from Broken nails illustrious curs the wind
by Juan Gelman, translated by Lisa Rose Bradford








La acción lírica

teniendo en cuenta sus desastres íntimas destrucciones y asia áfrica américa latina caras caídos en la lucha cuba que obliga a respirar el poeta se entrega a sus ciclones carga sus rabias consecuentes en general el gran lirismo va y degüella esperanzas sentadas sonríen con sus bobas


 

Lyrical action

keeping in mind its disasters intimate destruction and asia africa latin america faces casualties in the struggle cuba obliging one to breathe the poet abandons himself to his cyclones primes his generally coherent rage the great lyricism goes and slits the throat of hope seated there laughing herself silly


Celda 4

eugenio el tierno duerme casi huido mientras los que engendran tempestades ni idea tienen del precio que pagarán por su cabeza brillando pálida en la celda su luz cayendo sobre descendientes que tampoco sabrán cómo era eugenio cuando ardía y con su cucharita espantaba las bestias


Cell  #4

eugene the tender sleeps nearly fled while those who engender tempests have no clue to the price they will pay for his head shining pale in the cell its light falling upon those descendants who will also be blind to what eugene was like when he smoldered and with his teaspoon warded off the beasts
 


Hechos

la mujerona miente la dulce mujerona miente miente otra vez juega
con mis testículos como un niño con piedras secretas en la playa


Deeds

this broad is lying this sweet breadth of a broad lies telling lies again playing
with my testicles like a child with a secret cache of pebbles at the shore

 


El presidente

una asamblea de caballos me designaba presidente subrayando mi
gran habilidad en clavar los talones en sus dichas pudendas


The President

a foregathering of horses appointed me as their president
underscoring my great talent for digging my heels into their bliss-
ful pudenda


Clic

había una vez un perro vertical un pájaro de alcohol un suave tiro que sonaba detrás del espectáculo y tristezas tristezas tu memoria como bestia animal royéndome la panza tus besos opulentos inventándome nombres todavía.


Click
         
once upon a time there lived a perpendicular dog a liquor bird a soft gunshot fired
backstage and pain pain your memory resembling a vicious beast gnawing at my guts your lavish kisses concocting names for me still.


 


 

 

 

 

 


Lisa Rose Bradford has published three book-length translations of Juan Gelman’s verse, one of which, Between Words: Juan Gelman's Public Letter (Coimbra Editions, 2010), received the National Translation Award. She teaches comparative literature at the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata.

 

Argentine poet-in-exile Juan Gelman (1930-2014) was born of Jewish Ukrainian parents in Buenos Aires and grew up amid a myriad of languages, acquiring a fascination for words early on in life. Author of more than 20 books of poetry, he has received numerous prizes including the prestigious Premio Cervantes. Poet, journalist and translator in Argentina, Spain, France, and Italy, he recently passed away in Mexico City.