Four Poems

Maya poet Briceida Cuevas Cob. Photo: Israel Gutiérrez Robles.

IV

Box
sak,
k’an,
chukuá,
jonjon box ti sak.
Máalix pek’,
náachil pek’.
Leili júntul u puksík’aloob.
Tech tune
tak u chen janal kastlan pek’ka manik.
Tech tune
ka chen jósil tak xínxinbal ti k’íuik.
Tech tune
ka takchatik máalix pek’ yétel a p’ek.
Tech tune
bey a uol tu man ta pach tiólal le bak má tan a puliktío.
Má a uójel ua le pek’a
kímil ku man tu pach a bákel.

 

IV

Black,
White,
Yellow,
brown,
dappled.
Stray dog,
stranger dog.
They have the same heart.
But you
only buy food for the purebred dog.
But you
even take him for a walk on the square.
So you
kick the stray dog with scorn.
You
think he walks behind you for the bone you don’t throw him.
You don’t know that this dog
is death walking behind your bones.

 

V

Ku yálale pek’e ku yok’ol chíbal ken u yil u k’asil baal.

Sajkilé tu póch’il,
tu ch’in túnich tí ek’joch’énil.
Ak’abe tu yok’ol chíbal.
Sajkilé tu dzon ich ek’joch’énil,
ok’ol chíbale xexet’paj yétel u chun u nak’ ak’áb.

Lela’

juntul uínik jak’án u yol u ch’uk k’ak’ ichoob tí ek’joch’énil.

U lak’o,
júntul pek’ tu tzikbaltik u muk’yaj ti ek’oob.

 

V

They say the dog howls when he sees the devil.

Fear insults,
he throws stones in the darkness.
The night howls.
Fear fires in the darkness,
the howl is destroyed with the belly of the night.
This
is a man terrified by the red fire of some eyes in the darkness.
The other,
a dog who tells the stars of his suffering.

 

VI

¿Máax ku tich’ik chuchul uaj yétel u xdzik k’ab,
u dzókole,
ku jósik u xnoj k’ab u tial u jadz?

Pek’ má ta p’atik a yúmil,
Pek’ má ta chíik a yúmil,
Pek’ a yama a yúmil:
majant a uak’ti uínik,
tiólal u choj xan u k’a u chí,
ka u ch’ul luum,
ka u pak’, je bix teché, u náatil kuxtal.
Majant a uich ti uínik,

tiólal u pákat yétel a k’om ólal.
Majant a nej ti uínik
tiólal u bik’ibik’tik, yétel a kímak ólal.
kun alak ti: KS, KS, KS;
tiólal u tákik ichil u yok yétel a sútal,
kun alak ti: B’J, B’J, B’J.
Majant a ní ti uínik,
tiólal u yusnítik utz yan chen tu k’ab chichán pal.
Jálibe,
majant a dzaay tí uínik,
tiólal u chíik u túkul.

 

VI

Who is he who holds out the stale tortilla with his left hand
and then
raises his right hand to strike?

Dog, don’t you abandon your owner,
dog, don’t you bite your lord,
dog, you love your master:
lend your tongue to the man,
so the drool drips down him too,
so it wets the earth,
and sows, like you, the understanding of existence.
Lend your eyes to the man,
so he sees with your sadness.
Lend your tail to the man,
so he wags it with joy
when they call him: KS, KS, KS;
so he tucks it between his legs with your shame
when they tell him: B’J, B’J, B’J;
lend him your nose
so he sniffs the goodness that only exists in the hands of a child.
Lastly,
lend him your teeth
so he bites his own conscience.

 

IX

Yoonji xch’úpul pek’.
Dzok u yálankal.
Tu síaj mejen malix pek’oob,
u mejen pek’oob laj t’ot’oob ti ich kaj.
Ka jop’ x-al pek’ u yok’ol auat ti yam bejoob tadz ák’ab.
Ka chakchaj u yich,
jálibe ka ch’apachtabi,
mi tuklaj dzu ch’áik k’asil,
bálike,
letíe kim u yojli maakoob chokochaj u póloob.

 

IX

The bitch got pregnant.
She had her litter.
She birthed stray puppies,
puppies that were spread out through the village.
And the mother bitch set about howling down the alleys every night.
Her eyes got red
and she was chased away,
maybe they thought she had rabies,
nonetheless,
she died knowing that people were the ones who had lost their minds.

Translated by Arthur Dixon

From the verse collection U yok’ol auat pek’ ti kuxtal pek’ / El quejido del perro en su existencia [The growl of the dog in its existence]

Languages

LALT No. 6
Number 6

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. 

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