Three Poems by Humberto Ak’abal

BOMB 70 Winter 2000
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The Smut

Bats came out of the half-burnt wood
The flames
tried in vain to reach them
to place them back
in the nest of fire
Their wings extended
like big dark veils …
When I touched the wall
with my hands
there was only smut
They have turned to smoke.




is the most beautiful form
to starve to death
The saddest
for begging a souvenir
The poorest
among misery
To make poetry:
is to thrust oneself into every verse
for the love of life.


The light
is a dagger of fire,
it falls sharp.
The glare
is the cry of the river
the wound
is clear water.

Humberto Ak’abal is from Guatemala, Central America. Poet Maya-Kíche, his poems have been published in France, Spain, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. His books include El Animalerò (Editorial Cultura, 1990) and Guardian de la Caida de Agua (Serviprensa Centroamericana, 1993), which has been translated into French.

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The characters in Zambra’s stories and novels can’t help being impostors. Alarcón finds out why, on the occasion of the Chilean author’s recently published short-story collection, My Documents.

Originally published in

BOMB 70, Winter 2000

Featuring interviews with Ruben Ortiz, Juan Manuel Echavarria, Susan Baca, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Jose Cura, Adelia Prado, Ernesto Neto, Mayra Montero, Claribel Alegria, Francisco Toledo, and Juan Formell. 

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