Two Poems

Venezuelan poet Víctor Manuel Pinto.

Apprentice

I wanted to be a man,
a good man
who understood my Father
and his mixing of earth
with our flesh.

And with my brothers I was obedience,
I served at the rites and sacrifices
until it came to this…
How was it that their scales smelled?

And I stretched my neck with a caress,
and I became a heron,
a beautiful heron
descended from the birds of the beginning.

And what despair there is in all of this
Father,
and how far away, now,
is my head from my heart.

(from Caravana [Caravan], 2010)


Flesh

The clouds are the warning of the lie:

Shapes of ice and water on high
and in the glass of a man
who looks at the floor
and at those shapes he searches for above
and what was true within him coming apart.

Cloud sent rolling by the wind,
you are light with the pines of the mountain,
and never the same: lying cloud.

The name I gave your shapes
came to my left eye,
it is good,
I knew it when I covered
half my face with your hand.

-I must not look at the clouds
-I must not look at the clouds

Nothing holds up
that which looks like smoke.

(from Quieto [Still], 2014)

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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