Thursday, April 11, 2013

Oh Black Chalice

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—César Vallejo

The night is a cup of evil. A watchman's stinging
whistle pierces through it like a vibrating pin.
Listen, you little slut, how come, if you're already gone,
the wave is still black and burning me up.

The Earth spreads coffin edges in its shadow.
Listen, you little tramp, don't come back.

My flesh swims, swims
in the cup of shadow that keeps on hurting me;
my flesh swims in it
as in the swampy heart of a woman.

Star coal . . . I've felt
the dry frictions of clay
fall across my diaphanous lotus.
Ah, woman! For you
this flesh of instinct exists. Ah, woman!

So, oh black chalice, even now with you gone
I choke on dust;
and more desires to drink paw inside my flesh.

(trans. from the Spanish by Tony Barnstone and Willis Barnstone)


—César Vallejo

Finished the stranger, with whom, late
at night, you returned to words for words.
Now there won't be anyone who waits for me,
readies my place, good itself ill.

Finished the heated afternoon;
your great bay and your clamor; the chat
with your exhausted mother
who offered us a tea full of evening.

Finally finished everything: the vacations,
your obedience of hearts, your way
of demanding that I not go out.

And finished the diminutive, on behalf of
my majority in the endless ache
and our having been born like this for no cause.

(trans. by Rebecca Seiferle)


—César Vallejo

I'll die in Paris on a rainy day,
a day which I can already remember.
I'll die in Paris—and I won't skip town—
maybe on Thursday, like today, in autumn.

It must be Thursday, since today Thursday, as
I set these lines down, I've put my shoulder bones
on wrong, and never like today have I turned,
with all my road, to see myself alone.

César Vallejo is dead. Everyone beat him
although he didn't do a thing to them;
they beat him hard with a big stick and hard

also with a gross rope; witnesses are
the Thursdays and the crooked shoulder bones,
the lonely solitude, the rain, the roads.

(trans. by Willis Barnstone)


—César Vallejo

In that corner where we slept together
so many nights, now I sit down
to take a walk. The bedstead of the dead lovers
was taken away, or something must have happened.

You came early for other matters
and now you're gone. It's the corner
where beside you I read one night
between your tender nipples
a story by Daudet. It is our lovers'
corner. Don't mistake it.

I've begun to remember the lost days
of summers, your coming and going,
small and fed up and pale in the rooms.

On this rainy night,
already far from them both, suddenly I jump up . . .
They are two doors coming upon, shutting,
two doors that come and go with the wind
shadow         to           shadow.

(trans. by Tony Barnstone and Willis Barnstone)


Today's LittleNip:

The arts (painting, poetry, etc.) are not just these. Eating, drinking, walking are also arts; every act is an art.

― César Vallejo


—Medusa (so now you know where I got this week's SOW...)

—Photo by Katy Brown, who will be reading and 
displaying her photos along with 12 other artist-poets
at The Vox this Saturday at 13X13,
an event sponsored by Rattlesnake Press and WTF,
hosted by frank andrick.
The art pieces will be on display for the rest of April.
Scroll down to the blue box at the right of this for details
of the Vox reading and the other wonderful events
taking place this weekend.