Cape Goliard, 1970); Helicopters in the Kingdom of Peru, translated by Maureen Ahern, Will Rowe, and David Tipton (London: Hyperion Books, 1981) [Chapbook]; At Night the Cats, translated by Maureen Ahern, William Rowe, and David Tipton (New York: Red Dust, 1985); Land of Angels, translated by Maureen Ahern, William Rowe, and David Tipton (Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland: Aquila, 1985); A Cruise to the Galapagos Islands, translated by William Rowe (London: Shearsman Books, 2013). Books by Isaac Goldemberg: Hombre de paso/Just Passing Through, translated by David Unger and the author (Hanover, NH: Ediciones del Norte, 1981); Los autorretratos y las máscaras/Self-Portraits and Masks, translated by Stephen A. Sadow and Jim Kates (Merrick, NY: Cross-Cultural Communications, 2002), and Dialogues With Myself and My Others (Cardboard House Press, 2016). 7
Martín Adan’s only book published in English is the novel, La casa de cartón (The Cardboard House). This edition was published by New Directions in 2012 and was translated by Katherine Silver. 8
Some of the mentioned, such as Blanca Varela, Jorge Eduardo Eielson and Carlos Germán Belli, have had publications in specialized magazines and poetic anthologies. 9
Of the texts presented in this edition only those of José Antonio Villarán were originally written in English; the rest are translated from Spanish. 10
Giancarlo Huapaya (Lima, 1979) is the Editorial Director of Cardboard House Press. He is author of the books: Estado y Contemplación/ Canción de Canción se Gana, Polisexual and Taller Sub Verso. As a curator of visual poetry, he has presented exhibitions in Mexico City and in San Francisco. He will soon present an exhibition of the past fifteen years of Peruvian Visual Poetry in the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Previously, he was the advisor of the editorial and music industry policies of Cultural Industries of Lima, and he was the director of the Lima Poetry Festival during its first three years.
PULE P E R U V I A N
POOL P O E T S
T H E
to Eduardo Chirinos
Translations by Lisa James
From Gravitaciones (2013)
these gills unsettle the water following the arrhythmic pulse of the undercurrent red is the glare of the fish that hides itself among the abyssal rocks I undo your sex across the shore we scatter herbs endless sustenance sleeps the tongue journeys to the cradle of the rock there passes the vessel, pregnant with time objects gone astray reemerge shirt and bullet hole the empty can wires the smell of saffron penetrates us the fishhook glistens upon the riverbank our quivering mouths search for one another, wounded jaws lips upright on the brink of a shout
matrix a drop fell on the ground we recognize the road the return frag-ments one after the other with the same echo then we shape the broken fountain it moves forward, the drowsy fountain with its overwhelmed belly and even in that right moment before the leap the black hollowed trail among the signs which point each other, I rummage around your clothes like I would do around the primordial water, I open my arms, inverted branches, and I embrace the time that goes up and down with a solar attention to itself. this is the angelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s febrile dwelling where he harvested all his stains. this is the fertile forehead where you saw the trembling brave one moving back and hiding the gun. This is the quicksand where the idols found their damp and incandescent eternity, where the voices arrive armed with spoons and saliva to caress the sleeping body; and you reply from the threshold of your roof on fire, uninhabited caw
Translations by María Cristina Hall
From Gravitaciones (2013)
distil his ear’s cadence cannot project cannot echo but weigh burn like smelt fluid like anesthesia unearthing dilated dimensions and fighting its very fallout this cadence wakes the lookout like that precise blow to the nape of the neck he strips himself of wax and of his night loss distils the voice in his chest born of base objects like this metal bed from which I sail and run aground the lookout’s beat had proclaimed his sighting tirelessly but the prow rammed countless times another splinter in my eye another plaster i see through the lookout
i speak his hundred tangled truthful tongues and my ear multiplies becomes a ship inside i peel away these gauzes take off the grave clothes and let him go
shipwreck blind supper one or two shots midwave their hunger makes headway
you go to the other end plow through thick fog this throttle is a soul dam reporting the shipsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; arrival and their timeless war
you motion forward and they relish
swallow you arch your back a spiced and scalloped fish spine for a mouth and clenched spoon
you reel and wield your body
it’s the battle beneath the far left
the gleaming breast and closing fist
now you’re the red sand running down a throat leaving its rind open you’ve recalled your name vigil in shreds your scraggly shadow that young hankering for the sail for dark splinters you pat your body plunged so many times you feel the avid mouths of your other skin awaken your skin with no end on the victim your skin with no end on the smiling vein open and turned toward the black hollow you arrive at the edge with a weight on your forehead it’s a bullet fingerprint heading toward the axis that pierces your center and opens your ears
gociterra to Roberta Vásquez mother alone yesterday under the lamp’s half light i lit a calling the sort of words that cut into the air or fire to force you to live the guests started showing up in long-rehearsed expressions each tried on a grimace behind you then said goodbye i never knew who i called when i told of the ashes spewed on this earth of the lamp’s oxide and consumed oil of the feel of that harrowing gust behind the window there was no stun to drawing my movements by picking up yours knife in hand (i was sharpening the air) “no, we won’t see a single hail stone fall today” i also prayed and was twofold i waited and in me another waited for the same thing and another thing until the breeze seemed to pronounce me i turned my gaze to steaming coffee
stagnant water the smell of a half-chewed name a memory dragging its feet to the path without getting to that coffeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marrow because every morning thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be a cup of coffee on a table waiting to detonate the name and iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d just stare at the milk and drown my hands in it a foretold matter turned to delicacy in my fingers looking like anxiety sopped out without a bite but the window no longer keeping back the wind opened again i lay down then on the grass listened to the buzz of bees and did not recognize my hands so thin for the sickle so sandy for a stroke amid an impossible memory a tree fell and picked up your steps
freefall from your summit i look down to the riverbed of my hovering breast
the bird mutters its song
you and i sing inward initiate our meat in sound
the isolated animal bristles
i run you over with my tongue
three two one
an arpeggio is born of your tendons this waist is a turning grassland blow on the bone-eyes of a blinded river follow the footsteps downhill burns traces of lips on some fruitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skin there the migrating birds awaken caught in the bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arms dry blow drop drop drop splintered thighs crumbled brick
we hike this gnawed city which swallows rubbish after rubbish
to come up between our legs
to the beat of the ants’ step as they swap some cadaver at this hour when i open your forehead to read it like the stars like the guts of a night bird where we dreamt thousands of years ago and where we’ll whistle in a newborn ear
Ethel Barja (Concepción–Junín, 1988) is the author of Gravitaciones (Paracaídas editores, 2013) and Insomnio vocal (Alastor editores, 2016). She is a doctorate student of Hispanic Studies at Brown University. She obtained a Master’s degree in Hispanic literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago after studying literature at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Her poems and essays have been published in diverse literary magazines like Lucerna (Peru), Somos (USA), and Inti (USA). Her collection of poems, Trofeo imaginado entre dientes appeared in the Anthology of the Javier Heraud National Youth Poetry Prize (2011).
Translations by Maggie Messerschmidt
The flattest heart on earth, the driest heart, showed me its tenderness, and I was ashamed of mine. R. Juarroz My heart beats, maybe within a cadaver. I swallow the truth and I am hardly a sound, you told me one day when my face was a thorn. So you opened your arms to the void, and you launched your body. Your fall long like an abandoned room. The speed falling against sadness and memory, you lost your name then, and you were a fistful of hair, nails, a howl. So I look at you: Papa has the face of an injured animal, has a sewn mouth and a smile nailed in long stitches and cautious constellations. Papa has in his hands the wood that frames the world, that he transforms into an ebony staircase, round and perfect as a poem. His memories have the form of turtles and fish, of rivers and women that are born surrounded by walls, and die slowly, like my wet nerves. And again the silence bursts, and I name it time of open pupils, breath of an eye with tears, free fall of a feather toward the bright eternity. Time, time before the hardness of a white vertebrae like the paper filled out in front of death; time, before a spiral appearing in the haze. They are no longer faces composed of fiber and language.
It is honey or darkness, man rebounding against the stitches cardinals of his life and aloneness
The word is the only bird that can equal your absence. R. Juarroz
my blood, from big eyes from watching the sky. my blood, from eyes high shooting tide vertigo in the wholeness holy pained material anguished verb
blow of an opaque vertex sister, brief screaming cavity nine months shredding weavings so sad furious, falling with a dark smile with absent eyes with the sky tossing goodbyes, sister sister
[PRISON, BRIEFLY] Die that which should die; that which silences me. Antonio Gamoneda
You invade the road, From end to end, Like a wheel And your name chews a waiting Seated Over the back of an urchin, Watching the door, With your shortfalls beating in your eyes With your hope in a name of vast stomach And my need to go beyond the edge of the floor To forget your neglect to caress inside This will where a line hangs Like a mouth that opens before the voice of an animal that cries. I find you between great voices similar to mine Stretching the walls with cans full of rocks
Covered in dry fruit Sweet like the face of an old woman Sweet like the bite of a storm The road bordered by thirsty plants, by dead faces Look at me, full of closed doors Masked by a poorly healed childhood Look at me fragile Know that my time like a broken room Like a submissive cushion in time To a solitary body Swimming between rage And shame Swimming Austere Invalid.
From Las falsas actitudes del agua (2007)
[A PORCUPINE] You said that you liked meat with spines. That walking sideways was your life, being white like narrow streets of your house, and brightening in silence like the stars on the ceiling that fall on you every night. I am an animal that molds to your bed, replete with spines. Full of fencing and barbed wire. I am the shroud that rolls around in your stomach asking for mother. The woman who in your mind challenges me, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s me, dressed in wool for the winter, hiding the barbs so as not to scare you and singing the lullaby of children who are cold in a low voice. A pink bubble seeps between your eyes that watch the roof of the eighth floor And weep.
q the sun rises like a rose / behind the foam and from the peak of silence. / girl darkens and the ace is extinguished / savior comes close and kisses before the lightning. / the shining staircase twists, / the spheres watch over stealthily. / he wants her like an enemy perfection / while he returns to die without planetary force, / like a shining wish, / like the stumbling of a bird or fish.
From Uno Rojo (2009)
eleven parents don’t exist, they are old weapons of war, false excuses to evade the sense of being alone. the airports full of people, the open windows screaming infinite currents of air. a stomach that runs and barely sustains, shouts and moans hidden in itself. don’t ever leave, don’t ever leave. a stomach that scrapes its texture, its mania of beating toward the sky. the immense vault of loneliness opens in two, in three, don’t ever leave, I’ll stay with you, the bed is made two times her, don’t ever go, eleven times I will walk the same red sidewalk, red with sugar and distance.
[mayana] infinite cosmos, decoded solar gears, music that doesn’t rotate that never falls in love. heart without a name deprived light garden replete with broken nothings, mayana,
lost fruit, foam behind the verb noise, lots of noise and dust the nogal that falls the bird drawn behind the shadow, the sleepy teacup, the darkened back, the knots of your hands, foam behind the verb, falling nogal, red triumph of sculpted bird. mayana, mayana.
[room 309] The struggle of black hair and revolving firmament./so small and from the top â&#x20AC;&#x201C;I think,/ she gambles with torn pants, / green sandals and a thick wall of venus full of glades and moon. /
a rabid sack, full of violet stains, / spirals of nude hands, / fugitive drawings lining up on the corner. / starry rains and trails, / universal eyes the color of tea. / plaza of feather children perpetuating a weapon that shoots noise./ the reflections of rooftop that blow an embrace./ and you gather the shadows, / all of the water of the world. Later, /your eyes felted. / and sleeping, / your fifty-three constellations./ awake,/ your mouth, /all the fits of hope./ nocturnal and terrestrial./ inextinguishable dust,/ gust of snow, /sunken symphony of roses and light./
Andrea Cabel received her BA in Hispanic Literature in the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2009), and she received her MA in Hispanic Languages and Literatures in the University of Pittsburgh (2012). She completed a PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, and she is writing her dissertation. In her days as a graduate student, she was the recipient of two research grants which she used to travel to the Bora community in Iquitos (2012) and to the Awajun community in Santa Maria de Nieva (2015). She was also recipient of the Provost Fellowship and of the Mellon Fellowship two of the most prestigious awards in academic excellence. Andrea publishes critical reviews in a number of newspapers, including El Comercio, La República and Expreso. Her work also appears in several national and international magazines. She has written four books of poetry:, Las falsas actitudes del agua (Lima, 2006; 2007; Mexico DF, 2014), Uno Rojo (2010, 2012), Latitud de Fuego (2011), and A dónde volver (2016).
