Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Five Poems

VIDA BREVE

no pude saber con precisión
cuál es la dimensión del viento
ni la medida exacta
de un metro cuadrado de encierro

 

BRIEF LIFE

I could not know precisely
the dimension of the wind
nor the exact measurement
of one square meter of confinement

 

EL ORIGEN DEL OBJETO

la araña
no teje la red
une los puntos de la ausencia
para darle
una forma a la nada

 

THE ORIGEN OF THE OBJECT

the spider
does not weave the web
but unites points of absence
to give
shape to nothingness

 

EL INSTANTE PRECISO

pienso en la palabra
que no llegó a su destino
en la mirada que por azar
se detuvo un segundo antes
de encontrar los ojos deseados
pienso sobre todo
en la noche que ya no volverá
y en las veces que mi vida
hubiera sido otra vida
si hubiera estado
en el instante preciso

 

THE PRECISE INSTANT

I think of the word
that did not reach its destination
in the gaze that by chance
he stopped a second before
to find the desired eyes
I think about everything
in the night that will not come back
and of the times that my life
would have been another life
if I had been
at the precise instant

 

UN POCO DE SER

querer no este
sino otro destino
buscar la luz en el espejo que mira hacia la noche
o intentar una palabra que sostenga la imagen
flotando en el abismo

 

A LITTLE TO BE

want not this
but another destiny
look for the light in the mirror that looks towards the night
or try a word that holds the image
floating in the abyss

 

NOCHE

eres la vida que traigo dentro
la luz de las palabras que no podré decir
o la herida profunda
que permanece abierta

 

NIGHT

you are the life that I bring inside
the light of words that I can’t say
or the deep wound
that remains open

 

– Margarita Losada Vargas

trans. Juan Garrido Salgado
ed. Janet Galbraith.


Mejor arder - margarita-losada-vargasMargarita Losada Vargas (Neiva, Huila – Colombia, 1983). Margarita is the author of the book Mejor Arder (2013), and co-author of La Persistencia de lo Inútil (2016). Her poems have been included in the bilingual (Spanish-French) anthology of Colombian poetry Vientre de luz / Ventre de lumiere 14 Colombian poets + Raul Gomez Jattin (Thieves of the Time, 2017) and the Italian poetry anthology Il corpo Il eros (Ladolfi editore, 2018). She currently writes poems, works in psychology, teaches at the university, and sings in a punk rock band.

 

Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Biographical Note
Featured Translator Juan Garrido Salgado: Biographical Note

 

Featured Translator Juan Garrido Salgado: Biographical Note

!Juan Garrido. photograph taken by Tania Garrido (2017)

Juan Garrido. photograph taken by Tania Garrido (2017)

Juan Garrido Salgado immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. Juan has published five books of poetry. His poems have been widely translated. Juan has also translated works into Spanish from John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Judith Beveridge, Dorothy Porter and MTC Cronin, including Cronin’s Talking to Neruda’s Questions. He translated five Aboriginal poets for Espejo de Tierra/ Earth Mirror an anthology edited by Peter Minter (2008). Juan, Steve Brock and Sergio Holas translated the Latin American poetry included in Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology published in December 2014 by IP (Interactive Publications). His chapbook, Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia (2016) is available from Blank Rune Press.

Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Five Poems
Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Biographical Note

 

Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Biographical Note

 

vargas

Margarita Losada Vargas

Margarita Losada Vargas (Neiva, Huila – Colombia, 1983). Margarita is the author of the book Mejor Arder (2013), and co-author of La Persistencia de lo Inútil (2016). Her poems have been included in the bilingual (Spanish-French) anthology of Colombian poetry Vientre de luz / Ventre de lumiere 14 Colombian poets + Raul Gomez Jattin (Thieves of the Time, 2017) and the Italian poetry anthology Il corpo Il eros (Ladolfi editore, 2018). She currently writes poems, works in psychology, teaches at the university, and sings in a punk rock band.

Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Five Poems
Featured Translator Juan Garrido Salgado: Biographical Note

‘The Wild Great Wall’ (野 长 城): Translator’s Note

!The Wild Great Wall dusk jacketI first came to know Zhu Zhu’s voice on a New England winter day over a trans-Pacific phone call that lasted a whole night. I wanted to translate his poems and needed permission. As the tone of his voice shifted from distanced skepticism to understated enthusiasm, we felt the trust and it dawned on us that this trust could be extended to a book. That’s how everything started, and our friendship began.

I kept thinking of his soft and resolute voice as I gathered his books and plunged deeper into winter and into his world.

 

Long, long winter,
a wolf looks for the forest of words.

These two lines seem to encapsulate Zhu Zhu the poet: a lone wolf utterly on the periphery with his treasured independence, as well as his unrelenting respect and unstoppable reach for words and their histories. As I selected poems from his robust twenty-five years of poetic output into one slim volume, I was looking at his “forest of words” that slowly both grew on me and accrued meaning with each reading.

