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‘Las azucenas’ and other poems by Ana M. Fores Tamayo

By: Ana M. Fores Tamayo

Las azucenas

No tengo lengua para hablar
el ronroneo que cae de las cabezas
en roturas blancas,
negreadas con el reflejo entreabierto del espejo,
lánguido en su eterna soledad.

Arbitraria yo me quedo,
llena y desolada,
sentenciada y llorando,
desorientada en el llegar de más allá
que nunca llega,
y que termina al comenzar.

¿Y que me importan
las palabras
de los dioses encogidos
en esas aguas turbulentas
de ese mismo ciclo otro,
el deseo del infinito abismal
de la obsoleta nada,
de la noche enigmática,
como el día de mañana?

Es entonces que maltratan
las espinas de la sangre envenenada,
que terminan los murmurios
del silencio repugnante,
aunque el cielo no recoja,
con sus azucenas,
los pétalos que se caen aislados,
como lágrimas
en la tierra de un dolor sutil.


An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

Day Lilies

I have no tongue to speak
the purr of falling heads
in waxen ruptures, splintered black,
ajar with the reflection of a mirror,
languid in its eternal solitude.

I stay arbitrary,
full yet desolate,
Sentenced, weeping,
Clueless while reaching a beyond
that never comes,
ending only when it does begin.

What does it matter to me —
Those words
of gods
who lie shrunken
in those storm-tossed waters
of that same yet other cycle,
of that desire for abysmal finite
of that nowhere obsolete,
the enigmatic night,
returned again,
just like tomorrow?

It is then that I mistreat
the thorns of poisoned blood,
ending the murmurs of
emetic silence,
but the sky does not collect —
with day lilies —
the petals that begin to fall
like tears,
in the land of subtle pain.


La viuda negra

Loca lectora de la poesía errante:
¿Quién soy yo,
pintada en el lago azulado del espejo,
reflejada en ese triste vistazo —
intercambio de unos ojos negros,
inocencia vestida en trapos de muerte ajena,
llena de máscaras y mentiras del no ser?

¿Quién me convierte en alma de un pie quebrado
por las fracturadas piezas
de un rompecabezas poco natural? —
¿Eso es una ilusión de lo real,
eterno instante de un cíclico al revés?

No me busco en el río ensangrentado,
ni en los bosques masacrados.
No en las negruras de la negación;
tampoco en las iglesias corrompidas
encontraré el ritual de mi pena ajena.
Dentro de todo se cae la parodia del bruto eterno,
burguesía repugnante que no la encuentro
porque no la quiero imaginar,
vacío angustioso de la nausea,
envenenado por el mal castigo de nuestro Adán.

Veo las torturas de un progreso estilizado
en el espíritu frustrado,
mientras las sombras de la noche deseada
destruyen ilusiones
ya quemadas en el fuego
de una voz sin voz.

Y el mundo —
falsificado en su triunfo tierno —
se disuelve en la nada
de los tejidos imparciales de una viuda negra
que, con sus dedos largos y existenciales,
rompe y desmantela su vestido blanco
sobre un altar abierto,
consagrada por los dioses,
sin alterar alguna voz.


The Black Widow

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

Oh crazed reader of the wandering verses:
Who am I,
painted as a cerulean reflection in a lake view mirror,
echoed in a melancholic gaze —
exchanged for black ebony eyes,
innocence dressed in the rags of foreign death,
filled with masked lies of being and yet nothingness?

Who transforms me into that soul
perpetuating a broken foot,
through each of the fractured pieces
of a stilted puzzle —
Is that the illusion of reality?
¿Or is it the instant moment of an eternal cycle:
could it be the other way around?

I do not look for me in bloody rivers,
or in butchered forests.
Not in the blackness of denial,
nor in the corrupted churches
will I find the ritual of my grief.
Within all falls the parody of bestial eternity,
loathsome bourgeoisie I cannot find
because I have no wish to imagine its conception,
anguished emptiness of nausea,
poisoned always by Adam’s sin.

I see the tortures of a stylized progress
in frustrated spirits,
while the shadows of the night desired
destroy illusions
already burned in the fired
precipice of a voice without a voice.

