Issue 2
Three Poems

Three Poems

Idioms

No entendía verdaderamente el significado de las palabas pesa más que un muerto hasta que, con la ayuda de mi madre, mi tía y unas simpáticas enfermeras dominicanas, tuvimos que mover el cuerpo yerto de mi querido abuelo desde su lecho fúnebre hacia el negro ataúd.

Desde aquel entonces, nada ha sido igual…

I never fully understood the meaning of the saying in Spanish; pesa más que un muerto until, with the help of my mother, aunt, and some very kind Dominican nurses, together, we had to move the lifeless body of my grandfather from his deathbed towards the black coffin.

Ever since then, nothing has been the same…

 

La sombra de Martí (sus versos turbulentos)

Yo soy un hombre insincero,
De donde no crece nada,
Y antes de morirme,
Quisiera vomitar
Mis versos del alma.

Vengo del condado de la Salsa y la Muerte,
Y hacia la perdición y la tumba voy
En camino largo y torcido.

Compré un boleto de ida sin vuelta, y punto.

Aborrecido y expatriado soy entre hombres.

En las calles, soy flor marchita―
raíz cortada de tierra infértil.

Yo sé los nombres extraños
De todas las drogas y las rameras

Sé de horribles engaños
Y de deshonrados dolores.

Yo he visto en la noche oscura
Llover sobre mi rostro
Rayos de electricidad negra
De la más infernal fealdad

Cuernos nacer vi en las frentes de los hombres.
De las mujeres trigueñas,
Criaturas enfermas vi salir llorando
De sus vientres cortados con bisturíes infectos

Y salir de los callejones,
Volando en zigzag, murciélagos de nefarios ojos rojos como zombies voladores.

He visto a un hombre
Con la pistola al costado
Malherido y rencoroso,
Chotear de una vez el nombre
De aquel que lo matado.

Mi verso es como un puñal
Que, por la hoja metálica, relucen manchas salpicadas de sangre.

Mi verso es un pozo negro y profundo
Que suple el barrio de hediondas aguas negras
Y lo opuesto de la esperanza.

 

The shadow of Martí (his turbulent verses)

          free translation

I’m an insincere man
From where nothing fertile grows
And before I die
I would like
To spew forth
The fetid verses of my soul.

I come from the borough of Salsa & Death,
And towards perdition & the grave I travel in a long & crooked path.

I bought a one-way ticket with no return, y punto.

I’m hated amongst men & expatriated.

In the streets I’m like a wilted flower―
A cut-off, dehydrated root
From a condemned tropical wasteland.

I know all the strange names of the whores and the drugs sold on the street.

I know stories
Of terrible lies & betrayals
And the implacable, unrelenting pain men & women had to endure without honor.

I’ve seen on many a dark night,
With rain pounding on my face,
Horrid lightning bolts galvanized with black electricity―
Monstrosities imbued with the most infernal underpinnings of death.

I’ve seen horns growing out of men’s foreheads.
From dark-skinned women,
I’ve seen sickly, premature creatures crawl out of their C-sectioned loins
Which were cut open with dirty, infected scalpels.
Out of dark alleyways and sordid callejones, I’ve seen bats with nefarious, beady-red eyes flitting through the air like flying zombies.

I’ve seen a man
With a gun by his side
Mortally wounded & full of rancor
Suddenly shout out the name
Of the man that killed him.

My verses are like sharp knives with glimmering blood splatter & gore
On their carnivorous metallic blades.

My verses are profoundly deep black wells that supply the barrios with pestilent water

And the contradiction of hope.

 

Todo tiene su final

I was shaving my grandfather’s face with an electric buzzer
When he let out a painful groan
Followed by a grim rattle in his throat.

With his final exhalation,
A steady stream of yellow phlegm
Poured out of his mouth.

We heard the death rattle once more
Emerging like a black heraldo de la muerte
From deep within the confines
Of his constricted throat.

Abuelo turned his bald head askance, slightly to the left―
His chin tucked into the hollow crevice of his shoulder.

His eyes were already closed, ready for eternal sleep.

He let his jaw drop slightly, the color went from his face,
And he left this earth―
In a bittersweet ascending whirlwind
Of pain & relief.