The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

Jair Cortés: Poetry in Translation

Poetry by Jair Cortés (Mexico)

From Dispersaría. 

Translated by Don Cellini (USA)

Published in issue 39 of The Ofi Press

 
Fósiles (iii)/ Fossils (III)

Fósiles (iii)

 

Tarde se descubre la primera arruga.

Tarde, demasiado tarde,

cuando demasiado es un don en lo fugaz.

Tarde es en la nuca

de quien se recuesta para morir profundo

sobre el pecho de su tumba.

 

  Fossils (III)

 

The first wrinkle was discovered late.

Too late,

when too late is a fleeting gift.

Late is in the nape of the neck

of the one who lies down for a deep death

on the breast of his grave.

 

Fósiles (i)/ Fossils (I)

Fósiles (i) 

Para Omar Martínez Verde

 

 

Atardecemos.

El arco de la luz se disuelve lento.

¿Qué son las alas y para qué sirven?

 

Por la piel escurre el ámbar,

la edad que llegará cuando dejemos el frio en simple sensación,

cuando los trópicos existan sólo para los hijos de nuestros hijos,

cuando el dinosaurio sea la escama de la tierra

y nosotros fósiles,

cuna de petróleo;

acaso cuna de nostalgia.

 

  Fossils (I)

 

 

 

We become dusk.

The arc of light slowly dissolves.

What are wings and what are they for?

 

Amber drains through the skin,

an age will come when we give in to the simple sensation of cold,

when the tropics exist only for the children of our children,

when the dinosaur is a scale of the earth

and we fossils,

cradle of oil;

perhaps cradle of nostalgia.

 

Fósiles (iv)/ Fossils (IV)

 Fósiles (iv)

 

Dicen que las alas son un instante,

una mueca gris,

tardía

y son quizá el destino vegetal de la libélula,

los brazos de una nave antigua,

los remos de la barca perdida en el fallido cálculo

            de su destino.

 

Yo digo que las alas

en algún tiempo fueron campanas,

volaron alto

y descendieron para morir en los oscuros pozos.

 

Yo digo que las alas no existen,

porque la tarde es un instrumento de la memoria para recordar la vida.

Un espejismo.

Una silueta en el colmo de la mente.

 

Dicen que las alas son quizá el último beso en la frente del naufrago.

 

Dicen de las alas,

 

y de nosotros,

    viejos sueños,

fósiles y sin alas,

nadie,

nadie dirá nada.

 

 

Fossils (IV)

They say that wings are but an instant,

a grey grimace,

late

and perhaps the vegetable destination of the dragonfly,

the arms of an ancient ship,

the oars of the boat lost in the failed calculation

    of its destination.

 

I say that wings

at one time were bells,

that flew high

and came down to die in dark wells.

 

I say that wings don’t exit,

because evening is an instrument of memory to recall life.

A mirage.

A silhouette in the height of the mind.

 

They say that wings are perhaps the final kiss on the forehead of the

 shipwrecked sailor.

 

They say that about wings,

 

and all of us,

    old dreams,

fossils and without wings.

No one,

no one will say anything.

About the Poet

Jair Cortés was born in Calpulalpan, Tlaxcala, Mexico in 1977.  Poet, translator and essayist.  Professor of Mexican Literature at the Benemérita Autonomous University of Puebla.  He began his literary activities during his adolescence in Txpan, Veracruz.  Currently he is a columnist for the cultural supplement La Jornada Weekly with the paper La Jornada.  He has received grants from the Mexican Foundation for Literature (2003-2004) and from the National Fund for Culture and Arts (2009-2008 and 2009-2010)  His work has been published in both print and electronic media with both national and international circulation and it has been included in various Mexican and Latin American anthologies.  He is the author of A la Luz de la sangre (1999), Tormental (2001), Dispersario (2001), Contramor (2003) Caza (for which he received the National Poetry Prize “Efraín Huerta” 2005) and Enfermedad de Talking (2008).  His book Historia solar won the 55th Juegos Florales Nacionales de Ciudad del Carmen in 2013.  He is a translator of contemporary Brazilian poetry and, with Mario Bojórquez and Alí Calderón, founded the digital review Círculo de Poesía (www.circulodepoesia.com). His works have been translated into several languages including Portuguese, Nahuatl, English, Maya, Yucatecan Maya, Tsotsil, French and Catalan.

Image of fossil by Antoni Lacasa-Ruiz.