Three Poems

 

Editor's Note: We are happy to feature these poems by Salgado Maranhão, inspired by works by American painter Will Barnet, along with the paintings to which they refer. All paintings ©Will Barnet Foundation, courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York. Click here to read in the original Portuguese.

 

Janus and the White Vertebra, 1955, ©Will Barnet Foundation.

 

Beneath the Gaze of Will Barnet
(Janus and the White Vertebra, 1955)    
            

From somewhere
come colors
spreading
          through vertebrae,

coagulating clots
of light,
         though there is no light
near by.

Figures take shape
like limbs
             searching for each other

but, in fact,
                they are mere gestures
meeting in the distance.

Or perhaps secret cries
that cannot be heard,
much like our being
which, the more it reveals itself,
the less it can be seen.

 

Dialogue in Green, 1968, ©Will Barnet Foundation.

 

Beneath the Gaze of Will Barnet
(Dialogue in Green, 1968)            

They are knit of the same
flesh
         of absence, even
when—present—
             they flow together.

For they are dressed
in the skins
               of the night.

(an atavistic heritage
where guilt has no
face and where one plays chess
with nothingness)

Ah,
if I could only lash
their fears,
               underscore
their inmost cells
exactly where nothing ever will be said.

but I am broken
into many,
          subtracted
          from the absence of myself.

 

Idle Hands, 1935, ©Will Barnet Foundation.

 

Beneath the Gaze of Will Barnet
(Idle Hands, 1935)                        

Behold a century
                crushed
amongst its colors; behold

a dream stitched
in flames:
             a solitary hand

grinding down the pigments
of a time that aches
in our blood.

There was a flash of lightning
tearing the law;

a night stripped bare
in the eyes of the dreamer.

A dizzying flight
to make the legend sweet:

a bee drowning
in its own honey.

Translated by Alexis Levitin

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