A Place of Precariousness
On the desk
sits a picture of my excised uterus,
a mess that says so little
about its fibers, the properties.
I’ve tried to spend time with the image every afternoon,
convincing myself that this sacrificial lump
was once attached to my belly.
Its smooth, glistening surface
slipped away in a few short hours of surgery.
Hereafter, there will be a gentleness.
I still feel twinges in my abdomen,
fatigue when I slow down.
It’s hard to lash out against certain outcomes:
wounds aren’t dikes,
they don’t cradle,
Maybe I’ll reproduce the image on a glossy postcard
and give it away to my friends.
On the back I’ll write:
“pyriform uterine body of 7 x 6 centimeters,
in which fibromatosis was diagnosed
adenomyosis and proliferative endometrium,
extracted from Jacqueline Goldberg,
on Tuesday February 21 of the year 2006.”
Let it be seen.
The compliant stubble matters to me.
It’s an essential portrait,
a port of origin without end.
My old maw.
State of Exile
There is a string of emancipated verbs, without sky.
Everything is mine. The pestilent and lightweight things.
I kneaded it all, bit it all, cradled it.
Mine are the inaccuracies,
the mud doesn’t subside,
threads of blood coagulate the home.
Mine is whatever despoils,
sap of one greedy afternoon,
crumbling bones in the womb.
I carry minutiae to my disgust, to my exile.
The losses won’t pull the evil out of me,
they won’t make me generous or punctual.
If I go I will carry everything,
assemble fear in another port,
sully myself for new hope.
The Dying Man Summons Us
the dying man summons us,
to recapitulate his life
forced as he is
to breathe for himself until the end
his confession is a second hand one
lacks the will
to conceal certain loyalties
in the vastness of farewells
truth is always a scandal
Translated by Consuelo Méndez, with William Blair
Jacqueline Goldberg. Born in Venezuela (1966). Poet, fiction writer, essayist, editor and author of children's books and testimonials. PhD in Social Sciences and Bachelor’s degree in Literature. She is the author of 7 books of fiction and nonfiction, 11 children’s books, 2 novels, and 21 volumes of poetry. Her poetry has been published and translated into anthologies in 15 countries. In 2018 she participated in the Fall Residence of the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. Her novel Las horas claras [The clear hours] received the 2012 prize of the Fundación para la Cultura Urbana, was the Venezuelan Booksellers’ Book of the Year, a finalist for the Critic’s Award Novel for 2013, and was re-published in Mexico in 2018.
Consuelo Méndez (Caracas, 1952) is a retired university level art professor at the former Institute of Superior Studies of Fine Arts Armando Reverón, now University of the Arts, UNEARTES, in the area of Experimental Drawing, Body Art and Performance. In Venezuela, she has been awarded prizes for her artwork in the Michelena National Show (1981, 1983), the Municipal Art Prize of Caracas (1984), the Graphic Biennal of Maracaibo (1990), and at the Miniature Graphics Competition TAGA (1982, 1990, 2004). She has participated in numerous exhibitions in countries like South Korea, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Colombia, the United States, Cuba, México, Poland, and Belgium. She researches the plastic and visual arts: painting, drawing, photography, graphic arts, at the same time demonstrating special interests in bookmaking and works on paper. The relationship between the body and the visual arts has become more and more relevant in her personal expression and her teaching, opening the way to her creative research. Also, she has begun to develop a line of work in art therapy. She belongs to the Pielforma Group, a laboratory experience in body-art research.
William Blair is formerly a hand and microsurgeon who, during his academic career, published over 200 research papers, book chapters, and abstracts, including the textbook Techniques in Hand Surgery. He has participated in the International Writing Program’s Translation Workshop, and is a graduate of the MFA in Literary Translation program at the University of Iowa. He has translated María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira’s work extensively. Co-translated and published works include two books of poetry by Vaz Ferreira, Lichen by the Uruguayan poet Luis Bravo, and Great Vilas by the Spanish poet and novelist Manuel Vilas. Pending publications include two book-length projects authored by Vilas. Blair founded Song Bridge Press in 2013 to promote Spanish language literature in translation, and to nurture emerging poets and translators.
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.