JOSÉ ANTONIO VILLARÁN
From el cerrajero (2012)
el hijo del albañil
i never said i was sorry we were kids playing in the garden i bit his finger really hard his father worked for my family
we were kids playing in the garden hiddden behind the construction and its chaos his father worked for my family this sort of thing was included in the arrangement
hidden behind the construction and its chaos the teeth marks red and bleeding this sort of thing was included in the arrangement his mother forced him to play with me
the teeth marks red and bleeding pÍdele perdÓn his mother forced him to play with me she would always apologize for his cries
Pídele perdÓn my mother wanted us to play together she would always apologize for his cries every day a similar ritual
my mother wanted us to play together a partner in dissecting bees every day a similar ritual the crying would follow soon
a partner in dissecting bees —stretch out your hand— the crying would follow soon and still it lingers in my head
—stretch out your hand— i bit his finger really hard and still lingers in my head i never said i was sorry
(in the beginning it was us) you open your mouth and the phone rings / it’s always the same question / mother / just as the window begins to break the trees and the wind are friends and no leaf can justify the existence of music / if it were up to us where do you think god would hide / next to the navigation letters we memorized during all those endless nights while public buildings crumbled one by one like an omen and all of the sudden you wake up in the middle of the street your belongings forming a great circle over the asphalt where all the people you’ve loved are covered in red dust and can’t stop sweating sulphur / the government still insists on obliterating all remaining antennas and any trace of communication / it doesn’t matter / we existed only to share ourselves from the margins / if all else fails the voracity of the animals will consume the resources meant to become our shelter / living is finding a meal served with fecal matter / we will hover with the flies for as long as it takes to transform all this gold into drinking water
at the apex of the dry season the city holds its breath until the skies open in broken sheets / down the blinds off the lights / in the middle of summer her rotten corpse comes afloat / your tongue becomes a whip / studded stars expecting the rise and fall of the species / the guards fasten the gates with concrete bars / access is denied to all members regardless of the color of their skin / the music is steel and rain playing against abandoned buildings / the government officials piled on the desk / the mangled bodies filled with stakes and moss do not feed the animals
From open pit (2016)
the story i want rodrigo toscano to write 1. [ n ] the story i want rodrigo toscano to write would start with a large bank of cumulus clouds overlooking an open pit mine wedged between a fractured mountain range. the sun would be setting as a family of seven guides a small herd of goats towards the nearest water basin. [i] no. thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not right.
[ a ] a large conference. a crowded auditorium. hundreds of people. cameras. microphones. a certain thickness to the air. deloitte’s ceo is giving a presentation on the most important mining trends for the coming year. [ n ] i can’t stop thinking about the fact that you can now perceive light. [ i ] he’ll be born in six weeks. 1. [ a ] it’s cool to be a miner again. taken us a long time to get there. to be in mining: to be in the news everyday. [ n ] i drove up to see your mother. [ a ] the big issues: lumber. copper. food. asia. [ n ] her friends and colleagues threw a baby shower for you. it was monday
morning. i was trying to get back to san diego in time for class. the car broke down. the transmission went crazy. i had to turn around. it was presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day. i couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find a single available mechanic in davis. [ a ] lumber producers are not only selling to internal markets anymore. [ n ] finally: a vietnamese family running a body shop outside of west sacramento. It would take them at least two days to fix the car. [ a ] interesting global trend: the united states is no longer setting prices. [ n ] the oldest son [ i ] (there were two. and a daughter). [ n ] - was about 7. he found one of my stickers in the car. [ a ] yet the US economy is stronger than what you see on cnn. fox. and those places.
[ n ] i told him he could have it. that it glowed in the dark. i don’t think he believed me. his sister kept trying to snatch the sticker. his younger brother wouldn’t stop staring at my t-shirt. i quickly scoured the car for more stickers. but couldn’t find any. i found a ticket stub for einstein on the beach. i smiled. a sense of rapture. perhaps this. you. i could almost taste the music. where the end of your nostrils meets the mouth of your throat. i wanted to cry. the clouds got heavy. i remembered the sticker. did i really want to cry? [ a ] and china isn’t going anywhere. they have problems. yes. severe infrastructure problems. demographic problems. but they also have demand. a middle class that will continue to demand things. [ n ] they charged me $387.43. [ a ] if communists want to stay in power. they have to give the people economic hope. economic development. [ n ] second attempt: wednesday at 2:13pm. the roadways were fairly empty. the car was sluggish. [ a ] the eternal question: will mining companies make the right decisions
today for the future. or are we going to perpetuate this boom and bust ideology? [ n ] i couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that you can now perceive light. it was sunny. every 10 miles or so. there would be groups of cows grazing peacefully. some close to the highway. others further away. resting under the shades of trees. i thought about those tv commercials: “happy cows come from california”. now i can’t stop thinking about mcdonalds. they must own some of these pastures. will you like cows? i liked horses when i was really young. then i was afraid of them. i can’t remember why. or when it happened either. [ a ] the chinese are incredibly disciplined buyers. they’re buying on weakness on every single commodity. [ n ] all of the sudden. i was afraid of horses. [ a ] the world is drawing down on discoveries made in the past 40 years. [ n ] i don’t want you to be afraid.
[ a ] the average grade is dropping significantly in the big copper mines. [ n ] this world is made to instill fear. [ a ] and copper is the engine of the world. as copper goes the economy goes. or perhaps the other way around. [ n ] gas was almost $0.11 more expensive on the drive back. i didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hit any traffic. i arrived at san diego before 11pm. i couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sleep. i started thinking about us. walking along the ocean beach pier with your mother. i would be carrying you. it would be sunny. but not too hot. you would have sunscreen. yes. sunscreen. [ a ] every mine in the world has problems. strikes. operational issues. governmental and environmental issues. every year we undersupply the world. what is keeping us in balance: [ n ] i want to show you the ocean.
1. [ i ] heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be born in six weeks.
the original infrastructure of future battlefields [ g ]
to maintain the fortress. metabolic bodies in constant motion. amniotic fluid running through your nostrils. pulsations generating rhythm. body movement without structure. leaching ponds laid out in endless geometric patterns. fractured mountains. a network of swollen arteries. muscles stretching. the lack of phosphorous. a maze of embryonic tissue. the original infrastructure of future battlefields
[ a ]
letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s try that again
[ g ]
instructions on how to maintain the fortress:
shake the necessary number of metabolic bodies
thrust in constant motion
count every single object arriving on time
through a nameless conveyor belt
[ c ]
be more specific. be more...
[ x ]
[ a ]
be more effective
[ x ]
be more noneconomic
[ g ]
a network of swollen arteries
tailings pumping mercury into the reservoirs
an insatiable thirst for speed.
know this: or at least to draw from instructions this world beyond future within capital how?
[ c ]
he likes to stare at walls
[ a ]
let’s try that again
[ g ]
to extend the vortex. metabolic bodies in tungsten potions. amniotic fluid running through his nostrils. rhythm generating pulsations. body movement sit down further. teaching songs played out in endless geometrical tatters. the back is monstrous. a trace of tectonic fissures. juridical in stark crutches
[ x ]
how would this translate into spanish?
--*The poems from el cerrajero were transtated by the author. The poems from open pit were written in English.
José Antonio Villarán (Lima, 1979) is the author of la distancia es siempre la misma (Matalamanga, 2006) and el cerrajero (Album del Universo Bakterial, 2012). In 2008 he created the AMLT project, which explores hypertext literature and alternative media for writing through collective authorship. The project was sponsored by Puma from 2011-2014. His third book, titled open pit, is forthcoming from AUB in 2016. He holds an MFA in Writing from the University of California in San Diego, and is currently a PhD student of Literature at UC-Santa Cruz.
ALBERTO VALDIVIA BASELLI
Translations by Diego Arispe Bazán
From La región humana (2000)
(skin) I My body out of use blames me for its leaking. I don’t respond. Enough to walk the gap of my cracks / a wound licked to infect its damp concavity already forgetting me / untiring awake from me / as if it were forgetting me in this teardrop that precedes every wounded dampness. A scar on one’s skin is always some guilt to remark on / to account for and to indict myself human from the sore and from the skin that conquers, lives and toughens at each mark / at
settling accounts / at every verse told
an epithelial scale that smelts itself ink. II And we had this emerging wrinkle. Its innard black and admirable, a step decided upon / even having lost / and so much so its naked profile announcing / its crematory body that belied the reason for its saga in its ridged, titled visage. A new crack in these eyes / evading
night and any opaque day / easy to crouch and wound. Ran on its toes
from our unseemly ways
of insomnia and bare feet and rushing to gripe about a constant smoothness
in the air/ but not to her, that crack
that crack, embattled / always furrowing its brow / always frowning in combat our dreams moved onward over it and twisted its dark folds how we battled her on awakening friendly wrinkle advancing like a silent stain allowed / allowed or inevitable curse shedding our weak dermis in the process in wearing out another body rearing its sclerosis as new / severely halting / clothing a circumstantial armature or parchment of existence. III I confront this skin as it starts its sleep a space open to the touch includes me within / to bind, to recoil?
to condemn, to protect?
on a world upon two empty palms / there I sleep without an answer.
I welcome its cutaneous rigor
and await and taste it soft, inducing sleep / as if distracted does it sleep? / perform other tasks / hide? it always hurts, what little awareness it has of me.
The Fist Must Not Open Alas for men, flammable and inflammable amount to a single consequence. The closed fist boils of your many variants. Enclosed. When you rose / awakened already or never after awake / in the destined Room. Your famished figure / of my hunger / of traces of me / of dubious or
communal meat / sudden.
That same feeling as you / from your acute shadow / at the street door /
makes me indisposed.
The fist, in you or in me? / which body shall stay after it is Done. The fist, closed / elixir or mirage of our curving steps / will pay Duty for
The fist that never opens shall walk / as one towards a better place / supplanting us. We shall not keep in any nook of the remaining flesh any element to ward off fire. From now on we shall lie still before that Phlegm that Calls forth Fire to
dissolve, or fold.
The Fire that smells already of slight / of cause / of resolution and doubt /
is yet unlit.
The Fire shall descend from the Fist. We shall converge in it each time we rise in legends none shall verify. From the Fist shall descend our curving string of steps.
Is the Fiery Fist to mark our degree of deviance? From the Fire we shall descend. Purified? Vanquished? Once again condemned? We shall seek in the closed Fist the open Fist. That sought-out man shall have the likeness of the god. That god shall have those hands the man closes before the world. We shall descend from him.
From Patología (2000-2004)
Demons Unleashed or Hurried Body eighteenth week (should we have to define this day? is it required?) No rupture to signal escape; your adolescent body rejects such permanent flights. Your feverish body, a mere few years over a decade old, has sought in every mistake, previously disdained by society, that fickle outlaw; albeit nothing, unseekable, slick like a body too long at rest, in silent apprenticeship. That demon has fled with your finest threads, the most unusual phlegms, most granular dyphteriae, most torn of burn scars, the worst screams of unwilling will racking a body elusive and thin, a flea’s or a tick’s.
