Offcourse Literary Journal
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Poems from "Cenizas del Mediodía", by Carlos Barbarito,
translated from the Spanish by Ricardo Nirenberg.

 

"La tinta ensucia el papel, siempre".

 

La tinta ensucia el papel, siempre.   Ink invariably blemishes the paper.
Un poema es una mancha   A poem is a stain,
y quien lo escribe está ciego y no sabe.   its writer blind, unknowing.
Ninguna saliva de mujer   No woman's spittle
puede limpiar esos dedos   will clean those fingertips,
como no los limpia el agua del mar   no seawater
o el agua de lluvia.   or rainwater.
La obra, polvo de carbón   The work, coal dust
en una camisa blanca.   on a white shirt.
Y el torpe o sagaz amor   And love, clever or inept,
se sumerge, entero, en la sombra.   jumps in, whole, into the dark.

 

 


 

"Del otro lado de la pared, risas"

 
Del otro lado de la pared, risas.   Laughter beyond the wall.
Son dos, tal vez tres. Juegan   They are two, maybe three. They play
en el agua, se mojan entre ellos y ríen.   In the water, splash and laugh.
Deben estar desnudos, mojados   They must be naked, wet
de la cabeza a los pies.
  From head to toes.
Se arrojan agua y, tal vez,   They throw water at each other, then,
se acarician después, y ríen.   perhaps, they fondle one another, and laugh.
Sus risas y sus ruidos reverberan   Their laughter and splashes echo
y llegan a mis oídos   their way into my ears
como si estuviesen bajo capas de memoria   as if located under layers of memory
o en el centro exacto de un sueño.   or at the precise center of a dream.
Desnudos, ríen y, de a poco,   Naked, they laugh, and slowly,
sin que lo sepan, o tal vez lo sospechan   unwittingly, or could it be they have a hunch
y por ese motivo lo hacen,   and that is why they do it,
se encienden y resplandecen,   they light up and glow,
liberados, por un momento,   free, if for a moment,
de razón, de tiempo.   from reason and from time.

 

 


 

"La amante le dice algo al amante en el oído"

 

La amada le dice algo al amante en el oído.   She whispers something in his ear.
El amante le responde con una sonrisa.   He replies with a smile.
La escena transcurre lejos, tanto que parece que la soñáramos.   This happens so far away it seems like a dream.
       
Tal vez la soñamos mientras afuera es de noche   Perhaps we dream it while it's night out there
y en todas partes se abren ojos que fosforecen.   and phosphorescent eyes open up everywhere.
Sueño o no, tiene que haber una casa   In any case, there must be a house
donde ellos habitan como habita en ellos el deseo.   Where they dwell just as desire dwells in them.
Creo adivinar qué le dice la amada al amante.   I think I know what the beloved says to her lover.
Palabras que harían huir a Dios si las pudiese oír
 
  Words that, could He hear them, would put God to flight
y atraerían a los dioses como moscas a la miel.   And would attract the gods as flies to honey.
Pero fuera de ellos ninguno es digno de esas palabras.   But no one other than they is worthy of such words.
Nadie, excepto ellos, es digno de habitar esa casa.   No one, other than they, is worthy to dwell in that house.

 

Carlos Barbarito was born in 1955 in Pergamino, a small town in the Argentine Pampas. Since 1985, he has published numerous volumes of poetry and received many prestigious prizes. His work also appears in the internet:

http://www.brindinpress.demon.co.uk

http://www.revistaetcetera.com.br

http://www.caminosdepakistan.com

http://d-sites.net/barbarito

http://www.writers.net/writers/25829.

His work appeared also in Offcourse Issue #17, Summer 03, http://www.albany.edu/offcourse/summer03/barbarito.html

 

 


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