conditions

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Conditions
Pablo Neruda
With these moody negations
I said goodbye to the mirrors
and gave up my profession:
better a blind man in a corner
singing songs to the world
without setting eyes on a soul,
if part of me is so like the others!

Nevertheless I kept trying:
how to look back at myself
to wherever it is I sat blinded
when my total condition was dark?
There was nothing to show for my singing
in a blind rabble of singers:
but the harsher the street sounds became,
the sweeter I seemed to myself

Condemned to self-love,
I lived the exterior life of a hypocrite
hiding the depths of love
my defects had brought down on my head.
I keep on being happy,
disclosing to nobody
my ambiguous malady:
the grief I endure for self-love,
who was never so loved in return.

Original

Condiciones
Con tantas tristes negativas
me despedí de los espejos
y abandoné mi profesiòn:
quise ser ciego en una esquina
y cantar para todo el mundo
sin ver a nadie porque todos
se me parecían un poco.

Pero buscaba mientras tanto
còmo mirarme hacia detrás,
hacia donde estaba sin ojos
y era oscura mi condiciòn.
No saqué nada con cantar
como un Ciego ücl populadlo;
mientras más amarga la calle
me parecía yo más dulce.

Condenado a quererme tanto
me hice un hipòcrita exterior
ocultando el amor profundo
que me causaban mis defectos.
Y así sigo siendo feliz
sin que jamas se entere nadie
de mi enfermedad insondable:
de lo que sufrí por amarme
sin ser, tal vez, correspondido.

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

been there, done that

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Been There Done That
Nicanor Parra
I’ve even been a corpse for pay
One time they told me to hit the ground
And I, who am that I am, I obeyed
They covered me up with some newspapers
& went about their business filming a scene
For their motion picture

Another time
In a whorehouse in San Antonio
They forced me
To suck a little old woman’s tits
On pain of death

What more do you want me to say?

Original

He Trabajado De Todo
Hasta de cadáver
Una vez me dijeron tiéndateahí
Y yo que soy quien soy obedecí
Me taparon con unos diarios
& se pusieron a filmar una escena
Para una película

Otra vez
En un prostíbulo de San Antonio
Me obligaron
A chuparle las tetas a una vieja
Bajo amenaza de muerte

Qué quieren que les diga?

“cloudburst, sultry and dense”

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Memory works in strange ways. In one brief moment, an act is intense, organic and erotic. And like a “cloudburst, sultry and dense”, it dissipates in the mind, shedding density (and importance) to fade to almost nothing. It is only when the atmospheric pressure again changes that the mind wanders to stores of memory to find that moment again in the ever-expanding archive of moments.

Semen
Pablo Neruda
Because no words suffice for this cry
it lives as a blood-colored syllable.

And circles a ring of desire
like a cloudburst, sultry and dense:
red sulphate of quicklime, a secret sun
opening and closing the genital doors.

Original

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Photo by Kamal J on Unsplash

“I feel my life fleeing”

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Dusk
Gabriela Mistral
I feel my heart melting
in the mildness like candles:
my veins are slow oil
and not wine,
and I feel my life fleeing
hushed and gentle like the gazelle.

Original

Atardecer
Siento mi corazón en la dulzura
fundirse como ceras:
son un óleo tardo
y no un vino mis venas,
y siento que mi vida se va huyendo
callada y dulce como la gacela.

drunk as drunk on turpentine

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Drunk as drunk
Pablo Neruda
Drunk as drunk on turpentine
From your open kisses,
Your wet body wedged
Between my wet body and the strake
Of our boat that is made of flowers,
Feasted, we guide it – our fingers
Like tallows adorned with yellow metal –
Over the sky’s hot rim,
The day’s last breath in our sails.

Pinned by the sun between solstice
And equinox, drowsy and tangled together
We drifted for months and woke
With the bitter taste of land on our lips,
Eyelids all sticky, and we longed for lime
And the sound of a rope
Lowering a bucket down its well. Then,
We came by night to the Fortunate Isles,
And lay like fish
Under the net of our kisses.

Original
Borracho como ebrio de trementina
De tus besos abiertos,
Su cuerpo mojado encajado
Entre mi cuerpo mojado y la traca
De nuestro barco que se hace de las flores,
Festejado, nos guían – nuestros dedos
Como sebos adornadas con metal amarillo –
Durante borde caliente del cielo,
Último aliento del día en nuestras velas.
Fijado por el sol entre el solsticio
Y equinoccio, somnolencia y enredados juntos
Nos dejamos llevar por meses y nos despertamos
Con el sabor amargo de la tierra en los labios,
Párpados todo pegajoso, y anhelábamos cal
Y el sonido de una cuerda
La reducción de un cubo por su bien. Entonces,
Llegamos por la noche a las Islas Afortunadas,
Y poner a pescado
Debajo de la red de nuestros besos

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash