Five Poems from the Unpublished Book neverí flash*
the lotuses float silent down the riverbank
between the water and the sky
the light in flames
melting the iguana’s eye
the cormorant descends to the depths of the sick river
no one knows of his dealings with the abyss:
if he fishes for another furtive solitude:
a new trembling to fade into the unhealthy elements
among lilies and sewers
the living water maneuvers through all the poisons
all the decoys
until it reaches pure salt in the belly of the sea
with the pure sun at the edge of the horizon
there is a fever trembling in the glare
there is a boiling of hearts sated with sinking:
and occasional fleeting floatings
there is a fervor of mouths and seeds:
tacit sparks, abandoned
in the breeze of the day
always without words
turtledove footprints on the sand
meagre shadows sown by the midday sun
signs and more signs…
but does the mystery end?
* “Neverí” is the popular name of a river in the northeastern watershed of Venezuela. It begins in the Turimiquire hills of Sucre state and flows into the Caribbean bay of Pozuelos, running more than 110 kilometers and passing through the city of Barcelona, capital of Anzoátegui state. Anyone who’s interested can find it at the following coordinates: latitude 10° 10' 30" north, longitude 64° 43' 30" west.
Translated by Arthur Dixon
Josu Landa has worked as a professor of philosophy in the Department of Philosophy of UNAM since 1988. Among his works of literary theory are Poética (2002), Canon city (2010), and the collections Tanteos (2009) and Ensayes (2014). His works on ethics include De archivos muertos y parques humanos en el planeta de los nimios (1999) and Éticas de crisis: cinismo, epicureísmo, estoicismo (2012). Among his verse collections are Treno a la mujer que se fue con el tiempo (1996), Estros (2006), and Extinciones (2012 and 2014). His most recent books are Anafábulas (2013 and 2014) and La balada de Cioran y otras exhalaciones (2016). He has translated Piedra de sol by Octavio Paz and Muerte sin fin by José Gorostiza to Basque. For his creative work, he was awarded the Premio Carlos Pellicer de Poesía in 1996 and the Orden Andrés Bello in 1997. He has received a grant from the DAAD in Germany, and has participated on various occasions in Mexico's Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte.
Arthur Malcolm Dixon is co-founder, lead translator, and Managing Editor of Latin American Literature Today. He has translated the novels Immigration: The Contest by Carlos Gámez Pérez and There Are Not So Many Stars by Isaí Moreno (Katakana Editores), as well as the verse collection Intensive Care by Arturo Gutiérrez Plaza (Alliteratïon). He also works as a community interpreter in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.
The fourth issue of LALT highlights underrepresented but deserving voices from across Latin America, with a focus on women writers as well as special sections dedicated to genre-bending science fiction, indigenous-language poetry and prose, and the essential relationship between author and translator.