You have tasted alcohol, a reef loaded with shorts and longs, the bubbling, dense jaundiced concoction of marginal districts; you have tasted filed tobacco, gangly smoke like the rough burning of clothing lit up in your insistence on ashes, on gleaning cinders from ash, getting burnt; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tasted white and aseptic hydrochloride, colorful barbiturate, succulent amphetamine, among them, weariness, the labile cornered vestiges of your pubescent demon, pathological and invigorating, fleeing, running, after you, wherever you may seek him. Found, he shall recite loudly his presence and tone; palter the motives for his attachment; deform his face with mine; damn conducts and pathologies. Found, there will be two of us to run from him. And witness too, his death.
(disarray which in the month of January rearranges a month of March or vice-versa) When you build a spike from your body, the sea destroys or skewers a half. In that half wound, your body, the real, divergent ocean has built a marginal port. Your most enterprising ships depart thence, from that effluvium emanates a wound in that epithelial rock; the wind swelling sails they go forward despite that strange sea which always repels all that has come loose. We separate and go forth from your body, from the cracks in your prone body, abyss of man or cruel bottomless fall where you lie, already. Or we separate your body, we the cracks, we the sea that skewers, the brackish corroding foam.
We separate (from) your weakened body with sudden clarity, the reading of many men in wait, in lands as paltry equally in speech as in silence. If I am to avoid so much, might be best, that I exposed myself morbidly to the eye, the ear; so mute the one as blind the other, we shall separate from a voice or image which did not need to prior perceive itself. To pass by me from your reflection, to silence you with my hidden sight or voice.
From Entre lĂneas pĂşdicas (2008)
Linguistic Death An army of words in the midst of a spasm is death. Are we to speak / carefully / is some prevented one / is some weakling to
know / of the spasm of syllables?
Are we to compare commas, to levitate the period on high is the exclamation to cast doubt upon beats and silences? A broken rule a sudden antinomy, ungrammaticality is death. Does the word taken back suffer / unfurl from thick corrections /
procuring utterly new tears in the pleonasm?
We are to see from afar a danger of periods and commas amidst a maelstrom
of impotent morphemes / lucid and demoted to grieving.
We are to destroy / ceaselessly / the phoneme, in writing it. We are to instruct / hurriedly and in anguish / the rule in pie quebrado we are to erupt easily into graphemes / shutting our eyes while everyone speaks of death / the word shall go mute from god and man will balance his silence with syntagms his blank word will shiver at premonitions and the end and the period will break in equidistance. The chasm of flesh putting us in evidence is the bad nightmare of your name in its adjectives slumber fragile demiurges in its tiny tongue we are childlike and wanton from pronouns / because thus we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t avoid pointing out truth far away. The music of every painful spasm is to come in proper nouns enounced in the pits of your mouth one by one, notes denoted and frightening letter eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in your saliva / from your tongue every synonym speaks of the rescue one by one each death forgets its mourning in the homophony that silence provides white death dental death and death
in the mouth that goes silent. We are the tattoo of the tongue / the league in the distance and a random non-line between tongues and tongues that goes hushing its silence / that forges ellipsis cuts and breaks the thread of pulses an apostrophe bites the afflicted flesh that makes no sound when pronounced. Painful aitches rain on the mouth of the dying the eye of a man falling closes in the thick / a voice unspoken distinguishes
the man dies / there is no question of it / only muteness and anaphoras the man dies and weakens in time and the word goes, mute with man, skins and destinies and music / dies no one in the darkness auscultates the shape of its voice no one in absence of the tongue decrypts the saga the word beneath the ground has invented all our deaths death beneath the ground imagines capital letters, screams / death covered in language the word decides the moment of silence.
Alberto Valdivia-Baselli (Lima, 1977) published the following books of poems: La región humana, Patología, Entre líneas púdicas, Neomenia and the collection of short stories Los tejidos detrás. He holds a BA and M.Phil. in Hispanic Philology (Linguistics and Literature) at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) in Spain and a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Contemporary Thought at the European Higher Education Area system (at UNED). He is currently a PhD student at the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages Department at The Graduate Center (CUNY). He also works as a Spanish and Hispanic Culture and Literature professor at Fordham University, the State University of New York system at FIT, and the City University of New York system (John Jay College, Hunter College, CSI). Valdivia-Baselli has published essays and poetry in different specialized media in Peru and abroad. He has performed as poet and speaker in Latin America, Europe, and the United States.
Translations by Ilana Dann Luna
Times of War Say this city has ten million souls, Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes: Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us. --W. H. Auden the crystalline atoq1 chants on the top of the hill its harpsichord, clear and clamorous. brain of beetles. cardoons nod their crowns their clavicles and cuirass. cadent flowing from the studded cornice, perforated and a little yellow, yellowing broom flower. cancer of your flesh. nails that glitter rockets and gun powder. the atoq in the sky circumcises its fangs its catastrophic chalky cactus its songs of white-winged doves and calamines. Beirut our tent Beirut our star ocean of amethysts. bunches of watercress that split into mandrakes the atoq with its cerulean stain is the passage between the celestial river and the magical world the atoq close to the llamas of a fiery heaven dizzies its maritime misfortunes and it gorges on tubers so that when it falls to earth it vomits across the land and the peasants harvest potatoes yams ocas ollucos mashuas2 the atoq is again singing crystal-clear 1
Quechua voice: Andean fox.
2 Quechua voice: Andean yellow and purple tubers; Red tubers, and cone shaped white, yellow, red or purple tubers.
Beirut our tent Beirut our star war is a pig slathered in syrup that slips through our hands war is a long word that grinds our teeth war is to say “I’m sorry, I tricked you. I’ll never do it again” war is to see your favorite show on open access war is to walk five kilometers in a coffin war is the cynical way of saying “I told you so” war is a Latino in a barrio of transvestites war is a poem about a jade mare that charges war is poetry without the mockingbird’s song war is like a gorilla banging on a typewriter war is this and not that war is a blind soldier with no hands war is the cry of the black boy, the red woman and the blue man
War is power.
Everything you desire disappears.
the students in the shantytown are hauling their buckets of water at night they drink firewater and smoke cheap cigarettes they never tire of dancing to the rhythm of their sandals aye! jovaldo, jovaldito, aye! manuelcha, manuelito, like straw you flew, like the breeze you have gone. the atoq takes stock of the woven reeds and the days of hunger barely a crust of bread in the belly of the world. the atoq writhes alongside the condor and the toad like straw you flew and return
pogroms and tantras te deum3 chess harnessed to hyacinths star-shooting revolver bay horse in the barn pandemic panther of bread Beirut burns for us and the atoq falls from the sky deep and concave sky war is in us all war is with us all
WITH E.C. WE SMELL JOEL-PETER WITKIN’S PHOTOGRAPHS A brain turned into a sponge in a bed of raw spiders Jean Pierre Duprey That day gazing over the coastal road and smoking at crack-time the dog shepherds would want to celebrate with us and the hypoglycemic poet with two big rocks shooed them away so that they wouldn’t steal our souls the fog founded a new city and V. weathered the pounding of the waves my shoes had toured the cliff and I danced and cried dirtying my socks with the mud from the ravine we didn’t worry about falling we didn’t 3
Latin voice: We praise thee.
worry about the abyss just the smoke that exited our throats and it was a pink or orange smoke, but what if we didn’t have heads? Where did all that smoke come from? It came out of our feet hands tracheas livers kidneys blood had coagulated and the fog was one with our very blood red fog of the Caribbean or broken bricks with ground glass that we gobbled as if we were specters of ethereal stalactites that precipice was our life but our life had fallen with the quake and we were only staring at the ruins the Siamese dwarves the fat deformed women the bullet orifices in the craniums of spiders broken in five points and from afar an emerald rowboat that made us scream there is E.C. let’s go look for him for more alcohol and drugs but E.C was sleeping and on the tenth floor of Maria Angola we went all the way there but our souls couldn’t cross the pine woods and then we searched for Francis Ponge and he was also missing we were walking and walking under that burning sun to keep looking for something with which to survive the orangutan poet threw us out of his house like pariahs as if we were the leftover bits of day-old crack in the gorge we walked without finding other heads and the landowning poet sent us a circle of the three suns garnished with a swordfish and a sea of gleaming lichens that we complemented with a trip south and we heard the witches the trees that spoke to us and the black girls with breasts like peaches and the old poet said to us: “What were you looking for?” And we responded: “We’re looking for happiness.” He whispered to us: “Then start by digging a hole on the seashore.” We dug for twenty hours and we could have died there and again we asked the master: “How long must we continue digging?” And he answered us, carefree and laughing: “Dig, kids, dig until you find happiness.” We kept digging and digging and finally after another 20 hours we found our skulls steeped in marine algae and coral shells and we really were happy really happy riding on little seahorses with the face of E.C (EVERYTHING THAT I SAY IS TRUE, IT HAPPENED ON JULY 26 and 27, 2010).
THE INVISIBLE SPECTATOR f there is a Project of the Complete Works of Rodrigo Lira, should we begin with the first or second part? I would start speaking about the puppy or the dead dog, before Rodrigo, when one has a desperate case of bachelorhood they shouldn’t dwell on the fact that one became a dog in the street or that the Madonna lilies on the corner burn with perfume and sex, the puppy has an untouchable coat, as it is his custom to neither care nor get lost at the intersection of any avenue, that dog—not skinny nor fat, nor black nor blue—only watches the passersby miss their steps and their eyes, and if those eyes were to go round the track like marbles, the puppies or the dead dogs would only see blood and a clumsy herd on its way to the griddle; but the puppies have rabies and they tremble and fear that animal control will trap them, their slobber is impartial and cold, their paws broken, they can’t whine, they don’t chase cats, rats or butterflies anymore, they only see the passersby pass by reading ecological poems with no logic, those furry, slobbery pups paint with their tails thousands of watercolors full of fish and canned pigeons, when they’re hungry they can’t go to the fashionable supermarket any more, they drag themselves and they only see and they don’t want to be Blanca Varela’s flayed dog, they only manage to nip the air—fog that confuses itself with the flesh of the dog in the mornings in which I go to pick up the paper, and exactly there I find myself with the sky-blue valium of your wellpolished eyes—, that tedium is your Beauty in kilometric tons or they are my eyes that have already dropped and are impartial, spectral and invisible.
CROCODILE TEARS For Jorge Pimentel The poet immersed himself in the sea at Chorrillos one June 18 at 6 in the morning, he didn’t have anything on except his feelings that weighed on him like two young, white hippopotamuses, the next day, the shadows that he left on the shore and the wind caused the sea’s departure. A local paper reported the news like so: “From one moment to the next, the waters of the sea became so enraged that they generated waves up to five meters tall.” Sitting at a bar you were reading my poems alongside the noise of the drills and the prostitutes’ gum. At that same table you had vomited your entire life when you were still young. I caught your eye to ask the same question of your youth. And you only answered something that I already knew and I didn’t dare yell: “I’m dying inside when I’m not vital to anyone to anything” and that fact tears me apart. The foam from the beer fills our eyes—for this poem I have given my all—and we swim between beers that follow like a tide of reds ambers blues greentopazes tourmalines rubies diamonds sapphires. I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t want to wake up beaten and harassed, pierced with dead colors. I think that what the soldiers want is for us to die. But we don’t die. I think that what the soldiers want is to rob us. But we don’t have anything worth stealing. I think that what the soldiers want is for us to die again. But we live as best as we can. Birches without liver, birches without corneas, birches without hands, without bodies, without stars, without celery, without cabbages, without shit, because if I don’t write it, I die. I’m dying like this shivery morning when I don’t matter to anyone or anything. I tremble and I tremble infinitely from cold and alcohol. And your voice will never be heard again. Tired of waiting for a sign I make one last gesture that will leave me blind. And I throw myself against the wind like a bird of prey to win over what I have never been able to reach. Blood in the air: a touch of the marvelous.
