Translated by Curtis Bauer
They weren’t the ferruginous hands of palm trees
scratching the sky crazily
—the dates splattered with red.
Nor the sweet consumption on its pedestal
with its old serge jacket
and the turntable needle stuck in its arm.
Nor the patios black with oil
and the blood of the black bishops,
dead without any morphine’s aid.
I’m going to love you as much as I loved you.
I will be selfish.
I want to get you back
brick by brick.
I hope the garlic of your testicles
impregnates everything once again.
Lay down beneath one of your bridges, the ugliest one,
and let your river taunt time
and the poet toast with me,
the one with the golden curls and eyes like wine,
the one who said:
“Her love’s fire scorched me twice,
first my bones and later my insides.”
Let there be onion in my dreams and grass on my breast.
Let the white teeth of your girls bite.
Let your men have tobacco.
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, “Baghdad” from La tierra nos agobia. Valencia, Spain: Pre-Textos, 2011.