As the long winter slowly melted into spring blossoms, as the trajectory of Zhu Zhu’s poetic arc became clearer before my eyes, I was about to match the face to his familiar voice. I met him for the first time when he came to the United States for a joint-resi- dency at the Vermont Studio Center. With an almost reticent demeanor, he quietly blended in. I remember at meals he always wanted to take a seat by the window, where the Gihon River could be heard. I often traced a trail of cigarette butts to find him sitting on the porch or by the Gihon, wreathed in smoke. I never saw him scribble down his impressions of the country or the residency, but toward the end of our time together, a stack of loose pages was slipped under my door. It smelled of burning.

After China’s political upheaval in recent eras and the continuous capitalist frenzy, the “warm, languid routine” of a foreign writing residency did not seem to suit Zhu Zhu, as I often found him spinning and smashing at the Ping-Pong table or in one of the two bars in the village drinking away with the locals, communicating through his gestures and smiles. Over time his outlook has become more international, but he returns again and again to classical tales and historical figures, “brim[ming] with unfinished crying,” and investigates their relevance to our times. His narrated and narrative histories are not “dressed as literary allusion / blending allure with parable,” but are meant to be “a scalpel-like nib, to open / old China’s chest.” Even his more politically charged poems are not meant to take sides but to reflect a layered and nuanced aesthetic reading of history and politics. The poems remain open and resist easily reductive interpretations.

not become a ghost, not traffic in suffering, but clarify life’s wellspring—

Not to serve as a loudspeaker for a certain ideology, not to exorcise for sensational effects, Zhu Zhu excavates “the forbidden grounds of memory” by clarifying the ambivalence that a simple political reading might elide. He demands that poetry return to its ancient roots, where words first emerge and find their calling in fragments and lifelines.

Here is a fearlessly independent poet who maintains his cool and observes the world with his whole eyes as the political horizon blurs and shifts. What matters to him is how words silently explode and become explosives, and how language sinks and rises. Here is a poet who advocates poetry as “a pass for the despicable and the noble,” an open field where everyone    is welcome to speak up and sing. Here is a poet who reinvents himself from an early ethereal verse limned by the unspeakable, to a visual and visceral composition of images that impart the transient and untranslatable, to restrained and rich narrative investigations of historical figures and phenomena. Here is a poet who looks again to “the mundane and song,” where the lyric finds its first note. This can seem like an indulgence in our profit-reigning attention-splintering age. Yet it is indeed in this indulgence that “sharp spasms of morality” and “endless folds of history” become music, memorable, and memory. It is indeed in this indulgence of poets roaming in word and world, of slow lines shuttling through the problems and prospects of the political, the historical, and the quotidian that poetry resists being reduced to footnotes and instead commands to be read and reread for what it illuminates.

…sitting quiet between words,
a man whose life began at a full moon, always questing for that first moving glance.

It is winter again as I write this note. Our spring retreat in the Vermont country was years ago. As I go through the last proof of The Wild Great Wall in one long breath, these final smoked lines come alive again in Zhu Zhu’s attentive voice. I lament the irretrievable loss of these Chinese words, whose constellation first moved me and sent me on a mission to look for the English words that could approximate the sensory traces and emotional pulls of the original. I feel consoled that the reader can now experience Zhu Zhu in the English language for the first time. As I shift between Zhu Zhu’s Chinese and my English, our shared words, like trees in a forest, seem to grow with each season. Here is a lyric that continues to extend.

-Dong Li (李栋)


Dong Li photo credit Humboldt Foundation - Michael Jordan, January 2016Dong Li () was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English- language poet and translates from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.

 

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note
Featured Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

The Wild Great Wall (野长城) by Zhu Zhu with translations by Dong Li is available from Phoneme Media

 

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems

Days with a Swedish Friend

Light does not return on the glass,
but arrives.
Spring does not linger on ice and snow,
waiting for the animals to come out.
Rivers then soften.
In the southern sky,
even if shadows have a certain thickness,
with a light touch,
they break.

On the pond,
the testicles of hyacinth beans
rock softly,
rock softly.
Under the glazed roof
dark creases unfold.
One by one, people
cross streets
not yet knowing why they cross.

In “ice-land,”
where such a word means
the loneliness of Scandinavia
(there, every house
is a faraway lover),
it is already midsummer.
The crowd of this day
is the crowd of this century.

Light intensifies.
Like water splashed from the pond, willows devour us
and the fisheye lens
in your hand.
Embers, when dark enough, can be used as mirrors.
Butterflies are so light that they can take something on instead;
butterflies begin to flutter their wings—
and no longer ask you to hold
their parched eggs.

