Me parece que el traducir de una lengua a otra es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el revés, que aunque se ven las figuras, están llenas de hilos que las oscurecen, y no se ven con la lisura y tez del haz; y el traducir de lenguas fáciles, ni arguye ingenio ni elocución, como no le arguye el que traslada ni el que copia un papel de otro papel––dijo don Quijote.
Y aún así le dije a Enrique Fierro, simpatizante de los rinocerontes––Tomemos prestada la pelota de ping-pong de nuestros amigos Lorenzo y Margarita, y aquí escribámonos y traduzcámonos el uno al otro. Pero, tejamos reversos, traducciones traidoras, como falsos amigos, des faux amis que se miran, pero no se reconocen.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two Saturdays past I had an encounter in Forest Books with a 1969 selection of Nicanor Parra's Poems and Antipoems pieced together by a team of translators from City Lights. This was San Francisco, where nowadays my friend Nicholas Bacuez sits peacefully in the brisk air whisking his tea. That night, the bookkeeper, a man of Zen, tended to his shelves and to us, his only two clients, by practicing his classical guitar. We were witnesses to the stopping and starting of an instrument feeling its way forward. Undocumented modesty. Music thinking. Solitude. Ferlinghetti forging I'm the individual from Parra's verse. And here, in his temple, this man's silence silenced the men yelling Stella outside beside the bar. Darkness fell over the streets of the Mission. Allison picked us up in the car and she drove us home.

It's been a long month often interrupted with well-wishing. So much luck to so many writers whose first books are sowing clouds with their first titles: some harsh and thundering–like nube, others welcoming, caressing our hand–like nuage. But each one still a coffin, like errata, Uribe might say. And then suddenly Fierro wrote to us again. Here, this infernal invention, lacking in titles, deviously feigns host to his still lifes, his style of lists filled with friends and acquaintances. Blossoms from a fertile memory not lost. He presents us his self-portraits painted with people wilted, wilting, and not. And we remember they exist, and he exists, and we wait for him to make more, more entries, eventually dropping those quotation marks from about the word, a sign of his technical dexterity.

On the plane, when life was again descending into the flames of Texas, I met Miss Jordana, therapist of brains and feelings, Quevedo might say, and her radiant Theo shining like little Elías, and they both made me doubt the words of that devastated Bolaño character quoting Nietzsche who had told me, Being alone makes you stronger. He surely couldn't have meant the solitude of unconsciousness brought on by a desperate hug about the neck of a poor horse in Carlo Alberto Square. Or the solitude of lament who desperately throws their hug about the neck of a red cow statue on Lavaca Street. So to whom do we owe our insanity? To a brain always practicing, like a blind man going hoarse believing he's breaking the silence by whispering his need of feelings at passers-by? To Ferlinghetti forging soliloquies from streetcars and second story poetry sections? Come on, nuage! You and I should be thinking louder, letting raindrops scratch our throats and sting our eyes with their unstoppability. Too soon our August 25, 1900 rolls around and there are no more silences for us to whisper.

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