UCCELLO’S THE HUNT IN THE FOREST Uccello knew that poets are hunters in his famous painting you can see a few red white black bloodhounds. “The question is not to meld the images, rather to trace the movement in a second.” The horses, the red of their skin like a pomegranate. It dries your blind eyes. It is not so much Uccello or the dogs or the deer or the pines it tries to capture your face that falls like the wind of yesterday or tomorrow. Don’t say that the forest doesn’t belong to you enter its greenish branches that boil towards black. There are no canvases nor oils nor spasms. If Another comes out of me and yells on the page: Uccello you are not a hunter that plays the lyre in the black. A rock. Head broken. The deer run toward the forest black syllabification from within the green light
feverish muscles turn towards the black. They have halted three hunters in their heather Snouts that are the moment of flight the magnet of the forest oozes fever. Some ride, others notice their lips albumin snorts shatter the landscape They have rested their gaze on the hedges split the tall grasses of the hunt triangles or rhomboids petrified in the fixity like mandarin peels in the garbage.
GARCILASO AND THE GARCILASISTS (FAKE PRESENTATION) All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they disagree among themselves. And in that disagreement, they disagree, for example, on the importance of the name: if it is Gómez Suárez de Figueroa or Garcilaso de la Vega or if it is Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, in all of that they find an affirmation of identity. How can you say Gómez Suárez de Figueroa to Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, Garcilaso de la Vega to Garcilaso de la Vega, Inca to Inca and not name the rat. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they disagree among themselves. And in that disagreement, they disagree, for example, on if he is the prince among writers of the New World or if he is the first mestizo with universal personality and lineage that America bore or if he is a writer of the Renaissance or if he is a post-Toledan chronicler or if he is simply a plagiarist. But Garcilaso is the official history of Peru. To be a Garcilasist is good business.
All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they disagree among themselves. And in that disagreement, they disagree, for example, on the lineage of his parents and on what that means. If he was the son of the ñusta4 Isabel Chimpu Ocllo (granddaughter of the Inka Túpac Yupanqui and niece of the Inka Huayna Cápac), and the Spanish conquistador, Captain Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega, nobleman from Extramadura (nephew of the celebrity poet Garcilaso de la Vega from the Spanish Golden Age. Olé!). All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they dispute among themselves. And in that dispute, they dispute, for example, about whether the Inca learned to read his first words with Juan de Alcobaza, and that he was side by side with the sons of Francisco and Gonzalo Pizarro, or if he nursed from the indigenous cosmovision beside Paullu Inca and Tito Auqui, sons of Huayna Cápac, or if he was trained to be loyal for three hours and change his mind, or if he was educated to be a plagiarist that would behave according to official censure. Half-breed cross-dressing? Was Garcilaso a mule or a hinny? Did he rule or serve? All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they dispute among themselves. And in that dispute, they dispute, for example, when Porras says that Garcilaso’s writing “is the justification for the Spanish conquest, the exaltation of the benefits of the faith and the culture, the defense of the heroic and diligent work of the conquistadors,” because “The Spanish conquest saved the Incan culture from extinction.” Changes of mind when Garcilaso’s ship almost runs aground on the Island of Gorgona, and then a Portuguese seaman saved his life before arriving in Lisbon. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they dispute among themselves. And in that dispute, they dispute, for example, when Emilio Choy endorses the Inca’s position in considering Bartolomé de las Casas a subversive, even half a century after his death, he represents a kink in the system. In that dissent and in that adjusting, the official history officiates in that it displaces the indigenous people (Runa) and it focuses on the identity of the mestizo. Miscegenation as a form of domination of the other from school, the government, its symbols. Always sweet-talking nothings.
4 Quechua voice: Royal-blooded princess.
All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they get riled up among themselves. And in that riling up they get riled up, but not all is in vain, from jail Fernando Bobbio writes: “what made this honorable son of a Spanish captain and nephew of some cowardly, traitorous Incas whose teachings fed his childhood and young adulthood, was to produce and establish a paradigm of domination that, still in the middle of the twenty-first century is an effective instrument for keeping the spirit of submission alive in this country.” Submissive and exploited the half-breed chronicler’s mustache. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they get riled up among themselves. And in that riling up they get riled up, for example, when José Durand writes: “Garcilaso himself in Dialogues of Love always uses the form Pirú; but then the day comes in which… he decides that the proper form must be Perú, and he begins to use it starting from The Florida of the Inca, and he uses it always, and due to his influence, in my opinion… Perú becomes the official and fixed form used to this day…” Endorsing lies from the ship. Forgetting more mixed halfbreeds and deceptions that don’t let us recover our tongue. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they disagree among themselves. And in that disagreement, they disagree, for example about whether he had a business relationship with the sphere-imaged poet Luis de Góngora y Argot, and if in Montilla he got together with the One-handed Wonder, Miguel de Cervantes, who was a tax collector for the Spanish crown. And whether Cervantes knew the works of this so-called Garcilaso, at least he had read the translation of Dialogues of Love by León Hebreo. Or even someone declares that the story about the castaway Pedro Serrano inspired Robinson Crusoe. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they disagree among themselves. And in that disagreement, they disagree, for example, when the Italian Peruvianist Laura Laurencich concluded her presentation in Lima she only received signs of indifference: “the most curious thing is that I received a note with a death threat for attacking Guamán Poma de Ayala and the Inca Garcilaso. In those days I thought that it must have been some loony but now I understand that the threat was fulfilled and I was ’dead to the world’ as a Peruvianist.” Garcilaso’s mestizo school of thought (creole and whitey) does not allow its sources to be questioned.
All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they disagree among themselves. And in that disagreement, they disagree, for example—As Laurencich does—over how in the Exsul Inmeritus Blas Valera Populo Suo the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega is accused of being a plagiarist and in the Royal Commentaries of the Incas of having distorted the information provided by Blas Valera in order to adapt to official censure. The Chachapoyan Jesuit reveals that the Inca Garcilaso not only misquoted him, but he also distorted all of the information relating to the quipus5 as writing, reducing it to a simple accounting feature. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they get enraged among themselves. And in that enraging, they enrage, for example, the early twentieth century scholar, Manuel González de La Rosa, spot on in proposing that Garcilaso de la Vega’s Royal Commentaries were a complete plagiarism of the work of Blas Valera. And González de la Rosa became enraged because they condemned him to oblivion and today nobody cites him and his name is synonymous with insanity, illogic, lacunae, muck. In that expression the mixture of the mixing in the back room. Another school that speaks alongside the dirty, big-mouthed river. All of the Garcilasists disagree about something, they get enraged among themselves. And in that enraging, they enrage Garcilaso: “Pedro Serrano went off to swim to that desert island that before him had no name, which, as he would say, was two leagues around; almost the same as the navigation chart shows, because it portrays three small islands, with many shoals around it, and he gives the same estimate for the one they call Serranilla, which are five little islets with many more shoals than the Serrana island has, and in that whole place there are shoals, which is why vessels steer clear of them, to avoid befalling danger.” Pedro Serrano another castaway like so many others and we poor little Peruvians continue crashing our ships 5 Quechua voice: Quipus were recording devices common to the Andean region and its indigenous inhabitants that used colored fibers that were knotted to encode census, tax, calendar, military and other information.
Paul Guillén (Ica, 1976) is a poet, essayist, and editor. He is the author of the poetry books: La transformación de los metales (2005), Historia secreta (2008), El espectador invisible (2015) and Hospital del viento (2016). He studied literature at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, where he also was a professor. He holds a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Texas in El Paso and he is currently a doctorate student at the University of Pittsburgh.
Translations by Daniel Alarcón
From Ciudad Satélite (2007)
1986 Upon the city which this afternoon we shall call The Capital a thousand bombs have been emptied on this hill for example La Victoria spreads flame through the city in our room overcrowded with dreams my mother takes her hands to her face Because we are children and do not yet understand death and it is night and everything is buried in deep mist that swells and drowns our faces. But my father does not come He does not carry me or my brothers Nor does my hill, cross of San Cristóbal, know how to heal its wounds Like the one on my wrist But my father does not come on this election night
And the house is infected with that illness which gnaws at our mouths. And upon the table, Lord, all these candles will not be enough to extinguish this darkness.
country feedback (take one) A train arrives from distant Central Station and I have lost all contact with you with the scent with your humid scent that spreads between the street and this trace of winter burning my feet And still you come to me with your madness to dress in these clothes that do not fit You come to me with your gilded night You come to me with your bones trembling
with your news of war
with your gaze sewn to these trains that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know you
with your hair newly shorn and that marvelous
beat slicing the air and
all this just makes me
the path dissolving into the snow
the trains of Boston
and we have been here before screaming about how the city will end remembering every fall You devouring every word and every dream Me escaping ever further with only the insides of my pockets unable to cleanse my heart anywhere and bound up as you are bound up in a city steeped in fog and I tell you bones tremble here as well and the sun offers no heat
that night swallows day at three in the afternoon
and beneath this blackened sky there will be only endless wandering along the old Massachusetts bridge to play as magicians who remove their clothes and their skins and their bones and toss themselves into the river and then goodbye and the shards of ice as if the undertow might overwhelm us like the anonymous trains that leave Central Square.
Translations by Rachel Precopio-White
From Materia Oscura (2015)
when planes depart [odysseus says goodbye to nausicaa] To Eun-Kyung, Neeta y Miha The airport is an infinite place such as hugs and kisses during a farewell just as Odysseus left Troy after the battle just as the father leaving the child Ernesto. —Just yesterday a continent separated me from you
my dear friend—
—Just yesterday we talked about how we have lived locked within our selves— And it was also yesterday that I hugged my daughter 10 12 14 15 16 18 20
a part of me
yesterday that I held you and we wandered around Pulteney Street or were they the streets of San Miguel that have watched us grow and if you were writing it was so that the world would open like a hand
and if you were to raise your head it was to leave from there all an ocean of words one luminous tide and for you it had been twelve years of traveling through this country and you came from Korea or India or Romania or anywhere in the world disconnected Nevertheless
on the other side of Seneca Lake just waiting for you
another lake elongated like your foreign fingers eager to touch the spine of this water —It was just today we sailed to this this airport to embrace for the last time my dear friend— —It was just today that we danced and sang from within ourselves— Call me when the planes depart and you have passed the circle of security to cross the world once again with arms open to infinity and your head raised and in hand
the passport of your innocence
stamped on your face as a number to be free or to be a slave.
Call me when you have undressed to prove that the marks on your body are only of love that has left you and the only bomb is that machine of flesh in the center of your chest. Call me when they have detained you and only your name remains your beautiful name that they will not be able to take from you Because you do not wear it anywhere other than on your face on your blessed face that I kissed today that which I embraced today, my dear sister. —Only tomorrow will we return to one another my dear friend— —Only tomorrow will we dance and sing from within ourselves— Since everything begins and ends with that pain in your chest that a metal scanner produces with your arm raised above the heads of those who leave with my head getting lost in the crowd by the infinite passage where planes depart.
words to define fear [beyond the pillars of hercules]
Four poets are burning their books in the middle of the night from their burning pages smiles a skull of fire that silently reveals that our history is that of those who die without anyone to bury them. Because Nobody has told us that we have won a war Nobody shouted to us in the street because of the color of our body Nobody has hugged me and while smiling closed the door to where the
Nobody has buried anyone in the far-reaching national territory —my country is sacred— because on top of these cemeteries now stands shopping centers distinguished tombs of capitalism. —I have been told do not be afraid of the dead because they cannot hurt you anymore, the dead who had one and only one plural name—
In a room in the city, another poet is gagged against his bedside, the verses tattooed by the sun on his body illuminate and the small Lima neighborhood is a supernova his body a bomb the stars that you will see are not those of which Mallarme spoke from there no universe will be born no sacred language a single black hole over which to erect the foundations of the delicious apartment buildings. —I have been told the world will open up like a rose just by looking at it but I have only known how to pulverize it, Alejandra— Not far away, Victoria catches fire from the deep those who do not know about her love those who do not know how many times our country has been consecrated by the blow and the trampling of countless citizens where death has disordered the members of the national body —in some pit or grave the dead speak with the dead— —in some pit or grave distinguished tombs of capitalism—
Beyond the borders of a country, thousands of women are buried facedown by the feet of men who don’t love them They
the Lazarus Women
those who don’t know the blessed word because there is no blessed word that might resurrect them they only know that dying is a terrible art that men have taught extremely well. —I have been told not to be afraid— But I heard his voice and I was afraid because his smile was that which prints hatred like fire on skin And I have called out, I have called out I have called out towards Never
mysterious race of Cain.
