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from the September 2021 issue


"0" is one of two winning poems selected by Airea D. Matthews for the 2021 Words Without Borders—Academy of American Poets Poems in Translation Contest. Don't miss Lauri García Dueñas and Olivia Lott on Monday, September 27 at the Brooklyn Book Festival.


Words Without Borders · Poems in Translation Contest: "0," by Lauri García Dueñas, tr. Olivia Lott

Listen to Olivia Lott read her translation of Lauri García Dueñas's "0" 


a cold zygote lives in my heart oblivion has your shadow you know how to count the stairs between us you know at what point i begin to boil they took the tops off the manholes on my street today i was the same as always today the woman you never see break into folds a porn star of feelings who wants to smash open a piñata the city lingers in its broken wires the men on the street are ghosts who wander around mine is an untimely escape i learn to reject your daily punishment the oppressor feeds on the pain of the defeated the defeated are going to rise up the boy dogs know about the howling but the girl dogs yell too nothing is absolute in the animal kingdom i have to get out of here the lack of movement is killing me i wasn’t born to be a sedentary figure collecting holes and blood i want to sleep surrounded by the streetlights on alameda central on a caribbean island i trace my enumeration in notebooks i make plans for what i want to write i’m naive and i want to devour the world with a bang man fleeing on a bicycle fleeting excuses for the same certainty delirium of you unwillingly over my flesh the victim’s face in your hand my victim face in your hand i want to snap the umbilical cord tying us together i’m tired of being half of your uncertainty the sisyphean madness of not repeating the course i’m going to throw stones i’m going to stone the old woman who found her way into my arteries trespasser i don’t want to keep on bleeding out my reborn i is going to break the chains of centenary torture i’m going to fight primeval fascism this time this time i’m going to breathe cry stockpile mutinous springs lacustrine landscapes maritime landscapes the neighbor has bedroom problems my issues are more complicated than a sheet with five corners how many people fit in a moldy relationship existence is god making a face i don’t like his jokes you have to put the body in writing the body in writing the body uproot thought the new man’s downfall you have to burn the old clothes turn thirty go on a trip kill time once and for all float naked with somebody in green fountains walk barefoot on pavement become beggars so as to stop the suffering to blow up the past present-day paradise dragged along by deluge come clean the kitchen pay the bills sleep with me to the rain looming over mexico city open your jaws for us make kids laugh dogs bark straightforward metaphors of us i lost the gas tap i lost all that we were don’t say memory to me let’s not say dying i’m hungry night is vengeance i say celestial noise and the sky over the city is crashing down

© Lauri García Dueñas. Translation © 2021 by Olivia Lott. All rights reserved.

Click here to listen to poet Lauri García Dueñas read this poem in the original Spanish

Read more from the September 2021 issue
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