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A Tonalist Poetry Feature

Dolores Dorantes

from «Dear Factory»

translated by Jen Hofer

SECTION ONE



Tengo un pie arrancado y puesto sobre esta oscuridad. Tengo otro pie desnudo. Prefiero dormir en esta tierra.

No pensar en el aliento largo de las vocaciones. Tuve una vocación, pero la vocación me atormentaba: soñar

(La boca era toda mía cuando tú me besabas pero ¿qué te hicieron, amor?)

Tuve el desierto y sólo tengo un pie desnudo. Un pie que no camina. Un pie por el que se encienden

las misericordias y las dudas.

Tú me viste a los ojos antes de preguntar “¿por qué?”. Tú tejías estruendos con un arco. Imaginé:

¿Por qué tus ojos están llenos de sangre? ¿Por qué se levantó una fuerza? Tú pronunciaste “trabajar”.

La sangre se congela. En tu invierno sólo hay alegres copos que reviven. Alegres caminatas. Creaciones.

Yo te escribo desde donde todo camino es hacia abajo. Yo te escribo entrando en una fosa

para venir a verte.

*

CONDÚCENOS

*

Casa voy a llamarle a esta boca abierta

*

I have one foot uprooted and placed upon this darkness. I have another foot naked. I prefer to sleep in this land.

Not to think about the long breath of vocations. I had a vocation, but my vocation tormented me: to dream

(The mouth was entirely mine when you were kissing me but — what did they do to you, love?)

I had the desert and I have only one foot naked. One foot that doesn’t walk. One foot

by which compassions and doubts ignite.

You looked in my eyes before you asked “why?” You were knitting thunderous noise with a bow. I imagined:

Why are your eyes filled with blood? Why was a force raised up? You uttered “to work.”

Blood freezes. In your winter there are only happy clots of snow that come to life again.

Happy walks. Creations.

I write you from the place where all paths lead downward. I write you entering a grave

to come to see you.

*

TRANSPORT US

*

House is what I’ll call this open mouth

*

Esto no va más allá de algún vestido al que

tenemos que buscarle los zapatos o

una noche que esconde su más preciada estrella tras la quemadura y

es ese fuego al que nos gusta entrar para mirarnos el corazón de despedidos

y desposeídos

que una época que no pudo borrarse arrastró con nosotros como

arrastra el mar un mar espeso sumergido en lo oscuro

Cada paisaje hirviendo recubre lo que fuimos tomando

muy a pecho y que ya es hora

de contarlo como si hubiera números para una decadencia recubierta de centros moribundos

Porque

hay que alinear los cadáveres con los que te pretendo hay

que apilar los crímenes para alcanzar la carne de un corazón que no batalla como tú

                                                                             tú: un corazón sin remos

*

This doesn’t go any farther than some dress for which

we have to find the right shoes or

a night that hides its most precious star behind the burn and

it’s that fire we like to enter to give ourselves a look at the heart of those dismissed

and dispossessed

that an era that couldn’t be erased dragged us along with it as

the sea is dragged by a dense sea submerged in darkness

Each seething landscape laid over what we were taking

very much to heart and that it’s time now

to tell it as if there were numbers for a decadence overlaid with dying centers

Because

we must line up the cadavers with which you I attempt we

must pile up the crimes to reach the flesh of a heart that doesn’t struggle like you

                                                                             you: a heart with no oars

*

Tu cielo también es una fosa                                             Tu cielo es también la sepultura

Un transcurso hirviendo y calculado

Un territorio estéril aparente donde brota una vista

Con la vista te toco y son tus ojos los que mueven mi tacto y

(recostada de espaldas en la tierra) es la herida también lo que te busca

*

Your sky is also a grave                                            Your sky is also the burial place

