Así que vos deciles a las chicas que volví (Jay Jay Johanson)

Estuve dando vueltas. Me fui de vacaciones.
Viajé sin equipaje hasta alcanzar por fin
mi último destino. Y ahora vuelvo a casa.
Así que vos deciles a las chicas que volví.
Advertiles, mejor, que se anden con cuidado.
Quizá salgan corriendo o intenten esconderse;
yo voy a estar ahí y voy a hacer lo mío.
Deciles a las chicas que estoy de nuevo en casa.
Y si será verdad que todas me extrañaron
desde que decidí irme, yo no lo sé.
Podría ser tu amigo o tu desconocido.
También podría ser ése del que tu mamá dijo
que era un peligro. Ahora depende de vos;
así que andá diciéndoles que volví a las chicas.


Traductor invitado



It was approaching daybreak.
After working to pull away the rock,
since time and not material
was what had borne upon it,
they heard a gentle voice
calling me, like a friend
calling a man left back,
tired from the journey and with darkness falling.
There was a lingering silence.
That’s how the ones who saw it say it was.

I don’t remember much beyond the strange
cold that bloomed its way up
from the deep earth, and rising with the anguish
of half-sleep, slowly moved
toward the chest and awoke it,
where it insisted with some glancing blows,
eager for its own turn to tepid blood.
Inside my body throbbed
a living pain, or else a pain I dreamed.

It was this life again.
And when my eyes cracked open,
it was the dawn that spoke
the truth. Because those hungry
faces were mute above me,
biting some blurry dream, the clear inferior
of the real miracle, like sullen flocks
that serve the rock and disregard the voice,
and I could hear the sweat drop from their foreheads
and fall among the grasses like a burden.

Someone murmured some words
about regeneration.
Although there wasn’t any mother’s blood
nor germinated womb
that makes a painful life with brand-new pain.
Only broad bandages and linens, yellow
with a dense odor, stripped
the flesh as gray and soft as too-ripe fruit;
not the terse, shadowed body, rose of longings,
rather the body of a son of death.

The red sky opened, reaching toward the distance,
beyond the olive trees and darkened hills;
the air was still and tranquil.
But the bodies were trembling,
like the trees blown by wind,
emerging from the night with arms outstretched
to offer me their own aseptic ardor.
I was struck through with shame before the light
and sank my forehead in the dust to feel
the indolence of death.

I longed to close my eyes,
to seek the boundless shadow,
the primordial darkness
that keeps its spring unseen below the world,
soaking its memory, flushing out the shame.
When, from the bowels of me, a battered soul
yelled, through the darkened corridors and rooms
of my own body, bitter and distorted,
until colliding with the wall of bones
and stirring fevered tides throughout the blood.

The one who held in hand
the lantern as a witness to the miracle,
abruptly killed the flame,
because the day was with us.
A sudden shadow struck.
I saw, profound below a forehead, eyes
full of compassion, and found a soul, trembling,
where my soul copied itself out, immense,
around this love, this master of the world.

I saw two feet that marked the limit of life itself,
a tunic’s hem, the cloth uncolored, folded,
draping down, almost brushing
the grave, as would a wing,
incited as it rose beyond the light.
Again I felt the dream and the absurdity
and the mistake of having life, of living,
of being aching flesh each day that passes.
But he had called my name
and there was nothing I could do but follow.

And so, now on my feet, I moved forth silently,
despite how strange and futile it all seemed
as I passed by: they’d had to carry me
this way, in death, to bring me to the earth.
The house was far away:
again I saw the whiteness of its walls,
the cypress in the orchard.
Over the terrace hung a pallid star.
Inside, we found no fire in the hearth
left overlaid with ashes.

Everyone sat around him at the table.
The bread was stale to me, and bland the fruit,
the water lacking freshness, the bodies undesiring;
the word fraternity rang flat and false,
and from the image left of love were left
only vague memories beneath the wind.
He understood that everything was dead
in me, that I was dead
walking among the dead.

There at his right, I looked
like any man returned to celebration.
His hand lay close; I leaned forward
and pressed my brow against it,
disgusted with my body and my soul.
And so I begged in silence, as one begs
of God, because his name,
vaster than temples, than oceans, than stars,
fits in the sorrow of a man alone,
vigor for carrying this life once more.

I begged like this, and wept,
for strength to bear my deferential ignorance,
working, and neither for my life nor spirit,
but for a truth in those eyes that interrogates
now. For beauty is patience.
I realize that the lily of the field,
after its humble darkness all those nights,
its long wait underground,
from straight green stalk to white corolla,
breaks through one day in a triumphant glory.