I put my hand
on your statue-like body, now melting.
You are not an exile
but have chosen another way of life,
and you say: “There are many kinds of exile…”

 

和一位瑞典朋友在一起的日子

光不在玻璃上返回,
而是到来。
春天不是在冰雪上犹豫地停留,
等待动物爬出来,
河流随之柔软。
在南方的天空下,
阴影即使有厚度,
也是轻巧的一触,
就碎去。

水池上,
扁豆的睾丸
轻摇着,
轻摇着,
琉璃瓦的屋顶下
那些阴森的褶皱展开了。
人们一个接着一个,
穿过了街道
但又不知为什么穿过。

在“冰岛”
这样的词意味着的
北欧的孤寂里
(那里,每一座房屋
都是一个遥远的情人),
这里已经是盛夏,
这一天的人群
就是一个世纪里的人群。

光还在增强。
杨柳像溅起来的池水吞没我们
和你手中的
鱼眼镜头。
黑极了的煤可以做镜子了。
蝴蝶轻盈得可以反过来承担什么了;
蝴蝶开始展翅——
不再要求你盛放
干涩的卵。

我将手放在你
那正在熔化的雕像式的躯体上,
你不是流亡者
而是选择了另一种生活,
但是你说: “流亡有很多种……”

 

The Wild Great Wall

I

Label of the Earth’s surface
or a trace strangled deep in memory
vanishes at the invasion of sandstorms and droughts
into mountains whose skin tone is ever closer to ours.

We were once here. Even
a young solider conscripted from a small town
would stand tall and with the heart of a rich man
judge aliens through piles of arrows, the herd of people,
no better than beasts crawling through a wasteland.

Here, we have already built a giant bathtub
to soak ourselves in warm, languid routine.
While women play on a swing in the garden,
men’s eyes seek out reflections in the water;

bloody, barely-cooked meat too uncouth,
the eaves of our civilization
are now demanding to the last stretch of their upward tips.


II

Now, go through
the most thorough of all destructions:
forgetting—it is like

a reptile spine
moving toward its final decay.
Mountain ridges beam in Jurassic quietude,
as the sun sets, the engine dies slowly down.
The remnant light falls like rusty arrows.

I come to trace the life that disappeared long before our birth,
as if the philological fingers knock
the ridge of an empty shell,
whose inside has been picked clean, in anguish.


III

In the peach trees on the steep slope,
bees hum and buzz around.
They have set up a campsite
in a nearby beacon tower
that has been smashed like earthenware.

Their song seems to say:
everything returns to nature…

Wild grass, like fingers deep in the earth,
like a fiery troop of ghosts with halberds and lances held high,
climbs onto collapsed steps.
This moment, countless startled landscapes must be fluttering
and fleeing off the walls in museums everywhere.

 

野长城

地球表面的标签
或记忆深处的一道勒痕,消褪在
受风沙和干旱的侵蚀
而与我们的肤色更加相似的群山。

我们曾经在这边。即使
是一位征召自小村镇的年轻士兵,
也会以直立的姿势与富有者的心情
透过箭垛打量着外族人,
那群不过是爬行在荒原上的野兽。

在这边,我们已经营造出一只巨大的浴缸,
我们的日常是一种温暖而慵倦的浸泡。
当女人们在花园里荡秋千,
男人们的目光嗜好于从水中找到倒影;

带血的、未煮熟的肉太粗俗了,
我们文明的屋檐
已经精确到最后那一小截的弯翘。


现在,经历着
所有的摧毁中最彻底的一种:
遗忘——它就像

一头爬行动物的脊椎
正进入风化的尾声,
山脊充满了侏罗纪的沉寂,
随着落日的遥远马达渐渐地平息,
余晖像锈蚀的箭镞坠落。

我来追溯一种在我们出生前就消失的生活,
如同考据学的手指苦恼地敲击
一只空壳的边沿,
它的内部已经掏干了。


在陡坡的那几棵桃树上,
蜜蜂们哼着歌来回忙碌着,
它们选择附近的几座
就像摔破的陶罐般的烽火台
做为宿营地。

那歌词的大意仿佛是:
一切都还给自然……

野草如同大地深处的手指,
如同蓬勃的、高举矛戟的幽灵部队
登上了坍塌的台阶,
这样的时辰,无数受惊的风景
一定正从各地博物馆的墙壁上仓惶地逃散。

 

The Loudspeaker

Scorching summer not yet over, old locust leaves
curled in sunlight; in mother’s arms
I closed my eyes, faking sleep,
in my palms my beloved marbles rolled quietly—

I hated afternoon naps, this fatuous family ritual.
Out the door, cicadas sang on low branches,
tadpoles hatched in water, from the edge of the fields
whistles blasted as big ships passed through the canal.

Suddenly, saved! A sizzling electric current
snaked through the stillness that bided in the village bushes, adults
blinked open their sleepy eyes, dragged unseen shackles underfoot,
walked out of rooms, and gathered by the utility pole.

With a dazzling glare, a big loudspeaker hung high
like a warden’s bright helmet on the watchtower in a film
that surveyed the whole prison, as the clear blue sky offset
a delayed execution and a baritone announced the leader’s death.