A passage of time seething and calculated

A sterile apparent territory where a view buds

With vision I touch you and what moves my touch are your eyes and

(reclining with its back against the earth) what seeks you is also the wound

*

No pueden prender una cadena en la carne que conoce la lluvia

de tu doloroso metal, amor

Eso

carece del vuelco natural donde te aplauden sólo

ciertos cadáveres con los que te pretendo, vida

me acerco a ti para atestiguar mi descomposición (pero te supe)

tras el vidrio en mis ojos supe

que tú estabas tranquila

Que tú estabas tranquila también es un color

el gris que únicamente veo desde tu silla

el gris verdoso que no puedo dejar porque

en él está tu forma y mi presencia

y mi presencia sólo ahí se encuentra como tú

Como tú que casi muero y me haces respirar

Como tú en la silla del placer distraído donde también se sienta

el zumbido de un látigo rector                                                                  el zapato

que oprime mi cabeza y hunde mi paladar diente por diente, amor

Como tú que estabas tranquila también es la ceniza de esta sangre como tú

también es el océano genital de esta conquista

*

They can’t fasten chains on flesh that knows the rain

of your painful metal, love

That thing

lacks the natural jolt where they applaud you alone

certain cadavers with which I attempt you, life

I draw near you to witness my decomposition (but I knew you)

behind the glass in my eyes I knew

that you were calm

That you were calm is also a color

the grey I only see from your chair

the greenish grey I can’t leave behind because

in it is your form and my presence

and only there my presence locates itself like you

Like you that I almost die and you make me breathe

Like you in pleasure’s chair distracted where also sits

the crack of a governing whip                                                                  the shoe

that oppresses my head and buries my palate a tooth for a tooth, love

Like you that you were calm is also the ash of this blood like you

also is the genital ocean of this conquest

*

Un accidente cruzó zumbando la imaginación con la que te recuerdo:

                                                                                                               Vi la sangre

(aquí pasa algo que no sé)

aquí pasa una mano oscura que te sujeta el cuello, princesa

que te arrodilla, vida

“Para que te acuerdes de mis muertos

Para que te amarres de espaldas a mis mares muertos y escuches

su respiración sin ver                                  y esperes otro

galope de mar                       y otro

golpe de mar                       y otro (que pase algo, amor)”

que pase

                                  (caliente igual que tu zumbido)

*

An accident crackling across the imagination with which I remember you:

                                                                                                               I saw the blood

(something I don’t know is occurring here)

here a dark hand occurs that grasps your neck, sugar

that brings you to your knees, life

“So you remember my dead

So you bind yourself with your back to my dead seas and you listen

to their breathing without seeing                       and you await another

gallop of the sea            and another

wallop of the sea            and another (that something might occur, love)”

might occur

                                  (hot just like your whip-crack)

*

Te he visto herido como en el túnel del pasado

Donde no quedó pan ni vino y el amor, amor

brotó en la tubería como agua donde metimos la cabeza (ya)

para poner un cuerpo entero sobre el cuerpo de cada nuestro viejo amor muerto (ya)

en la superficie de cada corazón de máquina del tiempo esa

montaña de bocas nadadoras ese

océano de sangres revueltas

*

I’ve seen you wounded, as in the tunnel of the past

Where there was no longer any bread nor wine and love, love

was budding in the pipes like water where we had put our head (now)

to put an entire body upon the body of each our old dead love (now)

on the surface of each heart of the time machine that

mountain of swimming mouths that

ocean of bloods jumbled together

*


Dolores Dorantes

Dolores Dorantes

Dolores Dorantes lives in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, where she is founding director of the border arts collective Compañía Frugal. She works as site director of the border office of Documentación y Estudios de Mujeres, A.C. (DEMAC), dedicated to promoting autobiographical writing among women in marginalized communities. She has published three books of poetry — Poemas para niños, SexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre — as well as the epistolary book Lola: Cartas Cortas. Translations of her work into English are forthcoming in Aufgabe, Mandorla and OR. Books 1–4 of the lifelong sequence Dolores Dorantes will be published by Kenning Editions in 2011. She updates her blog regularly: www.dorantes.blogspot.com.

 
Jen Hofer

Jen Hofer

Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, and urban cyclist. Her most recent books are a series of anti-war-manifesto poems titled one (Palm Press, 2009); sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, a translation from Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008); The Route, a collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Atelos, 2008); and lip wolf, a translation of lobo de labio by Laura Solórzano (Action Books, 2007). She teaches at CalArts, Goddard College, and Otis College, and works nationally and locally as a social justice interpreter. She can be reached through www.jenhofer.net

 
 
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