domingo, 7 de febrero de 2016

TANYA SHIRLEY [18.085] Poeta de Jamaica

Tanya Shirley

Nacida en 1976, en Jamaica, es profesora de literaturas ingleses en la Universidad del Caribe (University of the West Indies), situada en Mona, Jamaica. Su primer poemario, Ella que duerme con huesos (She Who Sleeps With Bones) fue publicado en 2009, y su último, titulado El detallista de plumas (The Merchant of Feathers), fue lanzado este enero pasado (2015).

Tanya Shirley teaches Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, USA. Her work has appeared in Small Axe and The Caribbean Writer, and she received an International Publication Prize from Atlanta Review in 2005. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and a past participant in Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops. Her debut collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones, was published in 2009, and The Merchant of Feathers has just come out (January 2015).

Cáncer (parte 1)

Es algo duro, mirar el hedor en su cara
cuando sabemos que él no pertenece
en la caverna de una mujer que crió rosas
y que trajo un árbol de mango todo el camino hasta aquí – de Jamaica –
por los vecinos que no podían permitirles viajar.

Luna, trozo de la luna, hija de Señorita Iris (chismosa de la aldea)
y de Señor Zackariah (el granjero),
deberías haber decir No al hombre de piel demasiado morena
que te pidió la mano en Infierno y Matrimonio.
Pero no podemos culpar a él este residuo de lágrimas enrolladas
que se tumba – tumoroso – sobre tu páncreas.
De veras: Le amabas, también amabas a sus otros niños, de “afuera”…

Mientras desenrollamos la sábana manchada, tirándola de ti,
Sonríes; pasas tus dedos hacia el pelo gris “ahi abajo”,
y tuerces las mechas como cuentos para antes de dormir que te arropas.
Te levantamos, te extendemos, te limpiamos, te empolvamos.
Ahora, en tu limpio, nuevo pañal, empiezas a roncar…

Cancer (Part 1)

It is hard staring stench in the face
when you know he doesn’t belong
in the cavern of a woman who reared roses
and brought a mango tree all the way from Jamaica
for the neighbours who couldn’t afford to travel.

Luna, slice of the moon, daughter of Miss Iris
the village gossip and Mass Zackariah the farmer,
you should have said ‘no’ to the blue-black man
who asked your hand in hell and marriage.
But we cannot blame him for this residue of balled-up tears
lying tumorous on your pancreas;
you loved him and his outside children.

As we roll the stained sheet from under you,
you smile, slide your fingers to the grey hairs down there,
twirl strands like stories tucking you in.
We lift and spread, wipe and powder.
In clean, new diapers, you snore off.

Mi amiga cristiana

Ella me dice que renunciará el acto de sexo – haciendo el amor – por la Cuaresma.

Porque: después de lo que sufrió nuestro Salvador, bien – es, por lo menos, algo ella puede hacer para probar su fe.

Entonces, está rezando que tenga la fortaleza de ánimo para guardar asegurado – encerrado – sus piernas; y ésto solo es su motivo de rezar.

Pensaba que cuarenta días, ay, que largo tiempo sería,
pues me dijo que Dios entenderá – fijo – si ella solo puede ser férrea durante un mes (no más).

Entiende que el sexo antes del matrimonio es inmoral,
y yo le pregunté: ¿Qué pasará al fin de ese mes?
Yo, cuando me he puesto a régimen una semana, pues en los días que siguen tengo que comer todo el alimento que encuentro en frente de mí – ¡todo lo que pueda “integrar” dentro de mi boca!

(Santo cielo, Dios quiera que ella no abre sus piernas como yo abro mi boca…)

Me dijo que lo que importa es el único mes de sacrificio
que será escrito en El Gran Libro…
Y si todo va según su plan,
el pecado será anulado
a causa de su sacrificio durando ese mes.

Le digo:
¡Qué agradable es, que hay tanta flexibilidad en el cristianismo!
y también, que La Biblia es el buenísimo libro de poesía.

Lo odia el hecho de mi sarcasmo,
pero a la larga sentiré mucho orgullo en ella
– si su hombre bonbón no decide vestir su camisa roja…

La mera idea de él
– llevando su camisa roja –
obliga a mi amiga murmurar una oración mientras charlamos…

My Christian Friend

She says she’s going to give up sex for Lent,
because after what the Saviour went through,
it’s the very least she can do to prove her faith.

So now she’s praying for the strength
to keep her legs locked – and that’s all
she’s been praying for.

She thought forty days was too long
so she said God will understand
if she’s only strong for a month.

She knows sex before marriage is wrong,
so I ask her what will happen after the month.
After I’ve been on a diet for a week,
the following week I eat everything I find
that fits into my mouth.

God forbid if she opens her legs
the way I open my mouth.

She says it’s the one month sacrifice
that will be written down in the big book,
so if all this works according to her plan
then the sin itself will be cancelled out
by the one month sacrifice.

I tell her isn’t it nice that there’s flexibility
in Christianity, and the Bible is really just
a good book of poetry.

She says she hates when I’m sarcastic,
and I’ll be really proud of her in the end,
that is, she says, if her oh so sexy man
doesn’t wear his red shirt.

Just the thought of him in his red shirt
has her mumbling a prayer while we speak.

Just Like That

She got up and died; scraped the chewed bones
to the side, remnants of the stew she stayed up late
making on Holy Thursday so that not a pot would be
put on fire come Good Friday morning.

She centred the fork before lifting her plate high
in the air and in one motion stood, bent over and
collected his plate — her breasts dangling low
before his eyes.

Then she navigated the sharp edge of table,
swooshed her hips just once and died.
Her hips did not complete their sway
before she fell full-bodied to the floor.

He, stunned into action, would later remember
that he wanted so badly to skip breakfast and
partake of her flesh, but she, thinking of her mother
reciting verses in the back pew, thought it was sin
enough that she was not in God’s house;
she could not worship at his mouth.

And so, without the last rites of flesh on flesh,
hip against bone, tongue along lip,
they parted ways.


She walked into church that Good Friday morning
with death on her mind;
sang each hymn louder than even the choir
and off-beat bird propped in Sunday manner
against the tree by the window
(each week he forgot pursuits of nectar and women
to sit on the highest branch, nose pointed down as if
he knew the colour of each sin and sinner).

She threw the notes out and up as if
Jesus could have been saved by her voice,
his open wounds sutured by her bellow.
She had to get death out of her throat.

This was the first Easter she felt
each whip, each nail, each jeer.

When they came to get her — three of her brothers,
eyes on the ground, grown men looking like boys —
a note rolled back down her tongue.

She saw her child flying higher and higher,
the clouds parting; saw her greet Jesus
on this Good Friday morning.

The Caribbean Review of Books, February 2009

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