From El canto y la piedra
ASPHODELS (DAY LILIES)
The light, though now tenuous,
is enough to see the faces of some of the regulars.
All are retirees from the great now-dissolved unions,
some others were mercenaries
or illustrious combatants of forgotten guerrilla forces.
The beer is warm and the jukebox
doesn't have much variety.
When I come through the door
bearing the unmistakeable mark of the lonesome man,
the barman already knows what I'm going to order.
Nobody dares to sit down beside me.
We argued for almost an hour on the phone and you hung up on me when I was in the middle of a sentence. The words have remained on tenterhooks, just like me, I who can't dare to dial your number again. I've gone out in search of somewhere to unleash this rage, somewhere to clear the mist that darkens my face. I enter the second floor of some dark dive, mixing in among the bodies which eddy to the rhythm of a drum that sets the cadence of this battle. The band's playing a song I can't manage to recognize, three hard chords that repeat again and again, again and again. At last I understand it: the song's chorus is the same sentence you didn't let me finish speaking. At last I join this dance of satyrs and Bacchantes, all of us beginning to move to the beat of that song.
I've touched your body to know that I exist.
That was no minor thing.
And now that you're not here
it's harder for me to know where I'm going,
where this body stained with thick loneliness
will come to rest.
There is no calamity,
just a wandering among ruins,
not recognizing oneself in others,
Today I've taken the day off,
There's always someone else who does my job.
So I play cards with the old Boatman
and the two lawyers who are the sons of Europa.
The wine we drink tastes a bit vinegary.
I tell Charon, as I do every year,
that I must not get used to your leaving.
Minos and Rhadamanthus,
who ages ago were already named
magistrates of the supreme court,
are beating us this round.
Charon and I think
that they're in cahoots and are cheating.
We don't bet much:
a few coins,
What you keep of me
are those words that make you come back.
They germinate in every thought
and in every simple act
by which you inhabit the world.
So that when you make
something spring forth
with that gift you also give it death.
You cultivate the flowers of forgetting and remembering
in the house's garden.
You slide your hand over the day's face
to calm its fever.
You brought new words
and you weave a song that my mouth repeats.
You learned to read my face in shadow
and to decipher the shadows of my body.
You have never left,
you find yourself trapped in my memory.
INVOCATION OF VENUS
All the gifts of Love are flame.
A legacy that can establish a solid home,
or consume it from the very foundations.
Three months have passed since you've left
and I continue preparing
two cups of coffee every morning.
The one you won't drink I always finish myself.
Three months have passed and for two weeks now
my clothes are all dirty,
rubbish is piling up everywhere,
and old Cerberus, who is almost blind,
has started barking at me when I come home.
Three months and two cups of coffee
is the only reasonable accounting
I can give you today.
This hound who protects our home is not a good guard.
He slobbers on all the living room furniture
and marks territories that don't belong to him.
I hear his deep howls from far away
and they make me trace my steps back toward the street.
This beast doesn't sleep,
at dawn he's whimpering a dark threnody.
At night he searches for warmth and scratches at my chest,
but only founds there an iceberg about to collapse.
This animal waits for you.
In the afternoons, he barks for you until night falls.
The entire room has become luminously dark,
I've dreamed of you,
very slowly you tell me: at last I'm back.
SECOND INVOCATION TO APOLLO
In a poem everything is ordered like the bullets of a revolver.
First a word that fosters another,
another that sharpens its meaning,
one more like an axe cleaving
and the last:
a shot fired into the exact order of the lines.
Now I possess the thickest silence.
A lightning bolt drowses between my lips.
Translated by Lawrence Schimel
Mijaíl Lamas (Culiacán, Sinaloa, 1979) is a Mexican poet. He has collaborated with the journals and literary supplements Biblioteca de México, Este País, Laberinto, La Gaceta del Fondo de Cultura Económica, Literal, Luvina, Nexos, Pliego 16, and Tierra Adentro. His work is included in the anthologies Los límites acordados: ocho poetas jóvenes sinaloenses [The agreed-upon limits: eight young Sinaloan poets] (2000), 1979: Antología poética [1979: poetic anthology] (2006), La luz que va dando nombre [The light that goes giving names] (2007), and El vértigo de los aires: Poesía Latinoamericana (1974-1985) [The vertigo of the airs: Latin American poetry (1974-1985)] (2017). He has translated the poetry of Luis Vaz de Camões, Cesáreo Verde, José Régio, and Mario de Sá Carneiro, as well as the prose of Carlos Drummond de Andrade.
Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) is a full-time author, writing in both Spanish and English, who has published over one hundred books in a wide range of genres, from LGBT to poetry to children’s literature. His work has been published in Basque, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Turkish, and Ukrainian translations. He is also a prolific literary translator. He lives in Madrid, Spain and New York City.
LALT No. 6 goes from the gripping true stories of literary journalism to the strange worlds of fantastic short stories and graphic literature. We highlight chronicles by Colombian journalist Alberto Salcedo Ramos, speculative fiction in a dossier curated by Mexican writer Alberto Chimal, and Yucatec Maya poetry and prose in our ongoing Indigenous Literature series.
Table of Contents
- CHRONICLE: "The Town that Survived a Massacre to the Sound of Bagpipes" by Alberto Salcedo Ramos
- CHRONICLE: "Macondo in the Soul" by Alberto Salcedo Ramos
- INTERVIEW: Alberto Salcedo Ramos: Popular Culture, the Colombian Chronicle, and North American Journalism: A Conversation with Luvia Estrella Morales Rodríguez
- ESSAY: "On Latin American Speculative Fiction" by Alberto Chimal
- FICTION: "Acceptance Speech of Romualdo Sánchez Galarraga for the National Prize for Literature of the Integrated Pan-Caribbean Republic (Year 2098)" by Yoss
- FICTION: "Bonsai" by Martín Felipe Castagnet
- FICTION: "Jagged Rage" by Javier González Cárdenas
- FICTION: "The Eye" by Lilana Colanzi
- FICTION: "They Will Dream in the Garden" by Gabriela Damián Miravete
- ESSAY: "Ecuadorian Science Fiction in a Latin American Context" by Iván Rodrigo Mendizábal
- ESSAY: "Life Through Graphics: Power Paola's Graphic Novels" by Iván Pérez Zayas
- ESSAY: "Verboiconic Literature in Argentina Nearing the Third Decade of the 21st Century" by Jorge Claudio Morhain
- ESSAY: "Tactics of Luchadoras: The 'Alma' [Soul] of Ciudad Juárez" by Esther Claudio
- INTERVIEW: Two Brazilian Graphic Novelists: Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon: A Conversation with Patrícia Lino
- INTERVIEW: Bernardo Fernández (Bef): "You can build a complete universe with just a sheet of paper and ink": A Conversation with Radmila Stefkova
- Lucas García París: “Outside of narrative, you don’t exist": A Conversation with Claudia Cavallín
- Mhoris eMm: "When queerness is normalized, something else will appear to destabilize it": A Conversation with Martin Ward
- Eduardo Halfon: Identity Under Construction: A Conversation with Aurelio Auseré Abarca and Luis Miguel Estrada Orozco
- POETRY: "Memories" by Gerardo Can Pat
- POETRY: Four Poems by Briceida Cuevas Cob
- FICTION: From U k’a’ajsajil u ts’u’ noj k’áax / Recuerdos del corazón de la montaña by Ana Patricia Martínez Huchim
- FICTION: From T’ambilák men tunk’ulilo’ob / El llamado de los tunk’ules by Marisol Ceh Moo
- POETRY: Two Poems by Feliciano Sánchez Chan
- FICTION: From Lajump’eel maaya tzikbalo’ob / Diez relatos mayas by Miguel Ángel May May
- FICTION: From U yóok’otilo’ob áak’ab / Danzas de la noche by Isaac Esau Carrillo Can
- "Readings from the Diaspora: A Selection of Recent Venezuelan Poetry" by Néstor Mendoza
- Two Poems by Víctor Manuel Pinto
- Three Poems by Graciela Yáñez Vicentini
- Two Poems by Ania Varez
- Two Poems by Robert Rincón
- Two Poems by Cristina Gutiérrez Leal
- Two Poems by Adalber Salas Hernández
- Two Poems by Luis Eduardo Barraza
- "My Father's Black Motorcycle" by Jesús Montoya
- Two Poems by Valenthina Fuentes Meleán
- Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum-Security Detention by Seth Michelson
- Caja de fractales by Luis Othoniel Rosa
- De viaje por Europa del Este by Gabriel García Márquez
- Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz
- Mala suerte de mi vida by Z. Ferro
- La invención de la novela contemporánea: tributo a Mario Vargas Llosa by Gladys Flores Heredia
- Extrañeza by Rodrigo Arriagada-Zubieta
- Estrategias de combate by E.S. Ortiz González
- Libro de conjuros by Emiliano Orlante