Two Poems

Venezuelan poet Robert Rincón.

They taught me to beg
with my hands together
and to receive with them open
every day and every night

the fist that forms a spike
snatches what is forged in grace

to pause and raise my hands
in praise to the dream?

self-deceit is a school
where I excel in grades
and my hands grow tired of threshing the wheat

with desires as teachers
and a soul that doesn’t even dare
for its whole body to crawl

I could take the bread
as path and giving as prayer

I keep covering my face
every day and every night

 

Breath

to hold tight to these frets
move the fingers to the chest
and hit a chord
that stops me and sees my body
melodious

but to sleep in a scroll
that is written
with the doubts of a man
whom life passes by
sealing the pact that the Name
obliges

perhaps irresponsible
as a brother

when I awake
may a ballad take me
to the heartbeat that harmonizes
everything

(from Emaús y el vientre de arena [Emmaus and the belly of sand], 2016)

Translated by Arthur Dixon

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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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