This news, like a mason’s trowel,
instantly scraped off every facial expression.
Then, to the tune of a dirge, they circled like an earthen wall,
their heads sagged like bent-over sunflower stems.

I was wild with joy that mother’s hands clutched mine no more,
marbles could jump in joy along dirt roads,
around ponds, straw piles, and threshing floors of wheat,
and roll to the small forest outside the village—

here, in a nook swept by the intersecting blare of the loudspeaker,
so quiet that fluttering wings and the cracking joints of spurting shrubs
were audible, the moos of cattle could also be heard
rending the funeral-parlor hush of fields, and through

lattice-like twigs in the forest, I watched
spreading wild grass devour the lanes of past generations,
bends of the river wind toward the horizon,
like empty staves, waiting to be refilled.

I did not know that from then on, my steps
were tacitly turned toward the self-banishment of adult years,
toward this endless fated exile—to keep from being summoned
back under the loudspeaker, like a hostage, like a ghost.

 

喇叭

酷暑还未销尽,老槐树的叶子
卷刃在日光下;在母亲的臂弯里
我闭上眼睛,假装在沉睡,
手掌里悄悄转动着心爱的玻璃球——

我厌恶午睡这昏庸的家庭制度,
外边,知了在低俯的树枝上唱着歌,
蝌蚪在水中孵化,从田野的尽头
传来大轮船驶过运河时鸣响的汽笛。

突然,得救了!一阵嘶嘶的电流
蛇行于村庄那没入草丛的沉寂,大人们
惺忪着睡眼,脚底拖动着无形的镣铐,
从屋中走出,聚到了那根电线杆下,

强光刺目,大喇叭高高地悬挂
就像电影里岗楼哨卫发亮的头盔
在俯瞰整座监狱,天空的湛蓝反衬着
一个停摆的刑期,男低音宣告领袖之死。

这消息像泥瓦匠的刮刀
瞬间抹平了所有人脸上的表情,然后,
伴随着哀乐声他们围成一面土墙,
低垂的头颈就像向日葵折断的茎杆。

而我狂喜于母亲的手不再将我攥紧,
玻璃球可以沿着泥泞欢快地蹦跳,
绕过水塘、稻草堆和打麦场,
一直滚动到村外的小树林——

这里,喇叭声之间交叉扫射的死角,
静得能听见鸟翅的扑动,低矮的灌木丛
骨节在发育的劈啪声,能听见旷野里
牛的哞鸣撕破灵堂般的死寂;透过

林边那窗栅般的枝条,我眺望
绵延的野草吞没了祖辈们的小路,
那弯垂中蜿蜒向天际的河流
如同空白的五线谱,等待着新的填写。

我并不知道从那时候开始,自己的脚步
已经悄悄迈向了成年之后的自我放逐,
迈向那注定要一生持续的流亡——为了
避免像人质,像幽灵,被重新召唤回喇叭下。

 

Florence

A day of rush. Itineraries delayed
by getting lost. We study the map and forget
we are already in those pensively charming
alleys and structures, roaming obliviously
through its newly recovered anonymity.

Perhaps this is what Florence longs for,
otherwise it would not close its churches so often,
leaving tourists on the steps and in the square;
with magnificent marble it walls off a somber quietude
in the interior of a closed church, secreting emptiness.

Every place corresponds to the image of a person.
Florence reminds me of an old lady, standing
behind thick violet curtains looking outward,
mouth tilted in irony, in whose living room
hangs a small privately-owned Botticelli.

I worry about her restraint. Whenever people
praise our ancient art yet insist that
the Chinese today should only write political poetry—
in their imagination, aside from the bloodshed,
we do not deserve to seek beauty like artists before us,

nor do we have the right to indulge in the mundane and song;
in sharp spasms of morality, in the endless folds
of history, a life’s touch becomes
estranged from itself and is reduced
to footnotes about hardships and inhumane colonies.

Thus I would prefer that Florence be brightly open,
flat and even, like a plate at an outdoor café.
That waitress who comes to serve our desserts,
slowing her steps as she notices us staring at her skirt,
looks like a fluffy-haired, overripe Beatrice—

afternoon sunlight unloads the weight of every tree,
the leaves’ capillaries expand in the wind, and their shadows
pass over our foreheads and become another pause.
Guards talk to themselves in the arched hallways; peering
from every museum window, it is beautiful out and out.

