sábado, 30 de julio de 2016


Mekeel McBride

Mekeel McBride. Poeta de EE.UU.
Mekeel McBride es autora de seis libros de poemas, profesora de inglés en la Universidad de New Hampshire. Ha recibido dos becas NEA.


Una vieja se cansa de su rostro triste
así que llena su tazón de sopa con agua fresca
y mira entonces el pequeño lago hasta que ve
su reflejo flotar allí pero suavizado.
Sonríe, y cuando lo hace,
su tristeza se tropieza en el tazón,
con la sorpresa de verse por fin aligerada un poco.
Luego lleva el tazón a lo alto en la maleza
y lo deja allí para que las lenguas ásperas
de los gatos callejeros lo rasguñen;
para que la luz de las estrellas se repare en él.
Ahora bien, quién sabe si ella es vieja,
o joven, esta mujer que conjura la desesperanza.
Que ríe cuando pela las pieles arrugadas
de las patatas rosadas, las echa luna
a luna en el caldero de la noche: nueva sopa de raíces.


An old woman gets tired of her sad face
so she fills her soup bowl with fresh water
then stares into that small lake until she sees
her reflection floating there but softened.
She smiles and when she does that,
her sadness gets tricked into the bowl,
surprised to be lightened a little at last.
Then she takes that bowl into high grass
and leaves it there for the rough thongues
of homeless cats to scratch across;
for starligth to men itself in.
Now, who knows whether she is old
or young, this woman who tricks away despair.
She's laughing as she peels the wrinkled skins
from red potatoes, drooping them moon
by moon into evening's keetle: new root soup.

Líneas conectadas, Nueva Poesía de los Estados Unidos,
Sarabande Books, 2006 / Editado por April Lindner
Traducción de Zulai Marcela Fuentes

Friend Blue Snake

Light, far away, faltering like a votive at the feet of a blue saint 
who blesses only the most lost of causes. 
The man and woman on a dark path walk home wordlessly 
as if it were an ordinary evening.

But it is the time of the moon fat with maggots; no pearls! 
no pearls! sticky shellac-light calls, falling. 
The time of the starving underground animals up for a feed. 
Time of the masks of sequins cut from the dresses of old dolls,

sewn onto human skin. Something only as evident 
as wind is tracking the humans. Tree-top leaves, 
under its weight, treble and click 
trying to rid themselves of its sour body.

Allowed any power but to touch the earth, what it wants 
is everything—the books 
in the man's bag, pages black and rich as loam, 
secrets written there roots teach the burrowers:

vole, five-hearted earthworm and mouse 
who carries the entire meadow underground 
in memory every time it descends 
into the fragrant dark: bone, seed, star, stone.

Wants the hourglass the woman uses to measure time; sand 
she allowed to slip back to sea, then made another kind 
of ocean in the emptiness. Pollen and saifron 
now sifting back and forth in the glass house no bigger than an egg.

It wants the bees that float behind them night and day 
in disorderly, obedient veils, whispering what 
has been translated 
from lost libraries hidden deep in living flowers.

This shudder through dying leaves, this animal of string 
and rotten meat, this beast 
who dips its tongue in corpse entrails delicately 
as a hummingbird might feed at a fuchsia bloom 
wants to swallow the man and woman

walking home whole: hangnail, finger clipping, heartbeat, soul. 
Says so in a sound like a child's flute, oasis, mesmerizing, 
go to sleep now, it is safe, look,

the ocean, sea glass white and blue tumbling into gems at the edge;
take off your heavy coat, abandon yourself to the azure palace 
of god's first water. Bells in the distance, goat bells, bells 
braided into the shaggy manes of old ponies,

wind chimes chanting away in gold laughter the hungry ghosts. 
But behind it all, the man and the woman hear the whistle, 
decades old, of the death camp trains. Dust falling 
through still air. They hear and turn to each other,

baring the truth of it between them in one look—book of fire, 
then they fall to the ground in one body, 
blue snake, 
every part of that body touching earth, swum forward by earth;

first light, faraway light, a library older than Alexandria 
cool stone corridors welcome blue snake in as desert welcomes 
and because of this, the child tortured then slaughtered, 
left stinking at the side of the road is now carried

into the green breath of the meadow of the oldest story 
and is rinsed there and restored; where tears 
on the cheeks of the late night reader leave no scars, only a slight 
trace of pollen and the black pages of the night books burn with aurora 

Some Kisses for Bill

A shooting star-that spine of light- 
sudden in darkness. The lost child starting 
its search for the body grief robbed it of. This kiss, 
the abandoned body 
returned whole.