And I have only seen in those shadows the response that binds our language seven times. Because Nobody has told us that we’ve lost a war and that any return will not last ten years. Nobody has embraced us nor sheltered us because of the color of our bones Nobody has kissed you and with a smile wiped from your forehead
(Your blessed forehead) the ash and dust that you bring from the desert distinguished tombs of capitalism. How do I begin, brothers, this dark rainbow of fire up against the smiling skull that has already consumed the pages of History, those verses that you call Poetry? On the journey into the abyss where we project memory Burning may be our significance and none other.
the song of the mermaids [anna akhmatova meets marina tsvetaeva] What shall I do with this measurelessness in a world of measures? Marina Tsvetaeva They have thrown so many stones over you that no one alone is terrible. Over your face over your mouth over your breasts. They have buried us, sister â&#x20AC;&#x201D;I have never loved a fascistâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;
â&#x20AC;&#x201D;But oh the number of fascists who have loved usâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; We
who burn without warmth who warm without shelter who shelter without embrace who embrace free of flames Have you forgotten when we were orphans and the days would come like a fist covering your mouth, sister? Those were desperate days tied to our skin, those were gray days in which we would love more. No calendar can ever predict the eclipses of poetry Have you forgotten when we were stars and winter would come like a glowing shadow over the snow, sister? Those were desperate seasons warming our skin, those were opaque times in which we would shine more.
No calendar can ever predict the eclipses of poetry because its path is a silver shadow and the stones that we torched today will be words that we will throw tomorrow against the terror of a closed hand for the silent voices of my brothers and sisters in my land â&#x20AC;&#x201D;my country will be sacred stillâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; We have wanted to reach you with the love that is born from our rainbow with this crystal clear and stormy water dark matter where our ship has run aground trapped by the tide. We will drink from these waves my luminous sisters and brothers and to the music that emerges from the Milky Way we will dance.
Carlos Villacorta Gonzales (Lima, 1976) holds a Ph.D. in Latin-American Literature from Boston University. He has published the poetry books El grito (2001), Tríptico (2003) and Ciudad Satélite (2007). Also he is coeditor of Antología Binacional de Cuento / Poesía Perú-Ecuador 19982008 (Perú, 2009) and Los relojes se han roto: Antología de poesía peruana de los noventa (México, 2005). His work on Contemporary Latin American Literature has appeared in Korean Journal of Hispanic Studies, Inti: Revista de Literatura Hispánica, Revista de Crítica Latinoamericana, etc. His short stories have appeared in Spanish, English and French in Crítica. Revista de Cultura de la Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Hiedra Magazine (Indiana, Bloomington), Lectures d’ailleurs/ Tradabordo (Poitiers, France). In 2014, he published his first novel Alicia, esto es el capitalismo. Since 2014, he is an Assistant Professor of Latin-American Literature at the University of Maine.
ENRIQUE BERNALES ALBITES Translations by Vincent Moreno
From the unpublished book Séptimo Poema
1. Saenredam You may own the Syrian hookah, the tea, the German chocolates, you may even own your wife’s head, yet, Saenredam’s eyes have taken over your soul you run and run, you keep on running across the table between the gold and the cheese, now the sea cannot defend you anymore because a new city has been built where the horizon used to be You have sacrificed Bucephalus upon the tramway tracks just to outwit Saenredam just to win the hearts of gods
You are simply goods in search of other goods that will free you from the horror of feeling prey Sitting on a bench in the botanical garden, you read… PLEASE DON’T FEED THE BIRDS PROTECT WILDLIFE Certainly you have not offered food to the animals, you just opened their bellies with your teeth, you have smashed their heads against the lampposts as a last recourse, just to escape Saenredam’s eyes that keep on watching you away from the city away from the sea You have stuck your arms to the bottom of the painting and in its innards you found the Syrian hookah, the tea, the German chocolates, the fence in which the squirrel opens the nut, even the sea that used to be your ally, but Saenredam is nowhere to be found because you too are Saenredam…
2. Starry Night: A visit to the moma I thought this poem would write itself, just breathing the sleepless stars disturbing the night, in the sleepless movement of the stars, which the loyal visitors of the moma refuse to touch, unmoved, I found the giant waves of Hokussai, I am a sea creature, I had forgotten, I cannot sense, as before, the scents of the summer sea, the long stays buried under inches of snow made me lose my sense of smell, but, on the other hand, relieved my asthma, after just one week, my lungs full of sand, like this, spreading its wings, Hokussaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stars
will have redeemed me. I close my eyes. I intend to kiss the painting and I don’t care if they shout at me in their language so close, so close… I must confess to you that I pulled out a nipple from the night, the damage is irreparable, [the smell of the stars, the sleepless brightness of the waves] call the police
3. A red lobster in Anne Sexton’s mouth Bad people have parties too She had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land Say, I reached the skies and embarrassed the sun Tell me, what can I do, my dear doctor, maker of poets I can no longer dream, what do I do here, accomplice of my own nightmares? there are many corpses to wash now on the banks of the Charles under the eyes of mice and pinkish vessels
I have to change your clothes, Dr. Satan, But shit makes me sick I will wear a mask of flowers and almonds Ann, repeat: I will never swallow monoxide by myself the stewed cabbage is ready, we will eat out, it is sunny, my little son, please, throw the salt for the streetcars and ravens Ann, repeat: I will never swallow monoxide by myself doc, repeat: I will be back, ancient bitch, astral vagina, I will be back to rip your horn, to throw you into the sea, next to the boxes of tea, with my massachusetts Indian costume, Doctor Bostonia.
4. I, Robot When the scene ends, you are worthless the killer doll is back again, Eve, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how my cyberlovers call me, L.A. Eve, the city in twenty nails,
L.A. Eve was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, there she grew among bison made of plastic and alcoholic Apache chiefs also made of plastic, Every day she is born anew on a webcam, a downloadable preview of barely thirty seconds, she has a super body made of plastic, her boobs are as big as the Hindenburg flying over Manhattan, her body is born without hysteria in the lens of a camera that monitors her steps, the eyes that watch her carefully get more excited because they know that everything is fake, with those eyes we prefer to imitate the sadness, the pain, the torture, the pleasure, the riders of a simulated Apocalypse, because we are unable to start the revolution, Eve denies his body because it does not belong to her, she abandons it and one morning sets it on fire, silicone is burning in a big bonfire, we breathe the real smell of death, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go back to the beginning, the killer doll is back again, Eve is my name and I am my own language that is not mine, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m just looking for my true love, not twenty inches of fucking love, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find it, wrong girl, wrong girl, wrong girl,
I laugh at the big male members, that’s not what I look for, because I know where to touch me, where the flesh that I feed with my solipsistic monster begins and ends a blurred area of my body expects me sipping its steaming coffee, it is sitting on the other side of the computer, it can cook, it does not call me whore, and does not wear jeans to walk the streets, unfortunately, the only thing that’s left is what’s really happening in Iraq, the smell of death that comes back again and sticks really hard under our noses, what the wise men, sitting on top of hundreds of thousands of corpses, argue about whether it is or not a civil war, what I really am, a ghost in the shell, has fun and cries every day trying to be that reality that humans left behind, so every little night I fill with real words, with tears or dreams the tub of the machine that gives me life, let’s go back to the beginning the killer doll is back again,
5. Sixth Yankee Poem Are you like your dad or like you? So, who are you? I am the inhaler. The only thing I know is that we are what we sacrifice in life and never we are what we said, we are only what we are willing to sacrifice Odin sacrificed one of his eyes and he became God. And you, what are willing to sacrifice to be you? I ask you again with other words, And you, what are you leaving behind to be you, a divine one-eyed? Once upon a time, J. holding Tavinho by his little hand said: Don’t tell me if I know that blue house, I only know that there is a beautiful peach tree outside that house, In the next one there is a pear tree, beyond there is a barking dog outside another house or in this one the Sun Room used to show plants of any kind, a family with little children used to live there. They are gone. There is a sign outside saying “For Rent”
But don’t ask me if I remember the color of the blue house and about
Actually, it’s too small to be a house Now I write from the garden at midnight Under the long shadow shadow of the maple trees of fifty years old. D. said: the trees are going to get mad. In a few weeks he will cut down
the trees to build two houses instead.
No, D., trees don’t get mad, trees are gonna die. Now I write outside, regardless of the bites of the mosquitoes, That is the meaning of writing: to be, to sacrifice something, your own blood in little portions, what are you reading now, what I write while mosquitoes suck my blood, those mosquitoes that hate garlic. Bram Stoker wasn’t a novelist only; he was a scientist. This is my place on earth, the exterior of the house, here, I feel more me,
Summer is life and fucking hot, Listen, without pause, to the music of the crickets and other creatures,
D. said: wasps are going to get mad, but no, they are not mad, they are already dead, you wiped their nest out from the window sill. Eventually they will come back like seasons, because seasons canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be killed, or they can? Outside the window are your guts. My beginning is my ending (T.S. Elliot?) I warn you
Repent or live in Hell for the Eternity
John of Patmos, the junkie
In the backyard, once, the rabbits built their burrow. Quickly D. set fire to their hole and buried them. They are going to get mad. No, D., they are not angry, they are fucking dead.
Oh David! Oh David! You have surrounded your kingdom with angry corpses of many kinds.
Enrique Bernales Albites earned his PhD in Spanish from Boston University in 2009 with the dissertation entitled: Utopias and Nationhood in TwentiethCentury Peru: José María Arguedas, Julio Durán & Augusto Tamayo. Currently he is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Arkansas State University. 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), and the Anthology of Peruvian Poetry, The clocks are broken (2005). His most recent article, “The Fox from Up Above and The Fox from Down Below: variations on the Pastoral and Psychoanalysis,” just appeared in the number 79 of Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana. His works on Chicano literature, Homoerotic Cultural Production in Peru and Andean Cinema had appeared in Hispanic Journal, Cincinnati Romance Review and in the volume, Andean Film: studies and testimonials.
Translations by Maria DiFrancesco
From Las Quebradas Experiencias y Otros Poemas
APARTMENT The night table drawer is an ossuary of angels, Grass springs up from the parquet Tears come out of the faucet, The shower knows. The skylight holds us up to the sky, and the clear ceiling curves. (A deer could enter that way
If it only simplified its head)
The painting is an emptiness unframed, The television is a mass medium The curtain bursts against the rocks. Furniture shakes off dust and makes turns
Before the bathroom line.
Chairs, crouching, meditate. The refrigerator interrupts its snoring, and the freezer
The speakersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tongues hang out, The record player injects itself, the record asks in screams
for a straitjacket.
The telephone goes to the bathroom. The alarm clock feels its coming. The lightbulb
THE MOLD MASK I am alone and will be always lonely Only with you alone far from you Your skin is the limit I love that limit There is no limit to my mouth but to my tongue A heart spills over the table Like a bloody tablecloth or bedsheet, Our garments hang by a clothespin We flutter on the moon, Light of the night wall that strips But only to the limit
That invites to go beyond closed eyes now Dazzled I am alone and will be always lonely Lonely for you always alone with you. In that a door always closes itself Wholly squeezing all of myself
Beyond your body,
Beyond your eyes beyond your hands, Beyond where I know the unknown Oh so much rapid light, so much movement Oh so much I could not see in you never expressed.
HITCHHIKE Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on my way I can drop you off, if you want The last bus stop on a nowhere destination. The horn honks, hurry up, the velvet seats Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a different ambiance: Here the eyes are two holes.
THE DYING MAN The dying man walked, he was stopping, and he walked. We saw him moving away. He went alone and silent, and in his gaze
was the goodbye.
