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Articles tagged "Spanish"

Three

I never got the knack of fidelity. Ever since I first experienced pleasure outside the four walls of our tacky bathroom, I’ve continually violated the most sacred pacts of love. At first I put this down to my lack of character or inability to assert my desires in relation to an Other, to have some coherence in my life. How could I enjoy properly transgressive sex without sacrificing Sunday movie nights and breakfasts in bed? How could I keep the excitement of a secret rendezvous but...

Three Microfictions

Machos in the Metro I’m always aware of who’s around me in the metro. For two reasons. One is that I like to snap pics of hot guys without them realizing. I pretend to be texting or browsing Facebook, but I’m actually capturing portraits of raw masculinity: an unshaven square jaw, a bulge at the crotch of some sweatpants, the biceps of a guy holding onto the pole when the car starts to slow down. And it’s an even bigger turn-on because they’re not aware of my...

Trilingual Day of Rain

stone over stone s i l e n c e   il pleut aujourd’hui au Fort Chambly il pleut exactement comme il pleuvait il y a 400 ans il pleut comme il pleuvait il y a 1 400 ans il pleut comme il pleuvait il y a 11 400 ans 11 400 années de pluie as rain falls this afternoon a man in wet clothes stares at stone over stone the low clouds, the rain in s i l e n c e   Louis XVI reinaba en Francia en Nueva Francia llovía sobre las piedras y los bosques sobre la piel del...

The Flowers of War

the flowers of war open at night on boulevard Saint-Laurent a line from Lorca a word from Castellanos a body unharmed by the siege of Sarajevo a bomb that didn’t explode in Hanoi or Baghdad and the sweet lips of women in winter are enough to make dawn bear fruit on this corner on boulevard Saint-Laurent best if you don’t know who you are best if you don’t know where you’re from best if you don’t know where you’re going the boulevard’s flowers in...

The God of Tar and Bone

a man standing on the tracks stares at a train as it advances with a moan of metal and night the iron moves the blind diesel thrusts the siren wails the feverish headlight lights up and splits the chest of the earth and forest but the man stays still before the apparatus still ten meters left and he just stares and stares at the invention that will chop him split him shatter him he lacks no strength or ability     to thrust his body to one side he can jump run dodge save...

Project DreamReal

Herson Tissert Pérez reads “Project DreamReal.”  1 The individual who greeted me in the building’s lobby didn’t much resemble the one pictured in the advertising leaflets. He seemed less physically imposing, and his smile, cordial and welcoming in the leaflets, now struck me as that of a man with some kind of secret to conceal. Nevertheless, my excitement was so great that I followed him unhesitatingly down a network of hallways and staircases until,...

Swimming Upstream

“I don’t like ballet,” the doctor admitted. “OK,” Nicanor said, “but it’s different with me. It’s not that I don’t like sports, it’s that they don’t make any sense to me. Like I wouldn’t understand a salmon explaining why it has to migrate. I just don’t get a stadium full of people screaming with enthusiasm or outrage about eight guys who bang a leather ball around better than the other eight.”...

The Bleeding Hands of Castaways

To my love, the Tramontana wind that shook my life forever. A book is a bottle flung into the sea. I want my books to reach the bleeding hands of  castaways. —Samuel Feijóo I found an old mining asteroid of no interest to anyone, rented it for a few Federation kopeks, and built a bar that matches your eyes, though you’re not here. I searched through the tangle of collapsing tunnels until I came upon exactly the right space, its acoustics perfect for your voice. I...

Interstellar Biochocolate Mousse à la solitaire . . . For Two

For Erelvis Jiménez and Roberto Armas Saladrigas This exquisite dessert, so emblematic of our era of space conquest, dates back to the 2103 recipe by Iljon Tichy, though some detractors of the celebrated cosmonaut refuse to accept this theory on the grounds that there’s no mention of the now-legendary delicacy in any of the many volumes of Tichy’s well-known Star Diaries. Great is human envy . . . and extraterrestrial envy is even greater. What remains undisputed...

Royalty Check

For Elisú   I walk into the bank, check in hand, and ask a security guard whether I can cash it. He takes my question to another man who might be a plainclothes guard, then comes back to tell me 1) that I can indeed cash my check at this branch, and 2) that the computer connections have been going down a lot today. I don’t know exactly what this means in technical terms, but I soon see the practical result: slow at the best of times, the bank is putting its full capacity...

Cinderella’s Secret Dream

Years ago, there was a doctor who lived in our town, a wealthy widower. The only family he had left was a beautiful daughter, blond as beer, named Cleis. He had a bad heart and was worried that he’d die and leave his little girl all alone, so he married his housekeeper, a respectable widow who had two daughters named Lotta and Regan, and who seemed very fond of Cleis. I knew that scheming bitch didn’t love Cleis. Far from it. She hated the poor girl and was just faking it. But...

Nothing to Declare

Father traded his life savings for this hole in the waste-recycling compartment. Of course there’s not much space. Anela, Soulness, and I are getting cramped arms and stiff necks, we’re steeping in each other’s hot breath. But we couldn’t have asked for more from our old man. Trembling, he placed the two mega-credits in the spaceport attendant’s gloved hands. He trembled because he feared our trip would be thwarted and we’d have no chance at a second...