 

佛罗伦萨

匆忙的一天。被迷路耽误了
行程。研究着地图而忘记
我们已经置身那些阴郁迷人的
街道和建筑,可以无知地漫游在
它突然被恢复的匿名状态。

或许这也是佛罗伦萨自身所渴望的,
否则它不会频繁地设定闭馆日
而将游客留在台阶上,广场上;
它用雄伟的大理石墙保护一种静穆,
在关闭的教堂内部,分泌空。

每个地方都可以对应某种人的形象,
佛罗伦萨让我想到一个老妇人,
她站在沉重的深紫色窗幔背后
向外看,嘴角挂着冷嘲,客厅里
挂着一小幅从未公开过的波提切利。

我戚然于这种自矜,每当外族人
赞美我们古代的艺术却不忘监督
今天的中国人只应写政治的诗——
在他们的想象中,除了流血
我们不配像从前的艺术家追随美,

也不配有日常的沉醉与抒情;
在道德剧烈的痉挛中,在历史
那无尽的褶皱里,隔绝了
一个生命对自己的触摸,沦为
苦难的注脚,非人的殖民地。

所以我宁愿佛罗伦萨是敞亮的,
浅平的,如同露天咖啡馆的碟子,
那前来送甜点的女服务员因为意识到
我们注意着她的裙子而放缓了动作,
像一个蓬松的、熟透的贝阿徳里采——

午后的阳光卸下了每棵树的重量,
叶子的毛细血管扩展于风,那些阴影
经过我们的额头时变成另一种逗留,
那些警卫在拱廊里自语:从任何
博物馆的窗口向外看,总是美丽的。

 

-Zhu Zhu (朱朱)

trans. Dong Li (李栋)

 

‘Days with a Swedish Friend’, ‘The Wild Great Wall’, ‘Florence’, and ‘The Loudspeaker’ by Zhu Zhu with English translations by Dong Li have been republished by Rochford Street Review courtesy of Phoneme Media. The poems and accompanying translations were previously published in several international literary magazines and appear the impressive collection of Zhu Zhu’s work, The Wild Great Wall (Phoneme Media, 2018).


 

!The Wild Great Wall dusk jacketZhu Zhu (朱朱) was born in Yangzhou, P.R. China. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and art criticism, including a bilingual French edition translated by Chantal Chen-Andro. He’s the recipient of Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Critics and has been a guest at the Rotterdam and Val-de-Marne International Poetry Festivals. He lives in Beijing.

Dong Li () was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English language poet and translates from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/ Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/ Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.

Featured Translator Dong Li: Translator’s Note, The Wild Great Wall
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note
Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

The Wild Great Wall (野长城) by Zhu Zhu with translations by Dong Li is available from Phoneme Media

Featured Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

 

dong-li-photo-credit-humboldt-foundation-michael-jordan-january-2016-no-2.jpg

Dong Li. photograph taken by Michael Jordan, January 2016

Dong Li () was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English language poet and translates from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/ Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/ Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.

Featured Translator Dong Li: Translator’s Note, The Wild Great Wall
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note

Purchase The Wild Great Wall by Zhu Zhu translated by Dong Li (Phoneme Media, 2018)

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note

!2Zhu Zhu photo credit Fan Xi October 2014

Zhu Zhu. photograph taken by Fan Xi, October 2014

Zhu Zhu (朱朱) was born in Yangzhou, P.R. China. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and art criticism, including a bilingual French edition translated by Chantal Chen-Andro. He’s the recipient of Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Critics and has been a guest at the Rotterdam and Val-de-Marne International Poetry Festivals. He lives in Beijing.

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems
Featured Translator Dong Li: Translator’s Note, The Wild Great Wall
Featured Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

Purchase The Wild Great Wall by Zhu Zhu translated by Dong Li (Phoneme Media, 2018)

 

Featured Writer Barbara Pogačnik: Biographical Note

Barbara Pogačnik photograph by Ivan Dobnik

Barbara Pogačnik. photograph by Ivan Dobnik

 

Barbara Pogačnik is a Slovenian poet, translator and literary critic who graduated from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and completed her MA at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has published four books of poetry: Poplave (Inundations, 2007), V množici izgubljeni papir (Sheets of Paper Lost in the Crowd, 2008), Modrina hiše / The Blue of the House (2013) and Alica v deželi plaščev (Alice in the Land of Coats, 2016). Her first volume of poetry, Poplave (Mladinska knjiga, 2007), was nominated for the Best First Book Award and the Jenko Prize. Her poetry has been translated into twenty-eight languages with books of her selected poems translated into Romanian, French and Spanish. She has participated in more than fifty different festivals in at least twenty countries and has been a writer in residence at multiple international organizations in various countries. She has translated more than one hundred and fifty authors from French, English, Italian and Serbo-Croatian into Slovenian and from Slovenian into French.

Featured Writer Barbara Pogačnik: ‘Ure, vzplule iz kleti’ (‘Hours, Sallied Forth from the Cellar’)

 

 

Juan Garrido Salgado- biographical note

Juan's Launch 17

Juan Garrido Salgado. photo by Tania Garrido

Juan Garrido Salgado immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. He has published five books of poetry, and his poems have been widely translated. He has also translated collections of poetry from John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Judith Beveridge, Dorothy Porter and MTC Cronin into Spanish, including Cronin’s Talking to Neruda’s Questions (2004). He translated five Aboriginal poets for Espejo de Tierra/ Earth Mirror a poetry anthology edited by Peter Minter (2008). With Steve Brock and Sergio Holas, Juan Garrido Salgado translated poems from Spanish into English for Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology (2014). His later book Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia (2016) was published by Blank Rune Press.

