Poems from Tlalkatsajtsilistle/Ritual of the Forgotten

 

Nahuatl poet Martín [Jacinto Meza} Tonalmeyotl.

Tokatsitsintin

Kamaniantika, nokineke matinejnemikan san tajuamej.

Tla tikimixtemouaj okseke ojtin kijtosnekis,
kampa tajuamej tikalakej ipan okseke tlanemililtin
kan tikimixmatiskej okseke tlakamej iuan okseke siuamej,
in tlamantle, techpaleuis pampa maka matelkauakan.

Tla san tajuamej tinejnemej, uelis uejka tasiskej.
Onixpoliue in ojtsintle kuak se sanka seka yo
kampa tokatsitsintin tla kitaj xok yaka chante,
kinkajteuaj sanka seka innakatekatsaualuan ijtik on kaltsitsintin.

Uelis tsiaskej uejka maske kineke oksejpa matiuajlakan.
Maka matikinkauilikan san yajuamej mamikikan tokniuan
kampa yajuamej inka inchikaualis,
nookintlapojkej yankuikej ikxiojtin,
ojtin kanka aman, tojuitsiaj. 

 

Spiders

Sometimes, we have to walk alone.

Going in search of new trails may mean
entwining ourselves with other forms of life;
that’s why getting to know different men and women 
can be fulfilling for one’s memory.

Alone, it is possible to arrive at the infinite.
But this eternity is lost when there’s no way back
since spiders, in the absence of movement,
leave their homes and flee their own web.

It is necessary to go, and return.
Not letting others die is also human.
Since with their lives, some 
open new pathways: 
shortcuts through which today, we travel. 

 

Ye youej

Sesentemej ye yajtiuej. 
Youej uejka kontemoskej chikaualistle.
Chikaualistle kijtosneke, 
kualtsin chantiskej ken nochipa ye chantinej. 

Inkalijtik tokniuan yokalakiko on koxkuajle, 
amo ken okintlajtlajtouilijkej,
amo ken okinemilijkej kitaskej,
kijtouaj tej kampa ipan ojtin 
sa titlamakasis tonkisas
kampa mojmostla tsajtsiua, poliuilo.

Ipan ojtin, ye miyak kistinemej tlakamej
inka inteposuan, sa xoxotlatinemej inxijlan.
Telpochkokonej melauak kinekej ijkon kistinemiskej
kuajkon tej seke tajtin, kinkixtsiaj inkoneuan.

Kijtouaj kampa kuak on tepostin chijchaj,
melauak ueye tetlatsiaj inka inkualaktsin. 

Se ueuentsin kijtoua kampa on tlitsintle
niman kualaktle amo tlanemiliaj, maske tej,
kintlakuijkuilia uan san telpokakokonej
kampa yajuamej tej ken kojxoxoktin
uan sese ixtlapanej niman uejkauej tlatlaj,
uan tla xuelej tlatlaj, kuajkon melauak pokisaj
niman tla poliuej xuejka komonextsiaj.
Uan ye ueuentsitsintin xoktepaleuijkej,
tla uetsej, kuajnokauiliaj, xok notelketsaj,
xok kinekej nemiskej.
Kuajkon tej kintlakuijkuiliaj uan telpokakokonej,
kokonej uan tlaixnamikiskej,
uan ueliskej melauak kimiktiskej
san akinon kinyakapan tsatsakuilia.

Ye youej kampa xkinekej makimajokuikan,
tla okimajokej, kuajkon tej kineke tlajtlajkuijkuiliskej
tla kuaskej se bala inmixkuatipan noso tla nemiskej,
tla nemej kuajkon tej
kineke temiktiskej oke yajuamej.

Sesentemej ye yajtiuej,
kinkajteuaj ojtsitsintin sa yajuamej,
kinkajteuaj inkaltsitsiuan niman intajtsitsiuan
uan ixtenchojchokaj niman kinemiliaj: ¡amo xuiya nokonej!
kema oksejpa tlanemiliaj niman kijtouaj: ¡maijke tej xuiya!

 

Migrants

They leave one by one,
distance guiding them in search of life.
For them, life means living in their own way,
which is why the search continues.

An abyss has come to their doorsteps,
not in the way they’ve been told 
but in a way lived by the eyes
because, it seems, 
only fear walks the streets.
Fear, and screams coming from nowhere.

In the streets, the style is to walk
with something shiny at the waist.
The youngest ones are big fans of this,
and, that’s why some people take their children from their homes.

They say when the metal spits,
it burns everything with acid saliva.   

An old man in the town says they don’t think, 
the fire and the spit; still,
it’s the youngest who end up as their recruits;
those tender trees 
that split easily and take longer to burn.
And if not, at least they give off a bunch of smoke,
making them easy to find.
Old men are of no use:
they drop to the ground before long,
refusing to live; it’s all the same to them.
That’s why they choose the tenderest ones,
training their bold hands  
to set fire to anyone 
they come across.

Migrants leave because if they get picked up
they’re forced to make a choice: a bullet, or life.
But not just any life;
one that will cost other lives.
They set off one by one,
leaving the streets to themselves,
the houses by themselves and their parents, alone
in tears, shedding a “please—don’t go
but, better—just leave.”

 

I

Mekapapalotsintle 
xuiya kanka otiualej,
xkimitate moxochiuan uan toktokej.
Xkisa ajakaichpokatsin,
xuiya ipan momekatlal.