Ageless he walked, tired, without memory. A deserted grimace forbid us from detaining him, And his feet got lost without shaking up dust.
THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE You sounded like a stream You were the skin where animals take refuge Aristotle wanted to see an animal but he did not see it because it did not exist (I am talking about Aristotle) Fish over the piano were stirred up foam so no one knew whose music it was.
The soul’s paths are like paths dangerous and dark taken by no one (and the last one to know is oneself). Poetry is a prisoner’s drill exercise: tracing the prison map makes possible
POEM 1. Those who walk without leaving a trace will avoid being followed by Bears and Men. 2. Water’s face, you are my wary doe, As smooth as chamois grazing among artichokes. Traversed is the forest
through the most desolate path,
Let’s go then among the rocks’ white blood
through this wounded meadow.
SLEEPING OVER DESERTED FLATS I. Silence overcomes the world Millions of galaxies explode silently. Noise cannot fill it Music barely caresses it. Cultural contamination annihilated culture Mountains of words buried the world
with the blunt mass of its arguments.
The senses were saturated The feelings threadbare The sensations turbulent The apple embedded between the eyes The eyes low, fixed, ready To provoke an explosion of wasps in smoke. It was silent, the dream, but it was silent.
II. We descended into heaven
where fog tongues feverishly braid:
A planet of plants with human hair, A seedbed of bodies. Hands like spiders on the walls Around the multicolor bulb. A city of skin A skin wholly uninhabited. III. The street guide is full of erasures but the highways kept their course Unbutton your forehead and listen to the multitude trotting by the sidewalks. From a profound depression on the road laughter drove the billboards to despair Stone over clay we fell but blinded by the sun we continued falling down. And the city never ends The city of those who never end.
IV. The bedroom is the same and spins until
it slips away through its windows,
it is midnight, but mix the colors,
and they get up naked over the lawn.
Cold corners in the blind freezers And a jet stream of transparent bellflowers. (Pale voices, and a nerve of water broken in hand).
LAURA Every night I used to hold a narrow conversation with Death. That conversation looked like a dance for its movement,
like a sculpture for its sharp silence.
Others rather saw her like a moan,
That must not be seen,
They touched her like a thought should not be touched.
ELEPHANTS GRAVEYARD (MOVIE) A white sea of ribs and tusks, A soft sea of dust.
ABOUT MYSTIC LOVE (In memoriam San Juan de la Cruz) (He-Who-Always_In-Ecstasy escaped from jail
and fled to Almodรณvar)
Like a flute on the terraced roof, transparent, empty, Like being from Mercury, platinous blood Like a white lizard Sleeping on an iceberg, and spinning with it, Wandering around, over red waters. Your delicious humiliations My Lady, I attend to you
who whitewashes gazes
One doubt weighs on me: Is there a difference
Between the steam,
that ascends and the waves, that rise? I do not understand, My Lady; our business is mystic, I suppose.
Xavier Echarri (Lima, 1966) is a professor of Spanish. He obtained a Ph.D. in Hispanic Cultural Studies from Michigan State University, and has worked at the University of West Georgia, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Rhode Island, Ithaca College and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. In 1991 he won second place in the Peruvian Poetry Award COPE, and later published the book, Las Quebradas Experiencias y Otros Poemas (Caracol, Lima 1993). Some of his poems have appeared in Peruvian and Latin American anthologies published in Peru, Mexico, Colombia and the US. At present he is finishing a book of poetry and a book about the cultural constructions of childhood in the works of Julio Ramón Ribeyro. In addition to poetry, he is interested in contemporary narrative and the visual arts.
Translated by Lynn Levin
From La escuela de Cusco / Birds on the Kiswar tree
THE LAST SUPPER Cathedral of Cusco Blindly attributed to the Tenebrist Circle of San Blas to the Anonymous One of Maras to the Master of Taray one thing I have to say: this painting came from my own hands: I alone painted, gilded, glazed the Sacred Meal Here the cunning Indian painter – the Anonymous One of the Cathedral – in a flight of ecstasy added on his own initiative his favorite foods:
in place of
the holy bread – flat and unleavened – I set upon on the paschal table roasted cuy, stuffed peppers
as if the Upper Room were not in the Holy Land
but more likely
in a cozy tavern in Cusco, let’s say “La Chola.”
BARADIEL LOADING GUNPOWDER INTO HIS HARQUEBUS / Wall vignette Chapel of Sangarará I am the apocryphal archangel I am the pariah whom the lay folk call Angel-prince of hail Hidden in the dim chamber below the choir in the ornate lunette of a cupola I spill over my nook: a leaf covered with soot from the smoke of the candles
There is not much
landscape here: a tree just enough land on which to stand this is the only ground allotted him Roman boots, short tunic flowing cape a hermit thrush commands my coat of arms I do not belong to the heavenly hierarchy to the angelic choirs of cherubs, thrones, powers who play their lutes or violas da gamba: simply embellishments in the Pompeian style I am the bastard bereft of my heritage In their language the parishioners mispronounced my outlawed name Anonymous, unbroken I recline in the soft grass
weary in the late afternoon like the laborer who all day long
and stamped again the loads of clay for brick making I am the apocryphal archangel I am the pariah whom the lay folk call Angel-prince of hail
THE MARRIAGE OF DON MARTÍN DE LOYOLA AND DOÑA BEATRIZ ÑUSTA ANONYMOUS LA COMPAÑÍA CHURCH, CUSCO On the bevel of my lip I have a tiny birthmark that my husband never saw (Petite and serious
the bride poses here in the middle no high-heeled shoes to raise her up a lump in the throat) For centuries it hangs under the choir vault of this church my nuptial ceremony with its farce of an impossible union: With this marriage are hereby joined as family the royal house of the Inca kings of Peru and the two houses of Loyola and Borja their Excellencies being noble lords of the highest rank I married meanwhile my troops were skirmishing in Vilcabamba and because my father had made a pact and converted to Christianity: A typical case:
there was neither a declaration of consent nor an official proclamation nor formal admonishments of marriage In distinct sections the canvas incorporates three separate groupings the painter could not unite his subjects Here I am in the minority I am of the imperial lineage of Yucay The chatter of the parrots transports me Saint Ignacio de Loyola and San Francisco de Borja witnesses to the wedding?
appear thoughtful and alive in the painting Dressed in the style of the royals – his hands a feminine shade of white – my consort offers me a gesture of affection:
I will not be the concubine who hangs herself with her own braid
DESCENT OF THE VIRGIN TO THE SUNTURWASI / An Allegory MARCOS SAPAKA To paint the threshers of corn and the women who cook at the Bread Entrance was my greatest wish I painted the pregnant Virgin Mary and they accused me of being a spell caster some paintings are recreations
of apocryphal gospels In my fresco The Divine Shepherdess of Souls â&#x20AC;&#x201C; roundly condemned by the Church â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Virgin of the Mercies, her breasts as full as those of a wet nurse gives one breast to the Son of God, her child, and the other to Saint Peter Nolasco, patron of the Mercedarian Order this canvas
is profane and from the hand
of an indigenous painter In the Fallen Christ after the Flagellation there are no embellishments no cherubs in flight a loincloth
covers the genitals of the King of Kings
a copy of an engraving by Wierix or van Tulden This artist often incorporates native flora and fauna in his work I produced, besides other works: The Song of Songs, now in a private collection The Donkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Communion, whereabouts unknown St. Francis Tumbling down Naked in the Snow
this last one
repainted and covered three times with foliage that was foreign to me
Translation by Fredy Roncalla and Raúl Sentenat
From Vírgenes urbanas
VIRGIN OF THE MUSKET I am not a scarecrow of the wheat fields, nor of my flowering potato patches am I a Caracoto troupe dancer? Since the death of my husband, of my beheaded children slaughtered like sheep / massacre of the innocent saints I became the head of the resistance group in the emergency zone I fight against murderers from both sides army / terrorists Chariots of fire fly around me. My decimated battalions boil in my head. Wandering souls My march ends in humble cemeteries tombs where I buried my deceased. It is there where I weep and clean my musket
Odi Gonzales (Cusco, 1962) is a poet, translator, and university professor in Peru and the United States. He holds a Doctorate in Latin American and Peruvian Literature and studies the Quechua oral tradition. In 1992, he was awarded the César Vallejo National Prize of Poetry from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Lima. His published poetry books include Juego de niños (1989), Valle Sagrado (1993), Almas en pena (1998), Tunupa/El libro de las sirenas (2002), La escuela de Cusco (2005), Valle sagrado/Almas en pena (2008, 2da. edición), Avenida sol/Greenwich village (2009). His research books are El condenado o alma en pena en la tradición oral andina (1995), Takiparwa 22 poemas quechuas de KilkuWarak’a (2000), Elegía Apu Inka Atawallpaman: Primer documento de la resistencia Inka (Siglo XVI) (2014). En 2013, Leaf Press in New York published his book, La Escuela de Cusco/Birds on the Kiswar Tree, translated into English by the North American poet Lynn Levin. He has been a professor at New York University since 2008.
MARIELA DREYFUS Translation by E. M. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor
From Pez/Fish Embryo child
Both born of an unexpected seed that from chaos ascends towards the light I speak of the tremors of origins of two bodies stretched one atop another Skins that dampen feverish hinges the absolute fusion of his tongue on my tongue of his belly on my belly and then Finite harmony infinite in the instant copulation unites us reason suspends and time opens:
Thread by thread vine by vine the new fruit comes to be and grows From albumen to the stem from the letter to the line the senses unfold and the sound Syntagm veins nerves that interlace like elisions or synapsis Blind movement as the syllables or secretive cells seek out a place
I feel your heartbeat in me, little fish, it is my own hidden heartbeat: Slowly in shadow you ascend from cartilage to bone And slowly like the night my word ascends:
Hear me I am yours within this babbling This song we compose with passion and delirium.
And now I am here, stretched upon my somnolence The hospital bed is white black is the nurse who places fine cables that travel from my belly to the monitor that precisely checks our pulse I call ours what is yours mine what belongs to others but is mine: This city unreal in her chaos in the smoke that burns from the south in the nocturnal breeze delivers us her dying breath her radiance The city had two columns colored blue by veins like these running up and down my legs
The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legs were two towers their center a beehive replete with people moving the way you swim in my river But they swim in the agony of their fate displaced in fragments and splinters From one tower to the other from one burning top to the next: the inner fire shines with the multiple voices the strange languages of all nations jumbled within my one body: Burning magma unforeseen golem not born of clay but from ashes: Flesh is scorched in the city into the void the open windows immolate or shoot thick forms that in the ample air are indistinct arrows pecking black birds wounding the pavement How does skin smell when set on fire what does hair become all aflame how much do shattered bodies weigh? Who will deliver us from the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s affliction? When shall we return to the land of the Moor the land of the Hebrew the land of the Hispanic to the African land? How when through where can we sail to that land flowing milk and honey? Patient like a litany my son flutters in my depths and then he slips away. Something shadows the screen with purple stains. They surface like spirals in close-up and I tremble Here all is asphyxiation baby tongue in anguish baby a cyanotic countenance obstructing. Empty of words thirst burns and empty of fluids our air runs out
The water of that river evaporates it transforms and overturns the water of that river becomes blood in the earth The great river that dragged metaphors of life in its swells now drags dislocated phalanxes vagrant torsos torn calves that advance along its bed Silt thalamus slime: tell me what will become of the dust of the earth to where shall it return?
