Translated by Grady C. Wray
2323 STRATFORD AVENUE
I wake up, and I get up.
I go to the window, and I look outside.
It’s snowing, and it’s still early.
Cars covered with snow,
empty streets and a shiny, metallic light
like it was projected
from the ground. I look around me,
a small apartment, but cheap;
second-hand furniture, books
on the floor and hot coffee on top of a messy table,
and a blank page.
I think I’d like to write a poem
only to say it’s snowing.
I try to think about Chile,
and nothing comes to mind
because there’s nothing to think about.
Outside it’s snowing,
that’s it; in Chile it doesn’t snow.
It’s simply snow covering the streets
in silence, like a blank page
no one has yet written, it’s Cincinnati,
winter’s just beginning.
It’s me and this country.
SOMEONE WHO LOOKED LIKE ME
Someone who looked like me,
someone who has come to this point
only to say “good bye” and “good day.”
Someone who really looked a lot like me
has worn my first name, my last name
and a little like endocrine and physical matter
has gone out on the street
all sensation, all sensorial thought,
pronouncing sad words
as if they weren’t sad but happy,
and I’ve seen him run away quickly,
all dramatic and exaggerated,
like when I too am dramatic and exaggerated.
That someone who looked so much like me
has left another person’s shell behind, an unpostponable double’s,
his home made of air and hard strangeness,
and understanding my momentary desperation,
knowing that days come to me horizontally and decidedly,
he’s come out of my mouth, silent like a mute bell;
he’s taken me by surprise, sprouting out
on every side, like he was giving birth to me
and I, very maternal and like a lady of high society,
have let myself be robbed when he raised his hand
victoriously and said: “Good bye” and “Good day.”
*The translation of “2323 Stratford Avenue” was published in World Literature Today‘s (WLT) online issue. Both poems are excerpts from the collection 2323 Stratford Ave (Uqbar Editores, 2012).
Marcelo Rioseco (Chile 1967). Poet, narrator, and author of Ludovicos o la aristocracia del universo (Editorial Universitaria, 1995), El cazador y otros relatos (LOM Ediciones, 1998), among others.