Had the metropolitan afternoon not bored him,
the lack of sea air and pure sun not made him long for Andalusía,
or Ángel Flores—intellectual of the rich port—not had a remedy,
the poet in New York might never have crossed the East River
to engage in a conversation that, had language not been a barrier,
went like this:
Señor Crane, el placer es mio. Usted ve que los maricas
de Granada nunca podrían hacer impunemente de recibir tantos marineros
en un hogar a un tiempo. Pleasure—your poems proceed you. Excuse
the mess, one never knows what might wash ashore. Angel, why
didn't you ring to announce your coming?
To which Flores replied, "Since when has any man ever announced
his coming in this apartment, dear heart?"
Angel, you're a scoundrel! Ángel, él es un sinvergüenzo maravilloso.
Mire a estos muchachos, bajo permiso y ¡todavía! incapaz de escapar uno
al otro ¡Borrachos y formando escándalos! What did he say?
To which Flores replied, "He said that you have a charming gathering here."
Yes—the borough's less fashionable gentleman's club. Señor Crane...Angel,
tell him the formality is not necessary.
To which Flores replied, "No tan formal, Federico. Por favor."
...arrrt—disculpame, la pronunciación es difícil—Ángel y yo caminamos
sobre un magnifico puente. Dime, en serio, ¿colga allí?
From which Flores translates, "He wants to know about the bridge."
Isn't it magnificent? Can you believe it just hangs there, no support?
I'm composing a rather lengthy piece about it.
From which Flores translates, "Sí. Está componiendo un pedazo
sobre el puente."
And what have you been working on since your arrival?
From which Flores translates, "¿Qué estás escribiendo?"
Tanto como uno puede, sobre la vida en una residencia.
Well, hopefully we can inspire you. Would you all like some whiskey?
Absolutamente. Y una pareja de estos marineros.
From which which Flores translates, "Yes he would. But none for me, thank you."
Good company and some old-fashion hooch should take your mind
off the anonymity of New York.
Cheers! Salud! (pause) Federico would you like to stay the afternoon?
¡Claro! Ángel, sobra tiempo?
To which Flores replies, "Tu puedes pero yo...¡no!"
Hart, dear...Federico is going to stay. I have an article to finish.
Te dejo a su vicio particular.
And that is how Ángel Flores left them. One poet with another,
in a Brooklyn flat, filled with cigarette smoke, sailors and their musk,
the taste of whiskey on the tongue and, perhaps, the skin.