Now you and I together will cross the river of death Ready for the sacrifice my body lays on the stretcher this metal altar frozen in its stillness but burning in the stream that runs down my legs Water water that slides flows from my interior and spills It smells of human matter of the mineral miasma that will carry you here to me sleeping awake Alone your body journeys swims pushes toward the open canal of my flesh Suddenly your head crowns I breathe we breathe violence in the vertical slot and then your escape:
You flee you flee from my gut from the cryptic curves that seem a threatened city in darkness You appear you break through and untie the oblique cord of our pact My newborn son the awaited one in the end you are at last you will be the forms I felt when you nested And your chest on my own is evidence of the erotic pulse of blood risen in me recreated in my image and even in my likeness A spitting image of me and also an other who resembles the father and the mother who resembles the species and repeats the constant sweet coupling Ethereal sky high clouds of smoke together celebrate the foretold infant born today: For an instant the chaos quiets a flower appears in the sludge and in the debris the word fulfilled the new fruit the ventriloquist melodious music Fish who in silence incarnates and embeds infinite and miniscule miracle river of chromosomes knotted by chance time and memory: You are because I dream of you and caress you imagine you and mold you and so I am born in you.
Translations by Gabriel Amor
From Cuaderno músico precedido de Morir es un arte
Girls who play that way
Dans le fond des bosquets où jasent les ruisseaux,
Vont épelant l’amour des craintives enfances
Et creusent le bois vert de jeunes arbrisseaux; Charles Baudelaire
1. if I choose to regard my naked self in a mirror and upon contemplating myself I get goose bumps and one hand releases the mirror and moves up or down carrying a thread of my body fluid from one pore to another pore from one hill to another from my thigh to my left breast where emboldened I grope my roundness my sweet nipple and if I then bend over and adjust extending my hand to measure my
opening from back to front and then my hand again travels and lands on my lip on my nose I smell I taste my own secretions my flavor and I have enjoyed my womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body being a woman in a solitary act in which I am the most real most imagined and just like that I have burned I have panted and half shut my eyes at the moment of pleasure: is this a game for one or are we two?
2. I am telling you that each night I gaze at the heavens the constellation of gemini which they say are twin brothers but I am talking here about two sisters their backs brilliant breasts blossoming their pubic hair sprouting on afternoons with a certain heat and helplessness and I say to you I confess that they rubbed against each other naked fearful
as though recognizing in the mirror the waxing even boundless hormonal dimension of desire and they were lulled by fear those afternoons when each crease started acquiring name form or better yet a texture unable to describe itself and which barely registered in the sweat that dripped yellow smelling of cellophane of paste on which to pin all the blame avoiding an audible gasp that could rouse the oversexed witch-nanny who might suddenly knock on their door enraged and demanding fiercely: donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you know that girls who play that way go straight to hell?
3. a thin light slips through the opening inside the mist wraps us in that haze I can touch you I can smell
you I can dream that I kiss you cracked lip where should I lie down in what place if your desire is my desire duplicated and silent while I gauge your shapes your gaze those hills the curves of your breasts your fertile belly your navel already sealed by time and your buttocks pulled by earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gravity everything descends your vigor your aroma of sturdy furniture shelters me with the same gleam as a wet nurse and then I drink of your milk but I also leave a necklace of kisses in the bend of your waist and I delight in your hips oh their rising makes me stand on end vertical takes me towards your mouth that groove where the enigma of existence is a moan perhaps something viscous beneath trapped by your love once more girl once more hunger donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let this cloud pass this ardor which your hands braid my hair damp from you in your
center seeing you again is vertigo this dark and devoted current of mine
LETTERS tied with ribbons white doves taking flight papers where Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d written my wild desire your body absent the fever of a light brush and blind submission enthralled I wagered it all on your caress on your dark satiny skin naked between veils covered taking flight in you lines springing forth in my head this is it I told myself this feeling I need to capture it like the steel roll of a player piano runaway mare I was yours and between curtain calls warm haunting music reverberated in my ears
the melody traveling with time it was the minute gained in your arms between your legs and that musical language interweaving me into the ghostly night I was moved by the fullness of your sepia toned lips your reflection I no longer knew if what resounded was from within or without between two worlds I would dream of you and then to you I would return for you Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d say goodbye I did not always hold life between my fingers but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how it is I believe it I remember it or perhaps just the dream discovering myself severed from you from your existence grief is not always a solemn cantata I tie myself to your cords to your clefs harmonic but also dissonant my divine specter that departed and is barely a plume of white smoke a black dot in the middle of my chest where the bullet entered the one of love that has not left.
Room for the pain its pristine material amazed the curves you use to dodge it face to face laughing like a voodoo doll you stick with pins but this mud pain does not die it picks itself up again its lips whisper to you here I am and you have no choice but to live with him serve him breakfast take him glued to your hip in a purse that sometimes seems to open but it comes back to you the physical prick on your left further up by your right hand and although rough the pain stabs you in the chest it grows fingers sharp claws you add up pains one by one you tie them in a knot give them names there are old pains like in rilke not yet blooming their graze is a dry blow like an eternal thirst a storm that recedes returns and reposes also
horizontal the way you carry it to bed you brush pain’s teeth sit it down on your skirts and hug it fearing nothing.
Mariela Dreyfus has lived in New York since 1989. Her poetry collections include Memorias de Electra (1984), Placer fantasma (National Award Asociación Peruano-Japonesa, 1993), Ónix (2001), Pez (2005), Morir es un arte (2010; 2014), Pez/Fish (2014), and Cuaderno músico precedido de Morir es un arte (2015). She cofounded the poetic movement Kloaka (1982-84) in Lima together with Roger Santiváñez. Two recent collections on the seminal group that include a sample of her poetry are Kloaka. Antología poética (Madrid: Amargord, 2014), by Zackary de los Dolores, and La Kloakada. Neovanguardia latinoamericana de los 80 (Zaragoza: Libros Pórtico, 2015), by Enric Mallorquí-Ruscalleda and Sandra Pérez Preciado. She has published the book-length essay, Soberanía y transgresión: César Moro (2008), and co-edited the critical volumes Nadie sabe mis cosas. Reflexiones en torno a la poesía de Blanca Varela (2007), Juan Parra del Riego. Poesía completa (2013), and Esta mística de relatar cosas sucias. Ensayos en torno a la obra de Carmen Ollé (2016). She holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from Columbia University, and currently teaches in the M.F.A. in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University.
EDUARDO CHIRINOS translations by G. J. Racz
From Still Life with Flies (Dos Madres Press, 2016)
Thanksgiving Turkey, guanajo, guajolote—
it’s all the same.
Lake Cayuga is deserted now. Ice floes drift on its surface by deep, black trees reflected in its waters and the boundless sky that nourishes all roots. Upstanding families have come to visit its shores, praying together and blessing the food they have received, their hallowed stores reaped through the sweat of their brows. (I saw them coming from far away. They’re white like the foxes of the north and wear pointed shoes with broken buckles. They seem harmless enough, worshipping two crossed sticks in their strange tongue, but I’ve seen the hunger of centuries in their faces, the greed of ones who’ve never had anything and long to conquer all.)
Turkey, guanajo, guajolote—
it’s all the same.
Thanks be to God there are no canoes on the lake. The waters of the Cayuga are tinged with blood.
In Winter Inside, the love that burns; outside, the cold night. Rubén Darío Through my window I’m watching the falling snow, slow and copious as you saw it fall once over Paris when you dreamt it was Lutetia and not the dark city that crushes drunks or those French princes you so adored, Rubén. I spoke of you today as if you were an old friend, someone I’ve always loved for being stubborn but good. I even brushed the snowflakes off your scarf and that ridiculous top hat you wear. Don’t mind me saying, but you smell of liquor and the elusive perfume of women who never loved you
or read the verses of one in whose shadow poets grow and multiply. Ah, Darío old friend, it’s taken me a long time to understand that you rejected glory in the name of those who accepted it while casting stones, for everyone did cast stones at you once and I was no exception. What can I say, then, but “thank you,” thanks for your nightingales, tortoises and flying horses, for your weary face uttering “bah” through my window and solitarily drifting off into the cold night.
Ayo visto lo mappamundi (Anonymous Sicilian Song, c. 1450-1492) Once again I’ve opened the windows onto the sea (How silent its foamy expanse appears and how blind the mountains) Will I find your name on the map?
Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve run my finger over thousands of precincts and deserts run my eyes over waters where ships sail (What a muted, captive night and what a quiet morning) Will I find your name on the map?
Rhapsody in Blue ...in the heart of noise They take down the moon
from the 108th floor
A sirenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wail springs forth from out the sleeping city the mewling
of a cat
and rolling of beer cans Elegant ladies scatter their bouquets of gardenias into the air (Brightly colored fish leap from Miss Jennyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cleavage into their invisible aquarium) Golden New York Night Rectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Champagne the foxtrot in Times Square the negroes do a lively dance to piano and saxophone (The people look like ants from up here) A drunk plays the clarinet his neighbor
grows bored and reads the paper
while Lady Lucille voices complaints (her night golden and blue like sorrow) On the streets of Broadway
shatters into a million pieces
You need a long ladder to reach the sky
and an elevator
(Mary Pickford goes up under the manager’s watchful eye) Sleeping angels
pierce the sky
THEY’VE CLOSED THE FACTORY the ambulances have gone crazy We are all dwarves (In New York the dead throw themselves from windows each holding a carnation)
Apollon Musagète Ten letters
the first one s the last one
—It must be
“with that curve in his face bald head
It must be
lost in Delos
to the movement of the foam the water’s
the sea’s ancient solitary surge There never was
any sea just Latona’s weeping her golden legs and the dark
birth of the gods I know the gods they suffer from love as we do their rage is fearsome like their calm and unjust brightness Are you there
I see the Serpent’s
eyes in your own
singing that song I don’t know The Great Mouse has died I have its body with me the photo
of Vera Sudeikina the Salle Pleyel’s powerful spotlights —You only have
a half hour
they told me
and no more than six dancers On the beach in Delos beneath a pristine blue Apollo (six letters) is dancing along with nine blind girls
Quasi-Sonnet for Jorge Wiesse When the final letter has vanished and sleep overtakes us; when the equation writes its formulas of mold and saltpeter on the walls; when the moth falls into the water,
dead from fatigue and light; when the sun drags its tatters of cloud and shadow toward the west; when the raccoon leaves its den to sniff through garbage cans; when the number weeps on the notebook that ruined our childhood; when oblivion and memory refuse to speak to silence; when pain asks why we left it all alone that night in the midst of so much racket, so much darkness.
Ballad of the Three Nymphs The three nymphs of cancer have been dancing Federico García Lorca Three nymphs come visiting me in the night. The first, disrobing at the foot of my bed, pricks my fingertips passionately and doesn’t let me sleep. “Come with me,” she says, and I do,
toward honeycombs where frost prevails, where serpents and flies abound. The second is younger and more discreet, but doesn’t let me eat. She bolts the refrigerator door shut and keeps the pantry under lock and key. “I like it when you’re thinner,” she says, trimming my shirts with silver scissors and taking in the hem of my pants as she distorts the mirrors time and again. The third is just a girl. She asks me if I’ve ever barked like a dog or whether I’d like to dance with her on an Etruscan tomb. For Pepa Merlo
Eduardo Chirinos (1960-2016) was the author of some twenty books of poetry. His six titles translated by G. J. Racz are Reasons for Writing Poetry (Salt Publishing, 2011), Written in Missoula (University of Montana Press, 2011), The Smoke of Distant Fires (Open Letter Books, 2012), While the Wolf Is Around (Diálogos Books, 2014), Thirty-Five Zoology Lessons (and Other Didactic Poems) (DíazGrey Editores, 2015), Medicine for the Ailments of Falcons (Literal Publishing, 2016), and Still Life with Flies (Dos Madres Press, 2016).
