By Jorge Gimeno

Translated by Curtis Bauer

from Issue 23


The sky is so close,
as close as spilled bleach,
it raises the level of the street.

The sky, such a large integument
for the human liver,
for the lungs and biceps

at the point of collapse
from punches, burns,

Blood flows down the street’s sluice.

The pigeons lick the light
with their robotic flight:
sheets of steel,
of aluminum, titanium
overwhelming the eye and its sleep.

Here your mouth fits in my mouth,
laying beside the refrigerator,
beneath a canary that isn’t ours,
its name Farinelli,
clay legs,
its coat robbed from the sun.

My mouth, sphincter of nothingness.
Your mouth, an olive’s dimple.

Here my hand has the honesty
of a greenback,
smudged with chicken scraps, tobacco
and genital juice.

The icons’ butchered dragon
doesn’t fill our stomachs.

Arborescent bloodlines.

The fallen knock over their tree.

A door opens
that doesn’t go to—
it opens
and doesn’t go to.

Easy, too easy, the rose-fig,
while you utter gutturals
and in the porphyry night
Celine Dion scratches the bricks, the floors
paved with Bears:
careful, don’t track the meninges into the world.

A mouth that smells like blood
a sack of chipped bones
a catalog of corneas.

The daylight gets confused, it thinks
                   you are a jihadist
and seeks you out: it smooth talks you, interrogates you, gives you coffee.
A mangy dog wears
the sharp bristles that fall from your face.
A motorcycle swallows your responses.
The coffee has marble veins
                   and hides a cockroach . . .

I kiss—
the hyacinth of your eyes
the jasmine of your lips
the lemon tree of your legs.

My heart has
more doors than a prison.
Neither opened nor closed. Doors.

The city aches
                   from an abscess on its ass,
they lance it in a clinic
by the flame of a cigarette lighter.

We lick a block of ice
until we are no longer thirsty.

We speak until our throats
cast aside their cartilage.

Tanqueray or Bombay? Tolstoy or Dostoevsky?
You can make me drink or read what you want.

The century washes its face
in spring water;

it covers its skull
with dog skin.

The poor icons with their broken glass.
The untidy streets where the shawarmas turn.
The extremely miserly girls.
Their cheap cologne, their sweat
                   a scent that is sex.
The rebuilt motorcycles.

visits everyone,
bald men or fuzzy ones,
the cross eyed woman on this street,
it skips one door.

Everyone wears
spider webs on their fingers.

O sol brilha por si.

The sun, someone punched it
                   and it wobbles
like a hanging light bulb.

Jorge Gimeno, author of the poetry collections Espíritu a saltos (Pre-Textos, 2003) and La tierra nos agobia (Pre-Textos, 2011), is one of the most prominent poets and translators of his generation; although he has published only two books of his own poetry, he is one of Spain’s most significant contemporary poets, and is an unavoidable reference point in Spanish poetry today. In addition to poetry, Gimeno also writes essays and translates from the German, French, Portuguese and English; he has been a professor at the University of Bagdad and Director of the Instituto Cervantes in Fez, Morocco and Lisbon, Portugal. He lives in Segovia, Spain.

Curtis Bauer is a poet and translator; his most recent collection of poetry is The Real Cause for Your Absence (C&R Press, 2013); his recent translations include Eros Is More, by Juan Antonio González Iglesias (Alice James Books, 2014), From Behind What Landscape, by Luis Muñoz (forthcoming from Vaso Roto Ediciones in 2015), and Baghdad and Other Poems, a bilingual chapbook of poems by Jorge Gimeno, forthcoming from Poets@Work Press in 2015. Bauer is the publisher and editor of Q Avenue Press Chapbooks and Broadsides and Spanish Translations Editor for From the Fishouse; he teaches Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Original text: Jorge Gimeno, “Bab Tuma, Bab Zueila, Bab Al-Jalil, Bab Charqui, Bab Buyelud, Bab Al-Nasr, Bab Yaffa, Bab Dimasq” from La tierra nos agobia. Valencia, Spain: Pre-Textos, 2011.

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