Three Poems from Mbo Xtá rídà/Gente piel/Skin People

 

Mè'phàà writer Hubert Matiúwàa.

I

Nixmíí xtíñuù
mbámbá xùkú:
nixná mògò'
tsí mà'nè dxíyoò dùùn,
xkuni xtíin rí nixudaa inuu xùkú gòn',
ikhajngó marma'àn àkuììn
rí xó agu gòn' ñajun iduu rí mbro'on,
nixnáa xtíñuù gíñá ñò'òn,
rí magòò ma'gè inuu mikuíí
ná ma'ne ríyà'
jambàà rí kuíjè inuu numbaa.

 

I

They embroider
the clothing of every animal:
to the sheep
they give cotton
so it may be cloud's brother,
for the racoon, the name gòn'
and with the mask
they remind it that its eyes
are night's moon, 
the bird, they dress with the clothing of air
so it may paint in the sky
the roots of the earth.

 

II

Tsú'tsú' tsú', tsú' tsú' tsú',
na'duu àkuìin tsú'tsún,
nusian xùkú,
nakixíín, nùnì xingàá
rí majne gúkú ajngúùn.
Mbo Xtá rídà
nithaa xòwè:
—¡Phú jínà riga gù'wá ló',
xó jiná awúun daan janíí ná juwá ló'!
Nìkhá xòwè ná jùwá' a'gùán, 
nixsgráxii mijnè,
nè'nè nduwèe rí nijañun,
ikajngó nigoo nè'nè kuwèè
xtá ri'yuu agùún à'gùán
xkua'nii nikuxíí agù rí nà'nè mbita'à mikuíí.

 

II

Tsú'tsú' tsú',tsú' tsú' tsú'
sounds the drum of their heart
the animals dance,
skip and spin
to ripen their word.
The Xtá rídà
said to the Opossum,
“How dark the house is,
like the belly of a pot!” 
played dead,
stole their skin
He went to the stars,
and raised up the celestial night.

 

III

Nikha Xtá rídà ná iduu iya,
niyáxíi mijnè,
ndi'yoo rí paska ña'wun
ná gìdà' ajngóo gíñá,
niguguèè xtá tsùduù
ná kàmaa gà'kuì numbaa,
ne'ne xndú mijneè
xó gàá' tsí ngrigòò
ragáyúu inuu xùwán,
ídò narakaa dùùn ná nuxka xàbò.

 

III

They went to the spring,
gazed at their large ears
in which the wind's voice nested,
they touched their skin
to feel the pain of the earth,
hidden in the leaves
they curled up,
like the armadillo
that rolls up in the face of the dogs
as the hunt begins.

Translated by Elizabeth Susman Anguamea

The trilingual verse collection Mbo Xtá rídà/Gente piel/Skin People is available now from Ícaro Ediciones/Gusanos de la memoria.

 

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Fogwill in LALT
Number 15

In our August 2020 issue, we celebrate the work of women writers and translators in honor of Women in Translation Month, highlighting the work of Victoria de Stefano, Krina Ber, Rowena Hill, and Margara Russotto—four women united by the coincidence of emigrating to Venezuela and becoming renowned writers in Spanish. We also pay homage to a giant of Latin American letters, Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill, on the tenth anniversary of his passing, and we highlight the work of Mé’pháá writer Hubert Matiúwàa in our Indigenous Literature section. This #WITMonth issue is rounded out with exclusive previews of upcoming books from women translators and an interview with translator Annie McDermott, plus poetry, fiction, interviews, and reviews of fascinating new releases from across Latin America.

Cover Photo: Grupo Mondongo

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Fogwill

Four Venezuelan Women Writers

Fiction

Poetry

Essays

Chronicle

Interviews

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

Nota Bene