martes, 26 de abril de 2016


Brenda Shaughnessy

Brenda Shaughnessy (Okinawa, 1970), es una poeta norteamericana. Creció en California y se licenció en literatura y estudios de género en la Universidad de California. También obtuvo un posgrado en la Universidad de Columbia. Sus poemas han aparecido en Best American Poetry, BOMB, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review y The Yale Review. Ha publicado los libros de poemas Our Andromeda, Human Dark with Sugar e Interior with Sudden Joy. Actualmente, vive en Brooklyn con su familia e imparte clases en Columbia University y Lehman College.


Hay dos tipos de personas, los soldados y las mujeres,
como dijo Virginia Woolf. Ambos son sólo decorativos.

Bueno, es demasiado decir. La división es técnica: vírgenes y lobos.
Ahora podemos elegir. Dos niñas entran a un bar,

una pide una copa de shirley temple. El chulo de Shirley Temple
entra y dice no te arrepentirás. Ella es una buena

pieza pero no sale barata. Yo misma temo menos
a los depredadores que a caminar

por el cuerpo de mi madre. Eso es engañoso, porque implica más
que andar desnuda. Nivelemos: tú te vas humeándote en tu

gris habitación, yo soy voraz sola. Lencería metálica,
en blanco, descocada. Y extraordinarios cigarrillos negros

en una cestita hecha a mano. Quién de nosotros teje
al mundo con borrones aún más rápidos de armada

seducción? Tu guerra-contra-los-matones*, mis medias con liguero?
Ascéticos o carnívoros. Los hombres pulverizarán tu delicado barniz

incluso si los abandonas antes de que se haga de día. Los cerdos
montan a las sirenas en manada. Ah, la carne, la tecnocarne,

hay dos tipos de personas. Calientes con luz
mixta, borrachos de insultos. Tú y yo.

De Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1999)

*NOTA DE LA TRADUCTORA. La broma de modificar la expresión “warondrugs” (la guerra contra las drogas, eslogan/promesa/amenaza típica de las fuerzas políticas conservadoras en Estados Unidos) por “waronthugs” (“thug” significa matón, mafioso o gángster, pero también remite a los memes de “thuglife” del mundo de internet, matiz acrecentado por el uso de guiones – – -) es difícilmente traducible; de ahí esta paráfrasis un poco extensa.

Traductora:Berta García Faet


There are two kinds of people, soldiers and women,
as Virginia Woolf said. Both for decoration only.

Now that is too kind. It’s technical: virgins and wolves.
We have choices now. Two little girls walk into a bar,

one orders a shirley temple. Shirley Temple’s pimp
comes over and says you won’t be sorry. She’s a fine

piece of work but she don’t come cheap. Myself, I’m
in less fear of predators than of walking around

in my mother’s body. That’s sneaky, that’s more
than naked. Let’s even it up: you go on fuming in your

gray room. I am voracious alone. Blank and loose,
metallic lingerie. And rare black-tipped cigarettes

in a handmade basket case. Which of us weaves
the world together with a quicker blur of armed

seduction: your war-on-thugs, my body stockings.
Ascetic or carnivore. Men will crack your glaze

even if you leave them before morning. Pigs
ride the sirens in packs. Ah, flesh, technoflesh,

there are two kinds of people. Hot with mixed
light, drunk on insult. You and me.

A Poet’s 

If it takes me all day, 
I will get the word freshened out of this poem. 

I put it in the first line, then moved it to the second, 
and now it won’t come out. 

It’s stuck. I’m so frustrated, 
so I went out to my little porch all covered in snow 

and watched the icicles drip, as I smoked 
a cigarette.

Finally I reached up and broke a big, clear spike 
off the roof with my bare hand. 

And used it to write a word in the snow. 
I wrote the word snow. 

I can’t stand myself.


is my heart. A stranger
berry there never was,

Gone sour in the sun,
in the sunroom or moonroof,

No poetry. Plain. No
fresh, special recipe
to bless.

All I’ve ever made
with these hands
and life, less

substance, more rind.
Mostly rim and trim,

but making much smoke
in the old smokehouse,
no less.

Fatted from the day,
overripe and even
toxic at eve. Nonetheless,

in the end, if you must
know, if I must bend,

to that excruciation.
No marvel, no harvest
left me speechless,

yet I find myself
somehow with heart,

With heart, 
fighting fire with fire,

That loud hub of us,
meat stub of us, beating us

Spectacular in its way,
its way of not seeing,
congealing dayless

but in everydayness.
In that hopeful haunting
(a lesser

way of saying
in darkness) there is

for the pressing question.
Heart, what art you?
War, star, part? Or less:

playing a part, staying apart
from the one who loves, 

Card 19: The Sun

When you show yourself to the woman 
you love, you don’t know your fear

is not fear, itself. You have never been good,
but now you are so good,

who are you? Is it the liquidity of her skin
that bathes the world for you,

or her face, captured like a she-lion
in your own flesh?

This summerbed is soft with ring upon ring 
upon ring of wedding, the kind

that doesn’t clink upon contact, the kind
with no contract,

the kind in which the gold is only (only!) light. 
Cloud covers and lifts, 

and sleep and night and soon enough, love’s
big fire laughs at a terrible burn, 

but only (only!) because pain absorbs excess 
joy and you shouldn’t flaunt 

your treasures in front of all day’s eyes.


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