And the world —
forged in its sentimental triumph —
dissolves into the nothingness
of impartial weavings knitted by a black widow spider
which, with its existential fingers,
breaks and dismantles her waxen dress
on an open altar and
consecrated by the gods,
without altering any voice.


Elegy to a Refugee Girl

The teacher collected the young child’s drawing.
Looking it over, she stared intently
at the little girl’s work:
she saw
a young child, separated by bars.
a large splash of crimson covering the trees she had drawn.
A larger lady in the background faraway,
brown on brown her hair falling wildly
on the page,
so that all she could see
were splashes of sepia with a little green
but much more blood red.
the wild woman seen in the image
had something shackling her ankle,
her face blotched with droplets upon her cheeks.

What did you paint?
the teacher slowly questioned
the young child with the immense, sorrowful eyes.
And the girl looked up, giant eyes tearing,
voice quivering,
repeating softly–
my mami, she whispered.
my mami was taken away.
She flew to the trees there, to the blue in the sky.
She was put in that carcel, you see?
but her spirit flew
like the birds when they soar through the sky, stormy yet safe.

And the teacher stared at the sanguine red, what seemed
to be the color of gore,
and again she gazed inquisitively at the child…

My mami is a rose,
and the wilderness in her spirit breaks free
as she wails for my papi, red blood screaming pain.

Me escondi, a stifled sigh to the teacher.
Tenía miedo…

I hid myself under the cama, the bed skirt muting
my silent shrieks
as I saw my papi’s red sangre spilling from him.
I stayed still and quiet under that bed
afraid they would see me,
those ugly green suits
taking my papi and hitting him, again and again,
so that he
became a scarlet jumble of pain.

my mami had no time to react as those ugly men
took her and threw her on top of me…
they did not know I was hiding under the bed.
But my mami knew, and she tried to be still
as the beasts tore into her, they ripped off her clothes, I think,
they strangled her cries, they heaved themselves
on top of her.
First one, then the other. Then a third.

My mami did not move.
I sang blue songs in my head and listened to the fairy birds
ringing out their tune of love, of my mami and papi
and their love for me…

It was a long time the men were there and my mami not moving.
But finally what seemed to hump and hump and hump again
stopped moving,
and the bad ugly men in their green army suits all splattered with red were gone.

I stayed under the cama, afraid to come out
afraid to have the red stain my hands, sink through my fingers.
so I crawled into myself, staying below.

But finally I felt some movement.
My mami came back from the skies
from the blue heavens with the loros singing…
she did not leave me, she stayed that rosa in the ground
for her baby girl.
my mami stumbled almost falling.
She lowered her body
crawling beneath that cama,
holding me, closely, loving me, touching me to make sure I was real
flesh and bone and not the red of my father,
the body limp without movement.
His eyes — I finally saw — were open wide staring blankly
at nothing. No heaven was open to his
rust stained drip
spilling all over the floor.

I knew my mami was hurt.
I knew it was hard to walk
but we took off, my mami and me,
and we traveled the death roads for heaven
thinking if we made it to el norte, good people would see us and
gather us into their embrace.

How strange it is that I am here in a school while my mami
is jailed for a crime she never committed?
For being forced by some bad bad men and she only trying to save me?
Why is it that others do not see mi dolor, my mami’s ache,
because I weep inside
like a salamander devastated by poison?

The teacher looked at my drawing again, then she looked at me.
I saw her face, too, blotched with droplets upon her cheeks…

Why does she cry like my mami? And will I see my mami again?
Why do these ugly men — now wearing blue suits instead of the green I despise —
take my mami away?
Why have they placed me in this escuela,
in this place with other sad children who
say nothing look at nothing feel nothing
because ellos también tienen miedo?

Please teacher, maestra, take me to my mami.
Don’t let her cry alone, por favor
Don’t let her fly in that cell room forsaken,
let me be with my mami, please.
I don’t want to learn English,
I don’t want fine things if my mami is destroyed in your cell.

the young girl with the immense, sorrowful eyes
voiced long silent stabbings with her muted gaze.

You are killing me, not softly, not kindly, she uttered.