Juan Garrido Salgado: six poems with translations

Juan Garrido Salgado: six poems with translations

I Invite Jorge Luis Borges to My Birthday to Play Chess with Me

after ‘The Game of Chess’ by J. L. Borges

I

Sitting at the board pending movements,
two seats, one occupied. The other waits for my guest.
The clock is breathing space. I hear footsteps and a cane in the corridor.
The game starts. In silence he moves his pieces, blindness accurately corrected.

In mid-July, I’m on the border between Cancer and Leo in my 59th year.
My heart is like an infinite sea shore. The shadow is my own boat.
The waves are the wings of a condor, drunk and angry with the sky,
wetting my dreams with the wild sound of a wounded bird.

You move your pieces as if devouring your body on this night.
You, blind Borges, on the east side of my table,
murmuring Homer as you make your first move.
You are my guest in this poem of chess; you control the attack.

We remain at the board, moving between the candles and the drinks.

The white pieces are yours, I say,
I prefer black to represent decolonisation in the game.
Perhaps it is a metaphor.

II

The pieces are transformed into modern figures:
Google castle; Catullus, Lesbia’s knight;
queens Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton;
the kings of all the colonies; Syria’s pawn soldiers;
the oblique bishops,shameful sins.

Please, I tell Borges, fill our glasses and let’s toast the illusion of peace.

As you wrote, in the East, the war has taken fire,
but in the West, weapons of mass destruction have created an inferno,
their colliding forces of power murdering mother earth.
We, the players, are taking a long pause for peace on my birthday.
I say, thanks to you Viejo Borges, chess master.
Who replies, this game is forever.

 

Invito a Jorge Luis Borges a mi cumpleaños a jugar al ajedrez conmigo

I

Sentado al tablero pendiente de movimientos
Dos asientos, uno ocupado. El otro en espera del huésped.
El reloj respira espacio. Oigo pasos y un bastón en el pasillo.
Comienza el juego. En silencio mueve sus piezas, la ceguera corrige con precisión.

A mediados de julio, estoy en la frontera entre Cáncer y Leo en mi 59
Mi corazón es una orilla infinita. La sombra es mi propio barco.
Las olas alas de un Cóndor borracho y enojado con el cielo
Mojando sueños en un sonido salvaje del ave herida.

Él mueve su pieza como si la noche devorara su cuerpo.
Tú, Borges al lado de esta mesa
Murmurando a Homero bajo tus primeros movimientos.
Le digo de nuevo, usted es mi invitado en este poema. Usted controla el ataque.

Nosotros, jugadores todavía en el tablero.
Nos movemos entre candelabros y bebidas.

Las piezas blancas son suyas, le digo.
Prefiero las negras por la razón de descolonizar el juego
Quizás esto sea una metáfora

II

Las piezas se transforman en figuras modernidad:
castillo de Google. caballero Lesbia de Catulo.
Margaret Thatcher o Hillary Clinton reinas modernas.
Rey de todas las colonias de la comarca. Los peones son de la guerra en Siria.
Obispo oblicuo y silencioso vergüenza de sus propios pecados.

Por favor, le sugiero Borges, llenar los vasos para brindar por la ilusión de la paz.

Como dijo en esta línea; En el este, la guerra se ha disparado
Pero en Occidente, las armas de destrucción masiva han creado un infierno,
Con su alianza de fuerzas de poder, está muriendo la madre tierra.
En mi cumpleaños somos jugadores tomando una larga pausa por la paz.
Le digo, gracias a ti viejo Borges, maestro
Quién responde: este juego es para siempre

 

I Am Reading the Line, ‘we live in a third-floor flat’

after ‘The Sadness of Creatures’, by Peter Porter

I am reading the line, ‘we live in a third-floor flat’ by Peter Porter
and my eyes climb my mind like a little boy up an old tree.
I go back to 1990, at the Pennington Hostel
when, after three months, we moved to a third-floor flat
with just a handful of English words and an old dictionary.
All we owned were clothes, toys, a black and white TV, and lots of worries.
A third-floor flat that gave us a home without beds, blankets for sleeping on the floor
and our first second-hand pots, plates, spoons and forks for this party of crying.

A third-floor flat where I do not recall seeing a single smile when we went downstairs,
only shut curtains and closed doors, the inhabitants steeped in silence.

A third-floor flat where in summer we lived with the sun as our closest neighbour,
no chance to rest inside the room that was hot like an oven all day.

A third-floor flat where at night we sensed cats drinking milk on top of the warm roof,
talking to the stars which filled the unfamiliar solitude of our new home.