A kiss as gold and clumsy and glad 
as the way tubas 
woo wind through Sousa marches.


Rivers spangled with the mystery 
every explorer has bequeathed to deep water.


Blissful as a statue's secret gulping of meteors 
the moment after the preoccupied human 
has passed.


A kiss like the names carved 
on an old gravestone, filled in with moss. 
From loss, summer 
starting its green territories again.


Blue-grey of a heron folding itself 
into the monastery of the estuary; this kiss, how it feels 
to have its solitude fill your body 
with love from the necessary 
invisible ocean.


Kisses that touch you the way the symphony 
conductor's hands make love 
to music's body.


A kiss that loves you the way a telescope loves starlight.


Kiss for the part of you hopeless 
as the suicide who steps off the bridge into an abyss 
that fills quickly with the flat slam of water 
black as your father's anger. No choice 
but to give in to this. The letting go. The failing. 
Then something small, impossible begins 
to happen, just enough wing to hold you. This kiss 


After talking to a woman you once loved, 
who did not, I think, love you, you found a rock 
in a shopping center parking lot. 
“It had been run over a lot,” you said. “It didn't want 
to be run over anymore.”

And you took the stone to a small stream 
where water in one long kiss covered it and kept 
kissing. This is for you, all these kisses 
that know how the stone is just water that stopped itself 
in order to survive. That know how it feels 
to take the unbearable weight 
of such heavy machinery bearing down over and over. 
Then nothing.

A kiss 
like the water you put that stone in, water 
that is a kind of weeping, not just for the loss 
of the woman, whoever she was, but for all of it, 
for what was unspeakable. 
Water like love that doesn't change 
the stone, wear it down or carry it away. Just touches it. 
That's all. Touches it.

Jimmy, Jesus and the Japanese Beetles

The five kids, their parents, the grandmother 
and Jesus sit down to dinner. Pink, dry flakes 
of canned salmon lie on the plastic plates 
like eczema. New burns, from the day's ironing 
rise like small roses on the grandmother's wrists. 

Because they have never seen Jesus eat, they've stopped 
setting his place. He always wears the same outfit, 
the one showing his heart all wrapped in barbed wire. 
Jimmy, who has just turned eleven thinks it looks 
like liver wrapped in bacon and says so. 

His father slaps him across the face then sends him 
out to the darkest part of the yard to say Hail Marys 
and Our Fathers. Sometimes all he has to do is ask 
for the bread. Or decorate his mashed potatoes with peas. 
And he's smacked, shoved off into the dark, 

to undergo penance, he's come to think, for hunger itself. 
He doesn't mind the yard though. Tonight it's quiet. 
Once in awhile a stray dog runs down the alley. 
By street lamp light he notices that Japanese beetles 
have nearly chewed away the leaves of his mother's roses 

and that greenery all gone to rotten lace fills him again 
with a desperate, small sadness. He will not be allowed 
back in to finish his dinner. He thinks of Jesus, 
his beautiful long brown hair, his kind eyes, 
his body that is a body. And Jimmy wonders 

if the point isn't that Jesus has come to the table 
every night wanting someone to remove the thorns 
from his heart and offer him a full plate 
of lamb chops, gravy, peas and potatoes. 
Wanting someone to see him for who he really is. 

And then Jimmy slips his thin hand into his pants 
and touches himself and that pleasure is the only prayer 
he has to offer because for a little while, he is really there, 
like Jesus with a healed heart, like small weeds 
trying to fill the empty yard with any kind of green.


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