Oda a una niña refugiada

An interpretation, not translation
(because translation is never poetry)

La maestra recogía lo que había dibujado la niñita.
Al verlo, miró fijamente
el trabajo de su pupila:
observó en la página
una pequeña mocosa, separada del mundo por barras.
Una gran capa de carmesí cubriendo los árboles.
Una señora en el fondo lejano,
marrón contra marrón, su cabello salvajemente golpeando
la página.
Solo percibía
retazos de sepia con un poco de verde
y mucho más rojo de sangre.
La indómita mujer que contemplaba en la imagen
tenía un grillete encadenando su tobillo,
la cara manchada de lágrimas.

¿Qué pintaste, corazón?
La maestra preguntaba lentamente
a la pequeña pupila con unos ojos inmensos, tristes.
Y la chiquita levantaba su vista, ojos gigantes, sollozando,
su voz temblorosa
repitiendo suavemente–
mi mami… susurró.
Mi mami fue secuestrada.
Ella voló hacia los árboles allá, hacia el azul celeste del cielo.
A ella la metieron en esa carcel, ¿entiende?
Pero su espíritu se escapó
como los pájaros cuando se elevan hacia el cielo, tempestuosos pero seguros.

Y la maestra contemplaba el rojo sangre, lo que parecía
ser un monstruoso derrame,
y una vez más miraba a la niña curiosamente…

Mi mami es una rosa, decía,
y el desierto en su espíritu se libera
mientras ella llora por mi papi, dolor de sangre y llantos.

Me escondi… susurró un sofocado suspiro a la maestra.
Tenía miedo…

Me escondí bajo la cama, las sábanas cubriendo
mis silenciosos gritos
al ver la sangre escarlata de mi papi.
Me quedé quieta quieta bajo esa cama enorme,
con miedo que me sospecharan,
esos feos trajes verdes
atrapando a mi papi y golpeándolo, una y otra vez,
mientras él
se convertía en un caos de sangre y pena.

Mi mami no tuvo tiempo de reaccionar cuando esos feos hombres
la tiraron encima de mí, la raptaron …
no sabían que yo estaba escondida bajo la cama.
Pero mi mami sí lo sabía, y ella se quedaba quieta quieta
cuando esas bestias le arrancaban la ropa, cuando se la clavaban,
le estrangulaban sus gritos, se lanzaban
encima de ella
Primero uno, luego el otro. Después, un tercero otra vez más.

Y mi mami no se movía.
En silencio, yo cantaba canciones azules y escuchaba a los pájaros,
entonando su melodía de amor, de mi mami y mi papi
y su amor por mí …

Pasó mucho tiempo con esos hombres allí mientras mi mami no se movía.
Finalmente, lo que parecía cascar y cascar y cascar otra vez
dejó de moverse,
y esos grotescos, sus trajes de ejército salpicados de rojo, desaparecieron.

Me quedé bajo la cama, con terror de salir,
con terror de mancharme las manos de sangre, ese rojizo de muerte hundiéndose entre mis dedos.
Huí dentro de mí, enterrándome en las tinieblas de la noche.

Pero finalmente sentí algo de movimiento.
Mi mami regresaba de los cielos,
desde ese horizonte azul con los loros cantando …
ella no me dejó, mi mami; se quedó como esa rosa en la tierra
con su hija adorada.
Sin embargo, se tropezaba, casi caía.
Agachaba su cuerpo,
arrastrándose debajo la cama,
y me sostenía cerquita, amándome, acariciándome, asegurándose que era real,
carne y hueso y no el rojo de mi papi,
su cuerpo sin movimiento.
Sus ojos – finalmente los vi – estaban abiertos, mirando fijamente
a la nada. Ningún cielo quedaba abierto a su
goteo infinito, manchado de óxido,
derramándose por el suelo de piedra.

Sabía que mi mami estaba herida.
Sabía que era difícil caminar
pero igual nos escapamos, mi mami y yo,
y viajamos por los caminos de la muerte hacia el cielo,
pensando que si lográbamos llegar al norte, gente buena
siempre nos acogiera en su abrazo.

¡Qué extraño estando aquí en una escuela mientras mi mami
se encuentra en la cárcel por un crimen que no cometió!
Por haber sido violada y ella ¿solo tratando de salvarme?
¿Por qué es que los demás no ven mi dolor, el dolor de mi madre?
¿Por qué lloro dentro
como una salamandra herida por un veneno siniestro?

