Image credit: Cameron York, "Obvious Child"

El Prefigurado

 

You tend to make your morning visits
while the birds still sing
when coffee perfumes the breeze,
and handsomely
you recline like that
nude
surrendered
with all your virile strength in the air
as if imposing a circle of happiness
of a joy
known only to you
Prefigurado,
when you make morning visits
and take your time
theorizing on love
in every caress
in every palpitation
of my body which is your body
in invention,
because we know full well
that you do not exist
that solitary you arrive with your footprints
imprinting in the depths
leaving the taste of your skin
to birds
that still sing in the night

 

 

 

Untitled

 

Where were you
where
I searched for you among mother´s
orchids
among the geraniums with black tips
in the sea of dead waves
in the cave of prehistoric Indians
where
where Prefigurado
were you to be found
you
in my nightmares of long hours
in the complications of my life
in the books
of Picasso
in the enamels of Tamayo
where
Prefiguado
where
where
were you to be found
preluded man, premonition man
presaged man, predetermined man
Prefigurado
where
where were you hiding
I searched for you among grandfather’s palms
in the aged shrubs
of the garden
along the edge of the beach
diving among the reefs
losing myself in the desert
navigating the Caribbean
Where
where Prefigurado
were you




Beginning

 

I know
when you look at me
with your green eyes of summer
that your skin slowly burning
weaving itself into finery
of golden bronze
and your fine skin
strength of taut muscles
that assonated
continue pursuing
this dark Antilles stare
that penetrates your eyes
through that green sea
you call a gaze
And to know you
in an afternoon of flames
when the drums of Miami
reverberate raucous sounds in melamba
is to decipher the enigma
that makes you a man
imagining the saltiness of the sweat
that permeates your body,
today the day of our meeting
of our first outings
of knowing oneself initiated in love,
how to know that you are you
el Prefigurado
the man
who must be
the man




Angela’s Café

 

here our love is about to be born
this your first sip of coffee
your lips nearing the cup
as if anticipating a kiss
we gaze at each other with a centuries-old fear
because men must not desire each other
with the intensity and shamelessness
that we do
we make a braid
with the words that define us
discovering that in each flight
one has encountered the other
your smile filters
through my pores
and I again feel
this gaze of green sea
where do you take me with your clear eyes
what is the route of your skin
how can one decipher the first encounter of memories
we touch hands
beneath the table
revealing the secret
discovering the lie
because men must not love each other like this
with the shamelessness that we do




Myth of the peninsular youth

 

Today the orange tree perfumes you
in the blossoms of your memory
The aroma adheres to you
among the fruit trees you hang
by your legs by your arms,
by your entire soul
There your life unfolds
between chases, exploits, adventures
a quixotic boy
living off his peninsula
Thus life defines you
Thus you submerge yourself in the lake of alligators
swimming among memories and explorations
looking from your window
at the spine of the reptile
that slowly, calmly, closely
enters the waters where you swim
There the lake encircles you
in its wake
of fragrance humid and green
with it lives the myth
of the enamored boy,
with it you discover
the imperceptible moment
of the new aurora
boy discovering your boyhood,
you know that strength
lives in your fantasy
of creating peaks and valleys
from the marshy garden
that is your lot in life,
from the branches a castle emerges
where you have founded your empire,
alligators, serpents,
shadows of the night
pay you tribute
boy king of the universe




The ritual of your days

 

The leaves slowly awaken on your skin
like green shadows that cloak your soul,
dilapidated and strewn upon your arm
perforating each pore of your epidermis in slumber.

The man where I have sown the ferns
the vines and the palms
remains stretched out, entwined and hanging
in this the safety of my sheets.

Each sphere of green sunlight revolves around your body
in search of an infinity already marked,
satiated by light, of sharp transparency.

How can one penetrate the cloud that envelops you
and strip away the moss affixed to you,
to thus live solaced in you.