 

Estoy Leyendo esta Línea ‘vivimos en un tercer piso de un edificio’

Poema basado en esta línea de Peter Porter

Estoy leyendo esta línea ‘vivimos en un tercer piso de un edificio’, de Peter Porter
mis ojos suben a la mente como niño a un árbol viejo,
vuelvo a 1990, a ese Albergue de Pennington.
Cuando, después de tres meses, nos trasladamos a un tercer piso
Con sólo un puñado de palabras en inglés y un viejo diccionario;
el resto eran ropas, juguetes y una tv en blanco y negro;
todo lo demás una gran cantidad de preocupaciones.

Tercer piso que nos dio un hogar sin camas, mantas para dormir en el suelo
Las primeras ollas de segunda mano, platos, cucharas y tenedores
para nuestra primera fiesta del llanto.

Tercer piso, no recuerdo haber visto ni una sola sonrisa bajando escaleras,
cortinas y puertas cerradas, pasos habitando el silencio.

Tercer piso que en verano vivimos con el sol como el vecino más cercano,
sin tiempo para descansar, con el fuego como un horno abierto todo el día.

Tercer piso, por la noche nos sentimos gatos que beben la leche sobre el techo hirviendo,
conversación con estrellas que llenan la soledad en este nuevo hogar.

 

As a Child on Nauru

“As a Child on Nauru I was NR03-283, but my name is Mohammad Ali Baqiri.”
As a child I had to pronounce those letters and numbers,
it was a cruel game that hurt my dreams.
In the midst of so much injustice
a guard howled from this torment of dust:
You, NR03-283. The guard said that to a child!
Now I am twenty-four, I ask, “Please bring back our stolen humanity.
I’ve experienced detention and its effects first hand
in ways I can’t yet explain.
I saw detention push the adults around me to the brink of hopelessness.
I witnessed self-harm and suicide attempts.
No one should have to go through that.”
“I was NR03-283, but my name is Mohammah Ali Baqiri.”
As a child my home was walls without windows to see the moon
or count the stars; even my dreams weren’t free.
My town was fences without gardens or birds
or animals to call my friends or play.
As a child the school where I went to learn English
was a room full of shadowy body-guards —
But they weren’t interested in talking to me,
even they were grudging teachers.
Still, I learnt enough to say —
“As a Child on Nauru I was NR03-283, but my name is Mohammad Ali Baqiri.”

* All quotes come from an article entitled ‘As a Child on Nauru I was NR03-283, but my name is Mohammad Ali Baqiri’, written by Mohammad Ali Baqiri and published in The Guardian on Tuesday 15 March 2016

 

Como un Niño en el Centro de Detención de Nauru

“Como Niño en Nauru yo era solo un código NR03-283,
.                                               pero mi nombre es Mohammad Ali Baqiri.”
De niño tuve que pronunciar esas letras y números,
Fue un juego cruel que hirió mis sueños.
En medio de tanta injusticia
Un guardia aulló desde este tormento de polvo:
Oye tú, NR03-283. ¡El guardia le dijo al niño!
Ahora tengo veinticuatro años y pregunto:
.                                  “Por favor trae de vuelta a nuestra humanidad robada.
He experimentado la detención y sus efectos de primera mano
De maneras que todavía no puedo explicarla.
Vi que la detención empujaba a los adultos al borde de la desesperanza.
Fui testigo autolesiones e intentos de suicidio.
Nadie debería tener que pasar por esto. ”

“Yo fui ese código NR03-283, pero mi nombre es Mohammah Ali Baqiri.”
Cuando niño, mi hogar era paredes sin ventanas para ver la luna
O contar las estrellas; Incluso mis sueños no eran libres.
Mi ciudad se hizo de cercas sin jardines ni pájaros
Ni animales para llamar a mis amigos o jugar.

Cuando niño, la escuela donde aprendí inglés
Fue una habitación llena de sombríos guardias –
Pero no estaban interesados en hablar conmigo,
Incluso ellos fueron maestros a regañadientes.
Sin embargo, he aprendido lo suficiente para decir –
“Como Niño en Nauru yo fui este código NR03-283,
.                                 Aunque  mi nombre es Mohammad Ali Baqiri.”

* Todas las citas provienen de un artículo titulado ‘Como un Niño en Nauru yo era NR03-283, pero mi nombre es Mohammad Ali Baqiri’, escrito por Mohammad Ali Baqiri y publicado en The Guardian el martes 15 de marzo de 2016, Australia.

 

I’m a Citizen of the Earth

I’m not an ethnic…I was born on Mapudungun land in 1957

I’ m not a refugee…my suitcases were full of memories, tears and lost kisses

I’ m a political prisoner from Pinochet’s regime…but my cell was a dark and painful space

I don’t have a permanent visa to enter Australia

I’m only a fucking citizen

On this battered land

Pronouncing broken verses

Howling the hope that still grows like scorched seed

In the forest burned by the silence of water

Arrived to this shore long ago

 

Soy Ciudadano de la Tierra

no soy étnico ……. Nací en la tierra de Mapudungun, 1957

no soy un refugiado … mis maletas de la memoria se llenaron de lágrimas

y de besos perdidos

soy a un prisionero político del régimen de Pinochet …

pero mi celda fue espacio oscuro y doloroso

no tengo más visa permanente Australia

soy sólo uno más de estos culiao ciudadano

en esta tierra maltrecha

caminando con versos mal pronunciados

aullando a esa esperanza que sigue creciendo como semilla chamuscada

en el bosque quemado por el silencio del agua

que arribó por mucho tiempo en esta orilla.

