There is no theorem
just the combination
10,000 years of going with digressions:
I write regguetones, forget the variation.
There is no theorem
from the mist itself
the primates descend in search of phonemes
can create regguetones
and invite the system.
There is no theorem
with the mist itself
the songs the poems
sing themselves
everything I hear seems to be a slogan
to be or not to be, I think therefore I am
god loves you, and if the fish don’t bite?
Just paddle
all things in moderation and the moderation addles.
There is no theorem
the ocean mist itself
puts surf into the philosopheme:
syntagma of granite
conceive of your problem
as a single law stained infinite
that says what it says
and what it says, is flame.

© Omar Pérez. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by Kristin Dykstra. All rights reserved.

No hay teorema
es la misma suma:
10 000 años andando por las ramas:
escribo reguetones y olvido el tema.
No hay teorema
de la misma bruma
bajan los primates a buscar fonemas
haga reguetones
convide al sistema.
No hay teorema
con la misma espuma
se hacen las canciones
los poemas
todo lo que escucho me parece un lema:
ser o no ser, pienso luego existo
dios te ama, y si no pican?
todo con medida y la medida trema.
No hay teorema
es la misma bruma
la que pone espuma en el filosofema:
sintagma de granito
concibe tu problema
como una sola ley teñida de infinito
que dice lo que dice
y lo que dice, quema.

Omar PérezOmar Pérez

Omar Pérez grew up in Havana, the city where he was born in 1964, and earned a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Havana in 1987. By his early twenties he had become an active participant in the city’s varied cultural scenes. His poetry and essays routinely appear in anthologies of new Cuban writing. Pérez is the author of four poetry collections: Algo de lo Sagrado (1996), Oíste hablar del gato de pelea? (1999), Canciones y letanías (2002), and Lingua Franca (forthcoming). A book of essays, La perseverancia de un hombre oscuro, earned him Cuba’s National Critics’ Prize for that genre in 2000. He is also a translator with numerous publications ranging from Shakespeare to Creeley and Komunyakaa, as well as Italian and Dutch writings. Currently Pérez is a percussionist for dance-theater performances, and his interest in artistic collaboration informs recent writing projects. Translations of his poems appear in Washington Square, boundary 2, Origin~Longhouse, Mandorla, The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry, and elsewhere; Jacket 35 carries an extensive feature on Pérez.

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Kristin DykstraKristin Dykstra

Kristin Dykstra’s translations and commentary are featured in bilingual editions of books by Reina María Rodríguez and Omar Pérez, among them Did You Hear about the Fighting Cat?, Something of the Sacred, Time’s Arrest, and Violet Island and Other Poems.  She is a 2012 NEA Literary Translation Fellow.  Dykstra recently completed a mixed-genre book by Rodríguez, Other Letters to Milena, as well as poetry collections by Ángel Escobar and Juan Carlos Flores.  Samples of her recent work appear in Review:  Literature and Arts of the Americas, Asymptote, Bombay Gin, La Habana Elegante, and theHarvard Review.  She co-edits Mandorla:  New Writing from the Americas with Gabriel Bernal Granados (Mexico City) and Roberto Tejada (Dallas).