Entrenched

 

Here in this trench
buried in the deepest
social hole,
we have defended our love,
here besieged by the hate
by the anger, by the homophobia
by the insults, the sarcasm
the shouts of “faggots!”
the slashed tires,
here we don’t rent to homosexuals,
he’s a good person, but he’s gay,
they are fabulous and they love each other
but they’re queers,
here we have defended our love
in this trench for 18 years,
18 years loving each other purely
because we love each other,
not because it is approved by society,
the church, the school, the family,
the social order.
Entrenched because love is
more important
than all that hate,
than all that anger,
Entrenched because we have seen
brothers murdered
because Lorca was murdered
because Wilde was murdered,
and perhaps we will also be
murdered
because this book of love
that I write for you
may be the sentence
of death for our bodies,
but we continue entrenched
entrenched
entrenched until death
because this act of love
is much bigger
than our destiny



View Original Work ↓

El Prefigurado

 

Sueles hacer tus visitas de mañana
cuando los pájaros aún cantan
cuando el café se aroma en el viento,
y hermosamente
estás recostado así
desnudo
entregado
con todas las fuerzas viriles al aire,
como imponiendo un cerco de felicidad
de una dicha
que sólo tú conoces
Prefigurado,
cuando haces visitas de mañana
y tomas tu tiempo
teorizando el amor
en cada roce
en cada palpitación
de mi cuerpo que es tu cuerpo
en invención,
porque bien sabemos
que no existes
que solitario llegas con tus huellas
a imprimir en lo profundo,
a dejar tu sabor a piel
a pájaros
que aún cantan en la noche

 

 

Untitled

 

Dónde estabas tú
dónde
te busqué entre las orquídeas
de mamá
entre los geranios de puntas negras
en el mar de las olas muertas
en la cueva de los indios prehistóricos
dónde
dónde Prefigurado
te encontrabas

en mis pesadillas de horas largas
en el enredo de mi vida
en los libros
de Picasso
en los esmaltes de Tamayo
dónde
Prefigurado
dónde
dónde
te hallabas tú
hombre preludiado hombre presentido
hombre presagiado hombre predeterminado
Prefigurado
dónde
dónde te escondías tú
te busqué entre las palmas del abuelo
en los viejos arbustos
del jardín
a la orilla de la playa
buceando por los arrecifes
perdiéndome en el desierto
navegando por el Caribe
Dónde
dónde Prefigurado
estabas tú




Inicio

 


cuando me miras
con tus ojos verdes de verano
que la piel se te va quemando
tejiéndose en un atavío
de bronce dorado
y bien tu piel
fuerza de músculos apretados
que asonantados
van persiguiendo
esta oscura mirada antillana
que se te cuela por los ojos
por ese verde mar
que llamas mirada
Y conocerte
en una tarde de llamas
cuando los tambores de Miami
retumban estrépitos sones en melamba
es descifrar el enigma
que te hace hombre
imaginarse el salitre del sudor
que permea tu cuerpo,
hoy día del encuentro
de las primicias
de saberse iniciado en el amor,
cómo saber que eres tú
el Prefigurado
el hombre
que ha de ser
el hombre




Angela's Café

 

aquí está por nacer el amor
éste tu primer sorbo de café
los labios acercándose a la taza
como anticipando el beso
nos miramos con un miedo de siglos
porque los hombres no han de quererse
con la intensidad y el descaro
que nos queremos
hacemos una trenza
con las palabras que nos definen
descubriendo que en cada vuelo
se ha encontrado al otro
tu sonrisa se filtra
por mis poros
y vuelvo a sentir
esa mirada de verde mar
a dónde me llevas con tus claros ojos
cuál es el cabotaje de tu piel
cómo se descifra la primera cita de recuerdos
nos palpamos las manos
debajo de la mesa
revelando el secreto
descubriendo la mentira
porque los hombres no se han de amar así
con el descaro que nos amamos




Mito del niño península

 

Hoy te perfuma el naranjo
en los azahares de tu memoria
A ti se adhiere el aroma
que entre cítricos cuelgas
de piernas de brazos,
del alma entera
Allí tu vida se desprende
entre correteos, hazañas, aventuras
un quijote niño
que de su península vive
Así te define la vida
Así te sumerges en el charco de los lagartos
nadando entre recuerdos y andanzas
mirando desde tu ventana
el espinal del reptil
que lento, apacible, allegado
se adentra en las aguas donde nadas
Allí el lago te ronda
en sus estelas
de fragancia húmeda y verde,
con él vive el mito
del niño enamorado,
con él descubres
el momento imperceptible
de la aurora nueva
niño que te hallas niño,
sabes que la fuerza
radica en tu fantasía
de crear páramos y valles
del pantano huerto
que vivir te ha tocado,
de las ramas surge un castillo
donde has fundado tu imperio,
lagartos, serpientes,
sombras de la noche
te rinden tributo,
rey niño del universo




El ritual de tus días

 

Las hojas van amaneciendo en tu piel
como sombra verdusca que te arropa el alma,
destartalada y arrojada en su abrazo
perfora cada poro de tu epidermis en sueño.

