From La máquina de hacer paraguayitas (The machine for making little Paraguayans)

Blackness Ascendant

Celebrating happy funerals or deathly
      funereal fiestas
they come in the dark scratching their
      ñemas,
they come floating trios of obstinate nigger
      chicks;
they are the dark musical score of the
      angels!
The whole tenement flies through the
      heavens,
the plumbing skips town in the afternoons.
With sleep my insomnias escape me and
      after a while
my insomniac sleeps return.
And that’s how infinity gets left without
      stars
and without vanity is left the high sea.
      Everything happens in a single
wham
like fresh art or sweet death.
And everything has such craziness that
      even the snow emigrates
to the United Arab Emirates; and crazi-
      ness keeps on because it’s crazy
and crosses the sky like stalactites or the
      tiniest parts
of a huge comet.
Here they come,
— black pigeons of bad luck —
perched on a flying carpet
lesbian, sexual, kissing each other two by
      two:
Carolina, Karina, Cilicia, and Ferisbunda.
These Black daughters of the devil amuse
      themselves in the atmospheres,
leaving syphilitic sores on my blazing
      heart.
The tickis fly kissing the chiris
sweetly holding one another’s hands.
In their honor, octogenarian kids dance
      wild cumbia
and go, go! the chairs are boxing with each
      other two by two.

The entire tenement flies through the
      heavens.

*

Lord, will there be a diaphanous falling of
      black multitudes?
In the end will sopranified crowds come in
      protest?

The slammers shine in heaven.
The thick sticky stew in love with the
      pears blazes.

The bitter chipaguazú, they got his goat.
Their goat was got, the pears and kids
      from La Cordillera.
The white-gloved thieves go on their way
and set the barefooted thieves free—
      bravo!

Blazing are the nigger chicks in my frozen
      heart
and shivering are the mongas in the blaz-
      ing projects
like dry leaves or flowers of death.

 

Rectification of Death

Death takes the businessman
the cattleman the banker and the vendor
      from the kiosk
between prayers and rosaries swallows the
      cardinal
the priest the altar boy and the bishop:
everyone in the Sainted Diocese.
Death takes the rose the rosebush and the
      piquetero
Pedro and Luis Alberto and Ricardo in
      Spanish
Patrick Philips and Francis in Arabic
      English
Death speaks all languages
drives all cars takes the beauties:
Cristina Virginia Josefina ¡Eloísa!
who broke Javier Barilaro’s heart.
Death comes face to face with a ticki
just a single puff of breath from either of
      the two would be enough . . .
Stupid death stutters swallows saliva
      shudders
before a ticki doesn’t have the energy to
      get out of this mess.
Death takes the agronomist the financier
the pickpocket the artisan working in
      cardboard
the little cartonera girl the svelte Latin
      teacher
everyone at some moment will meet death
in life, don’t forget . . .

 

Song of Death Around the Neighborhood

Death passed through Santa Cruz de
      Barahona
Took four aunts and uncles and three
      cousins
asked for me and continued on its way.

Death went through Hato Mayor de
      Higüey
asked for me, ¡mamagüey! and continued
      on its way,
but first took three close relatives and
      three distant relatives.

Mortaliferous death went through Beraza-
      tegui
found my father and my brother (Cacho)
selling t-shirts in the slums.

Death told them: “Come with me, guys,
I’ll take you to a place where
everyone wears t-shirts . . . ”

Then death began to regret that, giving
      them a good look:
“Hell is full of burned-out deadbeats.”
Death didn’t even ask for me, and contin-
      ued on without stopping.

 

Translated from the Spanish by Jen Hofer.

 

Jen Hofer’s recent publications include The Route, an epistolary, poetic collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Atelos, 2008); a translation of books two and three of Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008); and lip wolf, a translation of Laura Solórzano’s lobo de labio (Action Books, 2007). She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches at CalArts and Goddard College.

 

—Washington Cucurto’s work is replete with neologisms, an unfettered and elastic use of street slang, and words from the Guaraní language. A persona of Santiago Vega’s, Cucurto was born in Quilmes, in the province of Buenos Aires, on June 29, 1999. He is author of about 20 books, including Como un paraguayo ebrio y celoso de su hermana (Like a drunken Paraguayan jealous of his sister), and the serial novel Hasta quitarle Panamá a los yanquis (Till snatching Panama away from the Yankees). He’s cofounder of the publishing collective Eloísa Cartonera.

Tags:
Translation
Spanish language
Latin American literature
Death
BOMB 106
Winter 2009
The cover of BOMB 106
Share