Nocturne in the hospital
To César Panza
Here comes the night
slowly, in grey
by a storm within
rising moon in Cancer
and Mars at the tides
my blood goes
up to the heart
of the smooth and eternal
vigil of insomnia
A drunken fish swims in the wine
it rides over the crystals
of the written-wreck
from the end of the days
both in desired heaven and earth
There will be no more dawns
nor cockerels' crowing
all alone, with me and the clumsy hands
The awry shades of prostration
and the wheel chair.
The dear deceased
bereaved and defunct that you loved
they live sitting in the corner of the bed
They count ceaseless
their impossible journey
They say they can't live underground
And cannot sleep in peace
They lean over our chest
to hear this song
which doesn't stop beating
with the living
delaying their trip.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.
Saint Teresa of Jesus
One day, one night, two nights
that expand into a railroad with no stations
truth possesses and subdues us
at the same time, it makes us his own and out of others
with invisible knots and ties, mirrors of the same
ashes waiting for the rain
Unseen forests listen to God
we surmise ourselves in the offered winter air
strong and fragile bodies that can vanish
in the instant of that flame balanced on the ancient threads
of a clean weft that welcomes us,
needing a tear down and mending on our wounds
From time to time
we close our eyes with our hearts
like the coming back to the water of the thirsty
who fears the blow of untruth
Of what you hold, nothing more, nothing less
those pleasures imagined since the first day
offered in my passage by your side.
Translated by César Panza
Julio C. Bolívar is an writer and independent editor. He is the author, among other books, of Las identidades cinéticas (2000), El libro de Adrián: Antología (Maltiempo Editores, 2011), and Corazones de paso (2012). He also received the Premio de la Bienal José Rosa Acosta in Pampatar, Isla de Margarita in 2017 for his book Tocar la puerta. His latest book is Hay vida más allá de los polos (Conversación sobre otra Venezuela): Josu Landa/ Julio Bolívar (2019)
César Panza (Valencia, Venezuela, 1987) earned his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from the Universidad de Carabobo (UC). He is now a student in the Applied Mathematics Program of the same university, where he also teaches and researches. He is a poet, editor, and translator. He studied Philosophy at the Universidad Cehtral de Venezuela (UCV). He has translated poems by Aimé Césaire, Jacques Roumain, Eugène Guillevic, Aloysius Bertrand, Kenneth Rexroth, Wallace Stevens, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Wang Ping, Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, Charles Bernstein, Arthur Sze, George Oppen, and Michel Butor for online publications. He translated Bob Dylan’s Canciones 1962-1979 from the English (2017). His first book is Mercancías (2018). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Poesía, published from the Universidad de Carabobo.
In our sixteenth issue, we celebrate Mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf, who in 2020 became the first indigenous writer to receive Chile's National Prize for Literature. We also feature dossiers dedicated to the work of Andrés Neuman, Latin American literary criticism, and the Latin American essay, plus a bilingual selection of texts from Dispatches from the Republic of Letters: 50 Years of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature commemorating Gabriel García Márquez, the first Latin American author to win the prestigious Neustadt Prize.