Friday, February 1, 2013

Lorenzo García Vega, translated by Christopher Winks

from DISTRIBUTING SCRAPS WHEN DROPS OF THE                                           VARICOLORED


I confess that the toilet’s been tossed onto the edge of the sidewalk / which perhaps can be dictated, when on certain nights the Moon appears.

What for? That which, though insignificant, belongs in reality to a mythology, it’s kept in one of my boxes.
        Now what I’ve done is that once I built something ugly: a piece, really poor, of this bridge corresponding to a canal in this Albino Beach
         But of course, I’m not up to saying more than I’ve said thus far / let an altar be raised in the doorway of this store where they sell records, or, throughout the entire month of September, let the candles remain lit that surround this portrait of the Movie Star next to the portrait of the Virgin Mary.
          Since it’s that I believe, without any doubt,
          that for those of us who live in the Cave,
          this is the best that can happen to us.



Ah, I’ve seen a shadow. The whole night, I’ve seen. I’ve seen a shadow. But there was also a devastation. The devastation that swept away that movie theater that occurred, a long time, a long time ago.
          But, is there now, in this hole, or moment, this almost insane noise of a fan? What fan? Or, in which house on a corner with dust was this fan? Or did this fan have something to do with a train’s passing by?
        So, I’ll again say a little louder that I’m not going to move from here. That’s it: there’s no other response than this: I’m not going to move from here.
          A little louder, then.
          And with such indifference that my face has turned to chalk.
         And with an absurd nocturne, a silence such, that the matter – which matter? – imitates, to carry out a mutation afterwards, the very same size as an insect, or a pencil, or any other common-or-garden object. But what’s this? What metamorphosis can this be? What is it I’m saying?
And this noise. This noise. These steps of some old, distant shoes on the dusty street of an afternoon of my childhood, in Jagüey Grande, of course.
          So many things detached from me! But hey, no need to feel sorry, no need to feel sorry for me.

Whence would suffice for me, so that everything would begin to smell like a dry laugh, the one whom I could count on the scorched wing of an angel (will I still be able to count on Swedenborg?).
          I repeat, then, night, which is silence. Because it absurdly imitates the size of a pencil.
          I repeat: there’d be a laugh with such a dry smell, that I wouldn’t need to move from here.
          I repeat, with the scorched wing of an angel. In this bone, or moment, in which I’ve seen a shadow. This almost insane noise of a fan, perhaps emerging from the world of the dead.
          And it’s that I, almost always, end up seeing some shadow.


How’s this? It’s a head that’s obsessing me. The head of a hybrid made up of a whirligig with an enlarged peanut (what can this be?).
          The lower edge of this head is a red wine-colored halo.
          And, at the center, the head is adorned by a spur. A spur that serves as a beak for an invisible bird (the bird’s invisible, but doubtless it’s cream-colored).
          And today is ugly, humid, wearisome, but I can pretend not to notice this horrid day only because of this: because I, though obsessed, feel full (full of what? full how?) and with this head which, quite casually and without knowing why, has just plopped itself before my eyes.



            Who are this Sunday’s dead? Do you know who this Sunday’s dead are? Are they, perhaps, the dead of an indifferent city?

          The loser tossed, in a scene from a movie – from the 40s – I saw in my adolescence when my house was converted into a boarding-house (since, in my adolescence, my house was converted into – and I’m telling you, it was true – a boarding house), a boomerang, which now, fortunately, now has ceased to interest me.

          It’s that, besides, on the dining room table, I’m listening to the loose ends of a gust of wind, and this where before there was a print, with an angel painted by Swedenborg (did I see that print in my childhood, in my grandparents’ house?).

          Or, passion like what’s said about a handkerchief, derived from the comics.

          Or else, passion for an effaced climate, since it must have belonged to the, dissipated, night in which I saw the scene from the movie from the 40s.

          They are, then, like the feet – mirrors? – of the moon. They are, then, like the one who pisses trifles.

          Which is why I push myself – I rear up – towards a pleasure of cardboard stone, and this though I don’t know if, at some point, this pleasure could exist.

          But, can anyone explain to me which – autistic – tangle might I be telling you, almost without being aware of it?



          I once read in a streetcar. It may be confirmed that this landscape belonged to childhood, when it’s confirmed that water manages to have a color identical to the phantom.

          I adapted to my straitjacket, keeping myself in this color of water or, more, managing to be that color of water.

          I, with my straitjacket, was acting with that color – I didn’t see, nor did I need to see, footsteps on the pavement.

          So, of course, the moon had nothing to say on this matter. Keeping myself in the water, introducing myself into the water, I knew that this would lead to a bright noon.

          What sort of bright noon?

          I can only say that this phantom confused with the water is a piece, a section. Wind that halted next to my hat.

          But although all this, seen from my straitjacket, I know belongs to my childhood; I also know, however, that whatever key of this computer I’m operating is dissipating every vestige of a distant train I could invent.

          I cannot, then, do anything with what belonged to my childhood.

          To repeat: the water, and the water is confused with a phantom which, now that I’m drawing nearer, I see that although it maintains its color of water, what’s still happening to it is a strange, incomprehensible yellow color which, besides, leaves me, within my straitjacket, more paralyzed than ever.

          But this for sure, I’ve been losing many words at the same rate as my molars.

          I’m feeling a little better. 


Lorenzo García Vega (1926-2012) was one of Cuba's most important poets of the past sixty years. He was also a formidable chronicler of the Orígenes group, which under the leadership of José Lezama Lima revolutionized Cuban and Latin American poetry. He himself was a decidedly ambivalent member. He left Cuba in the mid-1960s, eventually settling in Miami. His works include Los años de Orígenes (Caracas: Monte Avila Editores,1979), Poemas para penúltima vez (1948-1989) (Miami: Escandalar, Saetas Ediciones, 1991), No mueras sin laberinto (Buenos Aires: Bajo la Luna, 2005), and the memoir El oficio de perder (Madrid: Renacimiento, 2008). A bilingual selected poetry and prose, translated by Christopher Winks, is forthcoming from Junction Press in 2013.


© Lisa Quinones

Christopher Winks teaches Comparative Literature at Queens College/CUNY. He is the author of Symbolic Cities in Caribbean Literature and has published numerous articles, reviews and translations from French and Spanish in a variety of publications.

No comments:

Post a Comment