The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

Julio Cesar Toledo: 5 Poems Published in Translation

Suplencias para el nombre del padre. Julio César Toledo.  Consejo Estatal para las Culturas y las artes de Chiapas, México. 2008.  


This book was awarded the Rodulfo Figueroa Regional Poetry Prize in 2008.  Toledo received an undergraduate degree in cultural science at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana and another in theatre from the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, both in Mexico City.  His master’s degree is in literature from the University of Aarhus in Denmark.  In addition to this work, he has published two other books of poems: Del silencio and Quicio and one theatre piece: Hombre, mujer y perro.  His poetry has also been widely anthologized.

Poems translated by Don Cellini (USA)

Father/ Son                 Padre/Hijo

 

 

Father/son


Assuming a name for you,

you are the sum of endless afternoons alone

in which I imagined

first your voice

then your body trying desperately

for a hug.

 

 

Padre/hijo


Suponer un nombre para ti

que eres la suma de interminable tardes a solas

en las que me daba por imaginar

primero tu voz,

luego tu cuerpo intentando con desesperación,

un abrazo.

Son/ father             Hijo/ padre

 

 

Son/Father


Assuming a name for you is to arrange

anger in a unique

lament

capable of making the world continue

on its convulsive sob that never explodes.
 

 

Hijo/padre


Suponer un nombre para ti es ordenar

la rabia en un lamento

único

capaz de hacer que el mundo siga

en su convulso palpitar que nunca estalla.

 

Templo            Templo

 

 

Temple


All the temples are in ruins.

That’s why you see me

fall apart when you walk by.

 

 

Templo


Todos los templos son ruinas.

Por eso ves

desvencijarse mi cuerpo tras tus pasos.

XV            XV

 

 

 

XV


I say your name.

With the softest breath that I have, I say your name

and, perhaps, the combination of its letters

or its echo

makes the ground tremble.


I say your name which is clear and fresh:

I pronounce it and wash myself in it,

I purify myself.


 

I say your name and

afterwards, though it’s not what I want,

everything is silent.


 

 

 

XV


I say your name.

With the softest breath that I have, I say your name

and, perhaps, the combination of its letters

or its echo

makes the ground tremble.


I say your name which is clear and fresh:

I pronounce it and wash myself in it,

I purify myself.


I say your name and

afterwards, though it’s not what I want,

everything is silent.


This story is not you            Este cuento no eres tú

 

 

This story is not you

It’s not you.  This body that I am writing on is not you because it doesn’t have marks from my finger nails on its skin.  The afternoon rises to my bedroom and climbs up my thighs, making me believe it’s your skin.  It’s a soul-less disguise (with your clothing) that wants to tempt me.  I know it’s not you, but I have given in.


Este cuento no eres tú

No eres tú.  Este cuerpo que escribo no eres porque no tienes las marcas de mis uñas en la piel.  En la tarde que asecha mi alcoba y sube por mis muslos erizándome, haciéndome creer que es tu epidermis.  Es un disfraz sin alma (con tu ropa) que me quiere tentar.  Yo sé que no eres tú, pero he cedido.