translated by Eloisa Amezcua & Pablo Medina 

The sun stung like never before. The fields of Matanzas
bright red. We drank water from the irrigation stream
like a sacramental act (thirst is like that), the clouds large
                                                                                      /sheets,
the cattle grazing, the buzz of flies
                                                            /adding to the silence.
The world came to me as I named it. Everything in its place, everything
in the thick of summer, the final one, the one that gave me
the mockingbird, the lizard, the owl, and yagruma.
Erroneous order, erroneous chaos that sacks order,
erroneous the simple waking to the tyrant attitude of the sun,
fatal monster. We thought one thing and it was another,
levity. It means nothing, is nothing.
To think like an acrobat. Day light, night lacks light.
Heat, cold. Sun, stars. To feel yourself winged, flying
fish, lover of the headwaters offshore. 


1958

Ardió el sol como nunca. Campos de Matanzas
en rojo vivo. Tomamos agua del chorro de la irrigación
como un acto sacramental (tal es la sed), las nubes grandes
                                                                                      /sábanas,
el ganado pastando, el zumbido de las moscas
                                                            /incorporándose al silencio.
Se me hizo mundo al nombrarlo. Todo en su lugar, todo
en la espesura del verano, ese último, el que me dio
el sinsonte, el chipojo, el búho y la yagruma.
Erróneo el orden, erróneo el caos que destituye el orden,
erróneo el simple despertar a la actitud déspota del sol,
monstruo fulminante. Pensábamos una cosa y era otra,
levedad. Nada quiere decir, quiere ser.
Pensar como saltimbanque. Día luz, noche ausencia de luz.
Calor, frío. Cielo, astros. El sentirse alado, pez
volador, amante de las cabezadas mar afuera. 

 

More by Pablo Medina

Cityscape 1

Let the aroma of need
waft across the river to New Jersey:

all the snow and hills,
a sky that moves and moves.

I saw a rose in the clouds,
I saw happiness on fire.

At the Blue Note

for Karen Bentivenga
Sometimes in the heat of the snow
you want to cry out

for pleasure or pain like a bell.
And you wind up holding each other,

listening to the in-between 
despite the abyss at the edge of the table. 

Hell. Mulgrew Miller plays like a big 
bad spider, hands on fire, the piano

trembling like crystal,
the taste and smell of a forest under water.

The bartender made us a drink
with butterfly wings and electric wire. 

Bitter cold outside, big silence, 
a whale growing inside us.

In Defense of Melancholy

At least once a week
I walk into the city of bricks
where the rubies grow

and the killers await
the coming of doves and cats.

I pass by the homes of butchers
and their knives sharpened by insomnia

to the river of black sails
and the torn-up sea and the teeth of dogs.

She waits for me in a narrow bed,
watching the rain
that gathers on the broken street

and the weak light of dusk
and the singing trees.