 

How to Believe in Death?

To Gaddafi and his Green Revolution

How to believe in the unbelievable death
That occurs when greed plans war?
It is a cruel distribution of profit and power,
a murderous financial system’s insanity.
NATO & the USA have destroyed homes
With their occupying army of death.
NATO & the USA have made tears run in rivers of agony.
NATO & the USA’s eyes were only open to the prizes of the desert…

How to believe in this unbelievable death?
Walls fall onto the plates of Palestinian children,
They are fed the tears and the bones of the dead.
How to believe in this death
When hatred is a legalised document
Of the United Nations General Assembly?
How to believe in this death
When power conjures dictatorships and disappearances?
When power plans massacres and exile?
When power orchestrates famine and looting?

How to believe in this unbelievable death
When I remember a time I lived happily in my country?
I was a citizen of the streets and a student of hope!
How to believe in this death
When Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize
Living in his paradise of shit where death is celebrated?
How to believe in this death
When Gaddafi’s land was savagely invaded
As the Promised Land for the West?

How to believe in this unbelievable death
When you will not admit that what you really want is our copper,
Our oil, our salt, our rivers, our lands and our mountains?
Do you want our hearts, our bodies and our minds too?

How to believe in this unbelievable life
When you want us as slaves in your ‘free world’?

How to believe in this unbelievable death
When the revolution is pregnant
With Guevara’s spirit on earth
And with Indigenous ancestors’ dreams, carajo!!!

 

¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?

A Gaddafi y su revolución verde

Si el odio es una guerra planificada
Repartos de ganancias y poder.
Nada más que ganancias en crisis.
Pero la muerte de la ocupación
Tiene nombre de mi patria
Tiene hogares destruidos
Tiene llanto de ríos mudos del dolor,
Tiene ojos abiertos al olor del desierto.
Muros caídos en los platos de niños palestinos
Cuchareando lágrimas y huesos de tantos muertos

¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si el odio es un documento legalizado
En la Asamblea General de naciones unidas
¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si el poder fabrica dictadores y desaparecidos.
Planifica masacres y exilio
Planifica hambrunas y saqueos.

¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si hubo un tiempo que viví en mi país feliz,
Fui ciudadano de calles y estudiante de la esperanza.
¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si, Henry Kissinger tiene el premio Nobel de la Paz,
fue él quien sentencio a Salvador Allende.

¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si, Barack Obama tiene el premio Nobel de la Paz.
En su paraíso hecho mierda,
Pero invade Libia y expulsa a Gaddafi
De la tierra prometida para el West.

¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si no nos dicen que quieren nuestro Cobre.
Que quieren nuestro Petróleo
Nuestra Sal y nuestros ríos
Que quieren nuestro suelo y nuestras montañas
Que quieren nuestro corazón, cuerpos y mente.

¿Cómo creerle a la vida?
Si nos quieren esclavos en su mundo libre.
¿Cómo creerle a la muerte?
Si la revolución está preñada de verde, indígena y guevarista, Carajo!!!

 

Have we no voice, no tune?

after An Elegy upon the Death of the Dean of Paul’s, Dr. John Donne’, by Thomas Carew

 

Your voice fades with the footsteps of death

Eyes glaze beneath syllables of agony

Dry blood falls on uttered words

Music regrets bearing witness

To the speeches that brick Trump’s wall

Beyond meaning

Have we no voice left, no melody?

The poet battles

on the pages of these blank days

 

¿Ya no tenemos voz, ni melodía?

Poema inspirado  en la ‘Elegy upon of the Dean of Paul’s, Dr John Donne’ de Thomas Carew

 

la voz se apaga en los pasos de la muerte

la mirada tiene sílabas de la agonía

la sangre seca cae en la palabra  pronunciada

melodía se lamenta de ser testigo

del discurso que amuralla aquel muro de Trump

más allá de su sentido

¿ya no tenemos voz, ni melodía?

el poeta se compromete

en la página de estos días vacíos.

-Juan Garrido Salgado

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Juan Garrido Salgado immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. He has published five books of poetry, and his poems have been widely translated. He has also translated collections of poetry from John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Judith Beveridge, Dorothy Porter and MTC Cronin into Spanish, including Cronin’s Talking to Neruda’s Questions (2004). He translated five Aboriginal poets for Espejo de Tierra/ Earth Mirror a poetry anthology edited by Peter Minter (2008). With Steve Brock and Sergio Holas, Juan Garrido Salgado translated poems from Spanish into English for Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology (2014). His later book Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia (2016) was published by Blank Rune Press.