ROGER SANTIVÁÑEZ Translations by Elsa Costa
From ROBERTS POOL TWILIGHTS 1. Cooper River Park & the glitter of the river’s shimmer Still I gaze on the green bank Sleekest ripple aquatic mi
Niature drawn by the goddess in Visible hidden behind the celestial Frond that melts to vaulted firmament
In my earthly pain like the Majestic vanished cloud Just forming and being deli
Quescent fragile presence swims In silent expanse adrift o suspense O gasp of miscomprehended
Nymphs gleam on dun waters & rustling leaves sound The hallowed grove gives
Itself to the estival breeze itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a solitary Perfect rose among clouds burnt pearl & Azure by the reefs of kindled sky & soon
Leaden gloaming in the depths of itSelf constellated cotton candy in its Delicious dripping fathomless mouth
There where its light was the stealth of The undulating hours shaped like longing in Extinction that yet still chants its
3. The darkness as I live it in the garden Goes on falling in the instant runaway sunflare Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a light that comes & goes a whim of the
Solstice between the rose so ardently adored & the acorns yawning within her lips Cardinals swoop over the splendor primeval
Flanked by two waters almonded memory With delectable pallor blued in the terraces Night is coming some stray voices moan
Mystic age of tiny breasts slips Your mental delight so delicate over this lull To languish far onto the clashing lawn
4. The bushes are perfect they dance Aloof before my susurrated song They tell me naught but a lofty charm
Doomed in the casement to endless Inescapable lurching to this very hora mori Only the groaning of the crossed boughs
Through the wind is divined in the advent Of one more night in the summertide of the Bounds so forgotten ready lent to the single
Farewell that’s my funeral dirge & Happy withal till the sight of A Rímac monalisa time untouched
5. Light goes dear form goes Only immobile blue Remains celestial twisting
On high and no one Notices now it’s milky Smoke or a burst of silver
A burbling resembling dry Ice faded in the distance & Lathed to create the tenderest rose
For an instant overflowing with Pearls in the weightless sleek skin Solar perfection whose beauty
Engulfs me and disappears
6. Through such smoothness glides the clear Night the dream of your body puttino & Withdrawn awakes bathed in sonorous tears
Wind wafted in your floating hair Was sea with its engulfing surf Or Lima mist at high sultry noon
The shore jingles with solar bubbles Serene solitude like a gull soaring Against the wavesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; greenest crest
You were there, hands laden with Italy’s grapes Offering me paradise since in your goddess’s Body you bore to God rose paleness
On the dreamed shore
7. Feminine forms on the swimming pool sea Tapestried undulation sporadic swastika Where the canto I intone in your hotwire voice
Ennobling the notable pacific syllables Through contiguous continents offered To the destruction of love unbuckling
Among chimeras you recite recumbent lunar sun Just now approaching over nebulous crabgrass or Sailing from my dream through your rosy laughter’s
Portico unerring petal in your restless Submarine bay that just calms the swing of Your lithe thighs slipping into clear waters
8. Isla del Mar
Towhead eddies over insomniac starburst You scale pale meanders splashing the Silhouette of a distant love remembering you
Sunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theft is the beauty of a happy Girl leaping in the foam devoted to Her watery delight with Orphic delirium
Here she comes blue in her steps so dear Nubile curves at a pace sculpted By the infinite deities shaping her
Innocence before the poem that only Yearns to paint her triumphant playing With damp sand & found shells
By the ocean at her feet
9. The steep plateau has three platforms in a row Stepped and twinkling here they come at last Atlantic Parachutes transform them into brilliant tapestry petty
Sobs of a solar agonizing redivivus glitter Tiny instantaneous in the sweetest rosy skin Sends the goddess from the deep to the strand
A fleeting song like the wave that perishes All alone in its magnanimous splendor at the hour of hushed breezes & its bursting plac roar
This resonance never ends never ever stret
Ches in the time I have left to revive its Sound here in the page I write
10. You came back into view goddess girl of the Freshening waves now with celestial drip Ping& gilded bliss in your breasts
Fluttering in the wind your chestnut hair & the aquamarine blouse naughty like no Other lets your navel smile from imagined
Seaside pilgrimages along the brink where You slip your selkie form over the silky Wave yielding the patina and its
Thirst for you conspiring with me to Draw you running every sway cur Ve pronounced in every stray verse oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;this
Roger Santiváñez is a founder of the Kloaka movement. Among his most important books of poetry are El chico que se declaraba con la mirada (Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Lima, 1988), Symbol (Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Princeton, 1991), Cor Cordium (Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Amherst, 1995), Santa María (Hipocampo & Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Lima, 2001), Eucaristía (Tsetse, Buenos Aires, 2004), Labranda (Hipocampo Editores & Asaltoalcielo, 2008), Amaranth precedido de Amastris (Amargord, Madrid, 2010), Roberts Pool Crepúsculos (Hipocampo Editores, 2011), Virtú (Hipocampo, Lima. Amargord, Madrid. Fondo de animal, Guayaquil. Universidad de Puebla, México. 2013), and Sagrado. Poesía reunida, 2004-2016 (Peisa, Lima, 2016). He teaches Spanish at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he earned a Ph.D. in 2008 in Latin American Literature.
MIGUEL ÁNGEL ZAPATA Translations by Suzanne Jill Levine
Thighs Upon the Grass I am writing because of the girl I saw jogging this morning in the cemetery, the one who floated against the dead. She ran and her body was a feather that swayed against death. Then I said in this kingdom sports were good not only for the heart’s delight but also for the orgasm of sight. Seeing her run in her little transparent shorts I concluded that cemeteries don’t have to be sad, and that the girl’s steady gallop gave the landscape another perspective; the sun took on a reddish hue, its vague light giving life to her skin, her golden hair shining upon the gravestones and again I thought that death was not the subject of tears but rather of joy when life continued vibrating with thighs upon the grass.
Brief Homage to Marina Tsvetaeva I look for the night of Saint Petersburg in this ball of yarn which endlessly unwinds, in these flowers suddenly
alive on their seventh night as they close their eyes to the morning. I look for her in the night when my fearful friends run away in the dark, and with her music she stays with me and sings like the first rainfall on earth.
The purple plumes of night over the waters and the rain whose blues are repeated in the tall twilight of the hazelnuts:
angels swoop down to drink the indigo blue from the fountains and the docks of the city. Oh purple skyâ&#x20AC;Ś The golds of Fall along the streets of the Passeig de Gracia and the bells coming ever closer to ask for a Gothic word for the trees that have been felled: The sky avoids the anguish of the fallen, and the dawn chooses the captivity of the rosesâ&#x20AC;Ś.
Translations by Anthony Seidman
The Window I’m going to build a window in the middle of the street in order to not feel lonely. I will plant a tree in the middle of the street, and it will grow to the astonishment of the passersby. I’ll raise birds that will never flit to other trees, and they will remain perched and chirping to the surrounding noise and general disinterest. I’ll grow an ocean framed within the window. But this time I won’t grow tired of its waters, and the seagulls will circle high above my head. There will be a bed and sofa beneath the trees so that the flame will have a rest from the waves. I’m going to build a window in the middle of the street in order to not feel lonely. That way I will be able to see the sky and the people that pass by without speaking to me, just like those vultures of death that fly but are unable to rip out my heart. This window will illumine my loneliness. I might even open another window from the middle of the sea then see the horizon shimmer like a firefly with crystal wings. The world would be far away, across the sands, over there, where loneliness and memories exist. Anyway, it’s inevitable that I build a window, especially now that I no longer write or walk beneath the desert pines, even though today seems to be suited for the discovery of unfathomable lands. I’m going to build a window in the middle of the street. How absurd, they’ll tell me, a window so that people pass by and stare at you as if you were a madman who wants to see both the sky and a candle flickering behind the curtains. Baudelaire was correct; the one who looks outside from an open window sees less than the one who sees a shut window. Because of this, I have shut my windows and have run out into the street, in order to not see myself illumined by the shadow.
Time for The Poem It’s time for the poem: you see the first letters in the landscape, you open the window, and up there…the violet of the sky. It’s the day when the moon bursts and lavender perfumes the walls of the house. Now that you’re steeped in passion, you know other signs will vainly arrive, for the oboe of the forest has already poured into your ear. It’s time for the poem: your tongue dances to jazz, your saxophone lets rip the first rollicking riff, and, for you, the world changes, a century of lights arising, your soul in the emptiness of the river, the sea by the dock where angels sing. You see everything while you grip the agile thought of the sea. It’s the hour of sacrifice, the hour to purge all guilt. You write the poem: everywhere, anything, is violet as the sky and fit for singing. You write the poem while the girls draw in the living room and the canary sings of your pen excited by the arrival of flames. Your fairy of skin and bone serves you coffee mixed with cream. A cube of sugar. Walnut cake. You eat while savoring the smoke as it rises slowly though the bricks. Fire never ceases to soothe us. And so you write the poem again and again, satisfying yourself by seeing an instrument trace itself against the pungent page, your body trembling from the encounter. It’s time for the poem: you lift it up to the green hill, covered in blankets, offered to whispered words that are like vapor when heard.
My Parrot has Died My parrot has died in a clinic in Huntington. His life was a miracle. He was the envy of all the birds in the neighborhood. For five years he sang a piece by Boccherini and knew a couple Mexican pop songs by heart. When he got excited he whistled at the girls who passed by my house. When he was happy, the house was a joy. His harmonious whistling infected with happiness the jealous parakeets in the other cage. Better Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been a canary, he would tell me: death is a lullaby beneath a tremendous poplar that protects us. The poplar likes its family, and lets fall its leaves like bloody money. It is an enormous sky from where they can see the waterfalls, the wing of the birds that return to see water at the source. Today Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sad. My parrot was a piece of heaven in a world of fear.
Central Park Women look more beautiful when it rains: they are sculptures of water in motion. The fountains celebrate the energy of gazelles running through Central Park. Because why do we live if not to celebrate this rush, the agitation of the blood in delight of observation? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why I go out to look at them when they go running under the trees, crossing among the blind multitude that passes by without seeing them, appearing neither to see nor feel as their skin dissolves. It is a distinct music: legs and grass like a jazz that contains the breathing of the empire of the night.
Translation by Gwendolyn Osterwald
Everything is Azul (Listening to Eiffel 65) This Sunday I feel blue, alone with my sea heart. My pen has blue blood because when I learned to paint as a child, all the bougainvilleas in my neighborhood were blue like the jetties in Chorrillos. The sea had blue orchids that I navigated with my tricycle, and my brushes turned it all blue, like the shore of my first port. My first dreams were about a transparent skirt and the blue eyes of a woman whose hair was like a black flame.
The Blues, for example, is blue and the happiest song will always be like infinity flying over a big park with a blue lake. My favorite poem always travels through a sea that had blue islands and words fade into blue, and the skyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s canopy that writes me is clearer than a drop of rain, also blue.
Miguel Ă ngel Zapata is an associate professor of Latin American literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and has been teaching at Hofstra University since 2001. He has studied at the in Lima, Peru, and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. To date, he has written eight books of poetry in Spanish, one of which, titled A Sparrow in the House of Seven Patios, was translated by Anthony Seidman into English. He is also the author of several books of essays, critical editions, interviews and anthologies. He received the Latino Literature Prize and the Hostos Essay Award in 2003.
PRÓXIMOS NÚMEROS/ UPCOMING ISSUES
Poetas latinoamericanas judías Latin American Jewish Women Poets
Actas de la conferencia Hostos/Martí Papers from the Hostos/Martí Conference
Entrevistas con escritores iberoamericanos Interviews with Ibero-American Writers
HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA An International Journal of Culture Revista International de Cultura
In this issue / En este número Ethel Barja Andrea Cabel José Antonio Villarán Alberto Valdivia-Baselli Paul Guillén Carlos Villacorta Gonzales Enrique Bernales Albites Xavier Echarri Odi Gonzales Mariela Dreyfus Eduardo Chirinos Roger Santiváñez Miguel Ángel Zapata
ISSN: 1547-4577 ISSUE / NÚMERO 13 2017
SELECTION BY GIANCARLO HUAPAYA
UNA PUBLICACIÓN DEL INSTITUTO DE ESCRITORES LATINOAMERICANOS A PUBLICATION OF THE LATIN AMERICAN WRITERS INSTITUTE OFICINA DE ASUNTOS ACADÉMICOS / OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS DEPARTAMENTO DE HUMANIDADES / HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT EUGENIO MARIA DE HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF CUNY