I know the sun comes and goes, restless, sniffing me
amongst the canefields.
I know it delays on the zenith anxiously looking at the valley.
The sun was our lioness.
An image, even of humble verbal imagination as this one,
goes to the mind
and asks her to condescend
with the poet. It is the deal.
Not this time, this time I only ask your gaze immediate
Who, so svelte, leaps from the window to my dais
and lifts me by the nape with soft fauces
and takes me to the river
if not the sun?
The sun was our lioness.
A warm breath wraps me being here, in Lower Saxony,
it is the image creating its space in my sick body,
it is the sun that sniffs me like a missing son,
there up north in my country,
where she taught me to walk pushing me with her snout.
The Praying Mantis
My tired gaze drew away from the forest made azure by the sun
to the praying mantis that remained motionless 50 cm from
I was lying on the warm rocks on the bank of the
and she stayed there, leaning, her hands contrite,
trusting excessively her imitation of a twig or dry stick.
I tried to catch her, to show her that an eye always finds us,
but she crumbled between my fingers like a fine and brittle shell.
A casual encyclopedia now tells me I have destroyed
The encyclopedia recounts without wonder that the story went like this:
the male, on his little stone, sings and sways, calling
and the female has already appeared by his side,
perhaps much too willing
Long is the coitus of the mantis.
During the kiss
she slides a long tubular tongue down to his stomach
and from the tongue drips a caustic saliva, an acid,
liquefying his organs
and the tissue of the farthest internal reaches, while she brings him joy,
and while she brings him joy the tongue absorbs him, scoops
the final drop of substance from the foot or the brain, and the male
continues this way from the supreme schizophrenia of copulation
to the death.
And seeing him already a shell, she flies, her tongue again small.
Encyclopedias do not speculate. Neither does this one conjecture what last
remains forever fixed in the dead and open mouth
of the male.
We should not deny the possibility of a word
The Winged Stone
The pelican, wounded, flew away from the sea
and came to die
on this short desert stone.
for some days, for some dignity
in his final position:
it ended like the beautiful frozen movement
of a dance.
Its flesh still in agony
began to be devoured by meticulous pests, and its bones
white and delicate
fell and scattered in the sand.
on the back of the stone one of its wings remained,
its rubbery tendons dried
to the rock
as if it were a body.
For several days
the sea wind
uselessly whipped the wing, it whipped without understanding
that we can imagine a bird, the most beautiful,
but not make it fly.
Translated by Arcadio Bolaños
(Editor's Note: Read "José Watanabe: From Everyday Reality to the World of Poetry," an essay by Arcadio Bolaños, in LALT No. 2 here.)
José Watanabe (1946-2007) was a Peruvian poet, and he is known as one of the most important voices of Peruvian poetry to emerge from the 1970s. His published works include Álbum de familia (1971), El huso de la palabra (1989), Historia natural (1994), Cosas del cuerpo (1999), Antígona (2000), Habitó entre nosotros (2002), Lo que queda (2005), La piedra alada (2005), and Banderas detrás de la niebla (2006).
Arcadio Bolaños was born in Lima and spent most of his childhood surrounded by thousands of books; thanks to his father’s library, he became an avid reader but also an aspiring writer at a young age. He studied in Los Reyes Rojos high school, named that way after one of José María Eguren’s poems; after writing a thesis on José Watanabe’s poetry, he graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. In the past seven years, Bolaños has been writing comic book scripts, and his stories have been published both in print and digitally through ComiXology (an Amazon subsidiary). He is currently a graduate student in the Spanish Department of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Table of Contents
- ESSAY: "Pedro Lemebel: In Memoriam" by Juan Poblete
- ESSAY: "Memento Mori: To Honor the Dead" by Fernando Blanco
- INTERVIEW: "The Punished Body: An Interview with Pedro Lemebel" by John Better
- ESSAY: "Talk to Me about Love, Mariquita linda" by John Better
- CHRONICLE: "The Waters of Zanjón" by Pedro Lemebel
- CHRONICLE: "The Million Names of María Chameleon" by Pedro Lemebel
- ESSAY: "Herman@s of Lemebel: Other Returns to Havana" by Norge Espinosa
- POETRY: "Untitled" by Caridad Atencio
- POETRY: "Nation" by Israel Domínguez
- POETRY: "Sunbaked Shell" by Leymen Pérez
- POETRY: "When Fear is Dream's Excuse" by Yanira Marimón
- POETRY: "Divided Equally" by Laura Ruiz Montes
- POETRY: "Brief Letter from Oscar Wilde to his Lover" by Alfredo Zaldívar
- POETRY: Five Poems by Carlos Pintado
- FICTION: "Dead Horse" by Raúl Flores Iriarte
- FICTION: "Nazi" by Raúl Flores Iriarte
- FICTION: "Bienvenido, Señor Kerry" by Emerio Medina
- ESSAY: "Writing in Cuba in the Twenty-first Century" by Leonardo Padura
- "Composition of Place": A Conversation between Roberto Brodsky and José Kozer by Roberto Brodsky and José Kozer
- "Searching for Ways to Sacralize Desire": An Interview with Ana Clavel by Claudia Cavallín
- An Interview of Marta Aponte Alsina by Juan Carlos López
- "The Country of Books: An Interview with Marisol Schulz" by Jorge Pérez
- Los días arqueados by Luis Eduardo Barraza
- Via Corporis by Pura López Colomé
- Pessoa múltiple: antología bilingue by Jerónimo Pizarro and Nicolás Barbosa
- La materia sensible: Antología personal by Claudia Masin
- Only the Road / Solo el camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry by Margaret Randall
- Nuevo hotel de las nostalgias by Óscar Hahn
- The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems by Natalia Toledo
- Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli
- Tacos altos by Federico Jeanmaire
- Sara by Sergio Ramírez