Little Balls of Mercury
to Susana Cerdá
When passion gets strong, so strong
Heaven cocks its trigger
And then we’re done for
My sweet, sweetheart.
It would be better, perhaps, for us…
Oh no, it would be no better for us!
(Except the thrill of perishing in the attempt)
Because the issue is our poppycock, on purpose.
Of course: there is no issue.
Although (never put although)
Why is there no issue?
Don’t ask me, sweetheart
I’m a little sick now of your questions.
I love you the same in the heat of our chats
But, then we don’t understand each other
I prefer your nunnish feet over the mouth
“Of one who cannot think”
Electrifying nunnish feet
Each of your beautiful thoughts
I will chuck into the bin
Because I’ll always be by your side
Millions of sides
Just one woman
Where are you, my bird of paradise?
A vague urge to insert the well-worn
penis stunned into the shiny vaginal toy
and then adore the heavenly vault.
The child-Greeks were coming, with plague but no fault.
They lit the fire and spat out the thorns,
not in a hotel room, not in this bolt-
hole, that smells of apple and empty porn-
shows. For the loveliest, for her,
The best looker,
The greatest joy,
Helen, Helen of Troy,
Mother of God and prima donna.
The ecstasy and the dose and the rhyme
And the class of a self-absorbed skunk
That anyway I’ll have to give tomorrow in spite of the jaw.
I’d like to be a Jew
And crafty and transsexual like the Spirit,
And not this old jay, this sorethumb Bardot,
Who reeks of horror but wears Cupid’s garb.
Wrapped up in an apocalyptic peace,1
the guy looked at the kitchen,
the gas hobs, the burning flame:
the kitchen wall-papered certainly
with pages or spreads
from newspapers and magazines.
He didn’t deserve the morning star,
that’s for sure, and was not (not even)
the first-born son of Death.
Life passed by like a lake.
Its shores tense, its centre silent.
Water blind, poor and fenced in.
The one who only yesterday would say2
drank mate now endlessly
and read vampire novels.
Television and pharmaceuticals: perfection
turned into longing.
Love will be reborn with the next war.
And in the blink of an eye without a blink,
with a duff God who’s always slow,
then he’ll lean on his crutches
and open his beak like a gull
and tear down the gates of heaven,
the waiting room of hell.
Translated by Ben Bollig
1Based on a draft translation by Eugenia Santana Goitia.
2Translation of Rubén Darío by Carlos F. Grigsby.
In our August 2020 issue, we celebrate the work of women writers and translators in honor of Women in Translation Month, highlighting the work of Victoria de Stefano, Krina Ber, Rowena Hill, and Margara Russotto—four women united by the coincidence of emigrating to Venezuela and becoming renowned writers in Spanish. We also pay homage to a giant of Latin American letters, Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill, on the tenth anniversary of his passing, and we highlight the work of Mé’pháá writer Hubert Matiúwàa in our Indigenous Literature section. This #WITMonth issue is rounded out with exclusive previews of upcoming books from women translators and an interview with translator Annie McDermott, plus poetry, fiction, interviews, and reviews of fascinating new releases from across Latin America.
Cover Photo: Grupo Mondongo