Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, June 2017

I was finally able to make contact with Rosibel Morera this month. She has offered whatever help she can provide in getting her book with my translations of Yo sólo sé decirme a los amantes published, hopefully in a new bilingual edition. So that project will be keeping me busy for the next few months, working out the publication details and getting the book ready to go in both paperback and ebook editions.

I’ve been going through the translations one more time, making improvements where I can. Each time I read through them I get excited all over again at how extraordinary Morera’s work is. Here are a few of poems, see for yourself.

First, a  couple of very sensual poems.

Impúdico viento

se asoma
con su cincel de verolís emplumado
porque no se contiene
y se distiende
se derrama al roce amador el impúdico viento
que no conoce límite
que no conoce traba
superficie blanda
o rama.

Wanton whirlwind

with chisel of feathery cane flower
because it can’t hold back
and lets go
to gush at lover’s touch the wanton whirlwind
knowing no limit
knowing no restraint
soft surface
or limb.

Valle del Urubamba
(Perú: memoria del paisaje)

¿Me recuerdas bien
jugando en las faldas de la ladera,
las rocas calizas, tú mirándome y soñando?

Yo vago por ahí todavía: el frío,
las burritas balando como ovejas de otra raza,
café, cobrizas,
con sus orgasmos imaginarios golpeando al aire,
relojes animales recordatorios,
presencia do lo íntimo a todas horas en el paisaje.

¡No ha habido lugar, no llama del alma fija
que haya amado tanto!

Mi tesoro era el aroma de hierba, y de la cal,
y el don sonoro del aire y del río.

¡No hay brisa poblada como aquella!

Urubamba Valley
(Peru: memories of the countryside)

Do you still remember me,
cavorting in the skirts of the slopes,
the limestone, you looking at me with longing?

I maunder there yet: the cold,
the little jennies bleating like sheep of another breed,
tones of coffee and copper,
our hallucinatory orgasms ringing out in the air,
wild, unforgettable,
face to face with the intimate, at all hours, in the countryside.

No other place, no other blaze of ardent heart,
could I have loved so much!

My treasure was the scent of grass and chalk,
and the sonorous gift of zephyr and river.

Never has breeze been so bountiful!

And one about the passion of being called to poetry.

La palabra

Una redondez de barro
aligerada a presión de llama.

Un granulado azul
o transparente.

Rompo con azadón
o salto en llamas
hasta coger explosionadas
las palabras
–naranjas vendavales–
domeñadas sus cornamentas libres
su trote de libre viento apurado.

The word

A lump of clay
lightened by press of flame.

A fragment blue
or transparent.

I smash with mattock
or I leap into flames
to pluck exploded
– orange gales –
tamed their unfettered horns
the tumult of free rushing wind.

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, May 2017

Lots of rain in May, the most we’ve ever seen here. According to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional de Costa Rica, the most May rainfall since 2002, causing landslides all over the country. Including one on the hillside above our house, which we’re still cleaning up three weeks later. Fortunately, we suffered no serious damage.

I have two poems for for May, one about the sad end of a young bird and one about the landslide (and much more). I hope you like them.

Sweet waves of song

A nestling thrush
falls out of a palm
into a shrub
then to the ground
beset by two cats
mother yigüirro squawking frantic.

Irina shoos the cats
cradles chick in hands
sets on a branch high
out of reach of circling predators.

Turns her back
chick’s back on the ground
six cats batting
the birdie in sport
of most serious sort
brown-feathered mother screaming her horror.

The Clay-colored robin
breeds once a season
sometimes twice
two or three eggs
sometimes four
can live for a decade
but most lives short ending tragic.

In dearth of death
an Earth drowned
sweet waves of yigüirro song.




I. The landslide

Lightning flashes
birthing thunder

Rain pounds
the day
the night
again, again.
Umbrellaed from the water
pouring from torn eves
sheeting at Rick’s door
he nursing a new knee
we share a grilled chicken
an evening of banter
arrive home to find
the hillside slipped.
Leaving the car
wade the debris flow
fluid as water
a meter thick
straddle tall pines floating
root ball to tip
across the drive
through the yard
one piercing the steel railing
cornering the house.

Three weeks the clean-up
back hoe and men
shoveling mud
clearing lawn, paths
broken plants.
New fence welded
veranda repaired
gate piston replaced
gears sheared by mud.
The hill above
trees felled
hauled away
gash in earth bandaged
with steel caged rock
backfill, culverts.

Through days of work
tallying damage
Rick questions karma
kindness repaid
with unwarranted woe.
My brother if you knew
what must be atoned.

II. The dream

Lightning flashes
birthing thunder

God as storm
appears to four men
one laid low
three others chiding
he has offended
yet the one stands righteous
demanding accounting
God angered
at cheek of being challenged
expounds tedious
the sweep of his wonders
the slightness of man.
You presume to confront Me?
Temble at My might!

An orb of light
expands, glows bright
a female figure
contenance sharpened
now spewing sparks
wagging finger
up the nose of God

You vile old goat
all puffed up
before these poor humans
conniving to cow
appearing a tempest
jealous proclaiming
yourself first among gods
taking credit for all.
You swollen with vanity
enjoining your image
obsessed to control
proclaiming commandments
thirty score, more
rules mostly petty.
Humans walk on eggshells
lest they displease
you yet finding fault.
Try to forbid me
to sully your name
demon blind
to what is within.

The fiery sphere softens
turns facing humans
addresses them gentle

As with us all
the dream of Him yours
as is His likeness.
Now, awaken.
Gather yourselves.
Turn your backs.
Walk away.
Dream a new dream.

The dreamer in form
now of Woman
chanting softly

Rain must fall
bear Land to Sea
Fire in the belly
churns the continents
Fire in the belly
churns the flesh