La maestra contemplaba mi dibujo, y luego me miraba.
Yo notaba su cara también, sus mejillas manchadas de lágrimas …

¿Por qué llora la maestra igual que mi mami? ¿Y volveré a ver a mi mami?
¿Por qué esos feos — ahora de azul en lugar del verde que odio —
atrapan a mi mami y se la llevan lejos de mi?
¿Por qué me han puesto en este frío colegio,
en este lugar con otros tristes niños que
no dicen nada, no miran nada, no sienten nada
porque ellos también tienen miedo?

Por favor maestra, teacher, lléveme a mi mami.
No la deje llorar sola, oh please …
No la deje volar abandonada en la celda,
déjeme estar con mi mami, le ruego.
No quiero aprender inglés,
No quiero cosas buenas si mi mami cae destruida en su celda.

la niña con los ojos tristes e inmensos
anunciaba agotados silencios
apuñalando esa mirada apagada.

Me están matando, decía. No suavemente, no cariñosamente.
Me están…



The Robin’s Nest

The brilliance of the sun upon a robin’s red,
I hear its singing and I smile
because I do not warble ballads
of celestial nestlings.

I walk my hound dog, gods lightly trampling on my feet
smelling the rose weed, the yucca, the helter-skelter grass.
I pull her tether
and wonder at the parties of closed-in houses and
music floating through the air.

I am not part of them.
I am not part of anyone.
I am not here or other, but everywhere I give of me.
Yet I wonder who really knows
that I feel blue wonder
at the robin’s nest eggs and the
ant hill smothered by the rain.
The loneliness of family dispersed and far away;
the empty words of giving independence.

Proudly my heart breaks at all the awe I feel,
at the blue sky shining sun bright golden beam.
At what all become, at what all have grown.
Yet reminiscence chokes my sentiment
so that I stop, I stifle, I contort and disengage
for just one day,
but then I shake myself free of
oh such nonsense,
and I look at the
birds’ sapphire spectacle, and flabbergasted
at my recollected wistfulness,
I laugh with fascination at the new-laid eggs.


My Sister’s Seashell

the seashells along the shoreline
glistening silver jade,
like rare emeralds of splendor,
beckoned me to bend down and unearth
one delicate husk—
sheen shimmering solitary.

But when I stooped low to wing up its
fragile beauty unto my fingertips,
I realized algae covered the shell,
and softly
the muzzle of green moss
splintered the jewel of its botany,
kingdoms by the sea disintegrating
into broken seaweed—
algae, moss, sand, solitude.

Round shouldered, I plopped down on the isolated beach.

I spread my legs across the marshy sand dunes
and let
the warm caress of ocean tide
trickle through my feet,
my toes emerged in wet.
Yet captivated by the beauty of that sea shell
I captured in my hand,
I scrutinized its worn-out grooves
where I scraped the green away,
I felt the ocean’s depth beneath my touch with
its syncopated beats
sounding centuries of time
if placed beneath my ear.

What memories lay hidden in that chamber?
What recollections of long ago resounded in the echoes
of that stilled yet spellbound crown?

I felt the pull of ancients tugging at my heart,
the ocean tide surrounding me, the torrent circling faster,
the waves of centuries in one emblazoned feat,
when all too suddenly, in my sister’s reverie
she holds her hand out to me,
and I struggle to take it,
my blue-eyed savaged angel with her curls gone wild,
her smile sincere, her grasp too near but yet too far.

Where are you, Sister? Have I lost my way?
Are you now gone forever?

I hear again the rumblings of the ocean waves,
the incantation of that thundering sea,
the tide warping forward.
I peer down to my feet now completely covered by the ebbing water,
the waves splashing frenziedly at my face.
And I stare at the shell,
pulling it away heedlessly from my waterlogged ear,
almost letting it slip awkwardly from my grasp.

But I clutch it, like the treasure it is,
because it links me to my sister’s own belovéd seashell.
This conch transforms me so that I am now with her, inside her gaze.
I stumble toward her, hoping she will accept my humble gift,
this algae covered shell,
glistening like jade in its emerald jacket,
fragile and oh so broken, yet lovely in its
delicate and bruised abandonment,
always filled with that promise of a not forgotten hope.

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