 

I

Black messenger, 
take the road you’ve deserted,
go back to see your flowers buried.
Leave this place, daughter of the wind,
go back to the grave of flight.

 

Amo xchiua

Amo xkisa ,
amo xmotlalo,
amo xtlanemile.
In ikxiojtin kimpiyaj intlapijpixkauan
uan ijtokaj tlakaajakamej,
siuakojkoltsitsintin
niman xochikokonej.

Amo xchoka, 
amo xuetska,
amo xmijyote.
Kampa tla timijyotsia poliuis tlaltipaktle,
tlaltipaktle kan chantej toniuan uan tlachistokej,
tlaltipaktle uan ijkatok ipan se miktlaltipak.

Amo xtlanemile, 
amo xisteuetska,
yamok xtlajkuilo, 
xkinkauile san noyajuamej matlajtokan tonaltsitsintin. 

 

Recommendation

Do not go out,
don’t speak, 
don’t think.
On the paths you take are spies,
called men-wind
women-grandmothers
and children-flowers.

Do not cry,
don’t laugh,
don’t breathe.
If you breathe it will be lost, this seeming-world
of the living,
built over a land of the dead.

Do not think,
do not smile,
stop your writing:
let the present speak for itself.

 

Intajtsitsiuan ayotsitsintin no uelej patlanej

Uelej patlanej inkuatipan sokitlalkontin
inkuatipan miktlalkontin
Uelej patlanej inkuatipan tepossayolimej
Ipan ojtin techichikuitoltikej niman xalyojkej
Uelej kinyekana miyakej ayotsitsintin 
Chikauak oyouaj kampa xaka najnauate
Kitekotonaj on tlatsakuajle kampa nemej
on tekapotschichetsopilomej uan kamelauak texipaltikej

Intajtsitsiuan ayotsitsintin no kimpiyaj
inmastlakapaluan
Inmastlakapaluan uan amo kaman siouej
Inmastlakapaluan uan melauak yolchikajkej 
niman tlamachaj ika tonajle niman ika yeuajle

Intajtsitsiuan ayotsitsintin no uelej nejnemej
Nejnemej ixtlapojtiuej
nejnemej ixkualantiuej
maske tej nochojchokaj
ueye kinajmanchiua on uitstsintle
uan tlalaktok tlatlajko inyolo

Intajtsitsiuan ayotsitsintin tlakuiteuaj
Tlakuiteuaj kampa kitlasojtlaj inyesyojtsin
kampa kintlasojtla insiuatsitsiuan
kampa kintlasojtlaj inkoneuan
Amo kinokauiliaj inka manomapojpouakan
intlaluayotsitsiuan 

Intajtsitsiuan ayotsitsintin no melauak apismikej 
Kinekisiaj kiminextisiaj inkonetsitsiuan
Kinekisiaj kinkitskisiaj, kintenkuasiaj, kinnapalosiaj
Ipal on tlamantle tej amo nokauaj, kintemouaj 
niman kintemouaj ipan inauiuilakachuan on ueyeatl 
atlanelouaj ipan inayeualuan on tetojtomaktikej
tsopilokotsmatiltin
uan xtla kimatej, uan amo itla kinkokoua

Intajtsitsiuan ayotsitsintin no omesempoaltin iuan yeimej
ome sempoaltin iuan yeye tlakamej uan nomateketsaj
ome sempoaltin iuan yeye tlakamej uan tsajtsej ika yekpakilistle
ome sempoajle iuan yeye
ome sempoajle iuan yeye 
ome sempoajle iuan yeye… 

 

The Parents of Turtles Also Know How to Fly 

To fly over swamps
and hidden mass graves
To fly beyond the noise of the iron flies
Fly over highways, winding and sand-covered
To steer thousands of turtles
To shatter and mock the silence
To tear down the fences 
of hungry buzzard-dogs. 

The parents of turtles also have wings
Wings of tireless breath
Wings of strength to survive
the waiting, under the days and nights.

The parents of turtles also know how to walk
To walk with a head held high
with a look full of rage 
in spite of the tears
in spite of the thorn
lodged in the core of their heart.

The parents of turtles also know how to fight,
To fight for their blood
for their wives
for their children 
To defend human dignity 
at its roots    
The parents of turtles are also hungry
Hungry to find their children 
Hungry to touch and kiss them, to hold them, to be able
to yell with them, to create echoes 
That’s why they swim and keep swimming
across whirling oceans 
across lakes of penguins fat
and inhuman 
The parents of turtles are also forty-three 
forty-three fists in the air
forty-three screams of hope 
cuarenta y tres
cuarenta y tres
cuarenta y tres… 

Translated by Whitney DeVos

Languages

Mario Bellatin
Number 13

In our thirteenth issue, we feature two innovative, hard-to-define figures of Latin American letters: from the present, Mexican writer Mario Bellatin, and from the past, Chilean writer Juan Emar. Together with these authors, we highlight Latin American theatre for the first time with a script by Ramón Griffero, Nahuatl-language poetry by Martín Tonalmeyotl, plus interviews, book reviews, exclusive previews, and more from writers including Rosario Castellanos, César Aira, and Salgado Maranhão.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Mario Bellatin

Dossier: Juan Emar

Interviews

Fiction

Brazilian Literature

Indigenous Literature

Theatre

Poetry

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

Nota Bene