The Scream

“where we are is hell, / And where hell is must we ever be.” —Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus   It is one of those mornings when it’s hard for her to get out from under the sheets, as if her body weighed more than usual. Tons weighing down her arms and each of the hairs on her legs. She rubs her right eye with three slow swipes of the hand, her elbow grazing her husband’s back. He barely stirs; his body, sunk into the mattress, hardly...

Curfew . . .

Overwhelmed by the weight of oblivion, she plunged one leg into the bathtub full of warm water, flowers and leaves that chased away the pain living inside her . . . fortunately, the herbal bath relieved her aching body and the sores spreading across her skin.   Still standing there with one leg navigating the tiny ocean she had designed at the end of the bedroom, she caught a glimpse of the world lying in wait outside her window. Her other leg hung suspended in the surrounding cold; a...

No Euskera

Bilbao rose to meet them, swathed in stagnant drizzle. At the door to the train station, the old woman opened her umbrella and stepped outside, with the girl walking snug against her body. The damp fog blurred the outlines of the city. Objects appeared menacingly distant, and the people seemed to be walking an inch off the ground. The old woman tied her black kerchief under her chin without dropping the basket hung over her arm. She was dressed in an old village woman’s prim mourning...

Daniel Sada’s “One Out of Two”

Daniel Sada’s One Out of Two is a sleeper agent of a book. It is short enough to read in one sitting, but dense enough to resist such a concentrated attack. And so one reads it, lives with it over the course of a distracted week or so, and gets lulled into a sense of comfort with its singular style—only to be hit with the emotional impact days after finishing the book. It is a brilliant, and welcome, act of literary sabotage. The petite 100-page book tells the simple story of...

At Peace

“We die from the moment we’re born, but only say we die when we’ve reached the end of that process, and sometimes that end lasts an awfully long time.” Thomas Bernhard, Breath Mariana Speranza! It’s been four years since I last heard my name. I’d almost forgotten what it sounded like. Someone knocks on the door three times. The last time I heard it was on a Thursday, four years ago, as I was leaving the office. It was my last day of work. I resigned. I...

How We Translate Together

Joshua Beckman and I have translated two books and a handful more poems together from Spanish to English. Through the years our process has evolved, and this is for many reasons, including the source material, our individual approaches to translation, and our conversations on the topic—in other words, our friendship, as letters are woven into its fabric. I want to think through what I’ve learned in our collaboration. The first thing that occurs to me is that our translations...

The Beast Has Died

For Alfredo Brigada Monjaraz and Carlos Pérez-Tejada y Salazar, in memoriam 1872 The bronze bell in the mechanical brain rang, pulling Prince Salm Salm away from the security report he had been reading. There appeared on the spherical screen, which always reminded him of a submarine diving helmet, an electronic message.   Through the window of his office in Chapultepec Castle, he could see a pair of dirigibles slipping like lazy manatees through the clouds that covered the...

The Book of Denial

This story is the worst story in the world—it's just terrible. For those who don't like tragic stories, this book has a happy ending on a page near the end. I recommend you don't keep reading after it. * My mother always told me that there are books that are not for children. I didn't understand this until yesterday, when I secretly read the book my father is writing. * The Book of Denial his book is called . . . but, it wasn't because of the title that I...

I’m not going to talk

I’ll talk about something else never that I’m not going to tell you enough! I’m going to draw this subtle paradise of paper that doesn’t mention lice or dreams a look back at a brief childhood I’m going to talk about hammocks and rosaries I assume you don’t pray and you never slept in a hammock yesterday tomorrow never I won’t keep a tally bruises that go away go inwards to explode again in the faces of children your children and ad eternum...

[the nail fell]

the nail fell, making the floor shriek i aim to fix the hole by filling it with paper wad it up a little and stuff it in it can’t fail i push it in deeper it falls through, into a void i try again but with bigger paper it falls through i write tiny poems and toss them into the new mailbox on my wall i explain the lack of plaster to whomever might see it:   children who fall from bed latent madness the freedom of abandonment...

Some Other Zoo

It was as though she knew exactly where she had to go, as though it was an agreed appointment. She raised her arm to take my hand, pulled gently—she did almost everything gently—and I followed her. She led me to her mother’s car (her mother was not around), and I helped her up into the child seat. “So, off to the zoo.” “Yes,” she said. “Eagle! Lion!” The zoo seemed to be empty. Alone, in the middle of the main path, a roadsweeper was...

Paranoid City

“Did you hear that noise?” the woman whispered, leaning on one elbow in bed, and opening her eyes wide. “What noise?” her husband asked sleepily. “It sounds like it’s coming from the yard. There’s someone on the roof, or in the kitchen,” she said fearfully. “Get up. Go check on the kids, while I get my pistol,” he ordered in a hushed voice and woke up entirely. While the woman quickly tiptoed to the children’s room the...

Raspberries

Papá gave me this notebook. It’s so you can draw life, he told me from bed, and write, when you learn how to write, he said, his eyes sunken deep, as I played on the rug. He gave me the notebook because I told him about the bird that crossed the street at the crosswalk and about the red spider with little antennas. Spiders don’t have antennas, he said, smiling, and I said this one did, it was probably a different insect, he said, and I replied that it was not, that it...

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