El hombre donde he sembrado los helechos
las enredaderas y las palmas
sigue alargado, entretejido y colgante
en esta la guarida de mis sábanas.

Cada esfera de verde sol gira por tu cuerpo
en busca de un infinito ya marcado,
saciado de luz, de transparencia afilada.

Cómo penetrar la nube que te envuelve
y arrancar el musgo que te adhiere,
para así vivir solazado en ti.




Atrincherados

 

Aquí en esta trinchera
enterrados en el más profundo
hoyo social,
hemos defendido nuestro amor,
aquí asediados por el odio
por la rabia, por la homofobia,
por los insultos, el sarcasmo,
los gritos de "maricones!"
las llantas explotadas,
aquí no se les alquila a los homosexuales,
es buena gente, pero es loca,
son chévere y se quieren
pero son jotos,
aquí hemos defendido nuestro amor
en esta trinchera de 18 años,
18 años amándonos puramente
porque nos amamos,
no porque lo apruebe la sociedad,
la iglesia, la escuela, la familia,
el orden social.
Atrincherados porque el amor es
más importante
que todo ese odio,
que toda esa rabia,
Atrincherados porque hemos visto
hermanos asesinados
porque Lorca fue asesinado
porque Wilde fue asesinado,
y tal vez nosotros seamos
asesinados
porque este libro de amor
que te escribo
tal vez sea la sentencia
a muerte de nuestros cuerpos,
pero seguimos atrincherados
atrincherados
atrincherados hasta la muerte
porque este acto de amor
es más grande
que nuestra suerte

Translator Notes

In 2002, Benito Pastoriza Iyodo anticipated issues of the new millennium with Cartas a la sombra de tu piel [Letters to the shadow of your skin, my translation]. This collection, divided into three sections, reflects an honest, yet vulnerable view of the mystical, intimate, treacherous, physical and societal questions facing relationships.

Translating Spanish poetry into English should result in a text that produces an experience for the reader that approximates that of the Spanish-language reader’s encounter with the original text. This process begins with a comprehensive understanding of the original text, its themes and nuances, as well as the intra-textual conversations among the poems. The translator must assume nothing – except that there is a purpose to every aspect of the original work: word selection, syntax, clarity or ambiguity. The translation should mirror the original to convey, with poetic artistry, the original text’s specificity, ambiguity, gradations, neologisms or nuanced play on words.

In the first three poems, the word Prefigurado (with a capital letter) is used as the name for the as yet unnamed beloved. The verb form of this noun means to prefigure or foreshadow; thus, el prefigurado is the prefigured one. The cognate, prefigured, is so similar to the Spanish “Prefigurado,” that the use of the Spanish form allows the preservation of meaning and flow without having to change the word, substitute an awkward phrase or stumble on a footnote.

Where neologisms or words from other languages are used, the word is not translated into either language. In “Inicio” [Beginning] the author uses the word “melamba,” which is either a city in Angola or a word from an African language meaning woman’s dancing skirt. This word has been incorporated into Afro-Caribbean poetry without translation. What is important is the rhythm created by the word, not an explanation of its possible meanings. As a final example, it is worth noting that the author uses the verbs “querer” and “amar” in “Angela’s Café.” While both verbs can mean “to love” in English, there is a decided difference between the two verbs in Spanish. As the poem begins “here our love is about to be born,” the use of “querer” at the beginning of the poem is more appropriately referred to as desire, while the culmination of the poem reaffirms that the love alluded to in the beginning has come to fruition.

The translation of the poems selected ensures that gender is exposed only as it appears in the Spanish original. This minimizes any distraction from the universal experience of anticipating love, its exploratory and passionate phases and the intimate or quotidian observations of the relationship. Pastoriza Iyodo also takes the experience beyond the personal by bringing to the forefront the challenges that couples face from a judgmental society as seen in “Atrincherados” [Entrenched].


Bradley Warren Davis

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