Two Poems by Osvaldo Sauma

BOMB 78 Winter 2002
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Needless Immersion

I grope through blind
abysmal lives
that touch upon dreams
concave sinkholes
where one counts their slipups
born to fall
Paz says
fallen from one state of being into another
existing in times from another era
while the sun
memory on stucco walls
and there is memory of the luminous moon
that I imagined
beyond edges of the shadows

I proceed without understanding
that couple to more moments
in transit to oblivion
all reminders of volition that I abdicate

women who offered themselves
as a cure for fears
and it is the pomp of existence
that thrills the claiming of it
I have
I desire, I am, and I am not

I should be
have never been
more than systole and diastole
in this present instant
that negates itself
so as not to elevate the second
that dissolves into what’s been and is promised.


I came to avenge
the luck of loners
committed lovers and what’s futile
party poopers, loafers
family feuds and fingers worn to the bone

I came to join
a sect fixated on the millennium
conspiring deep within the catacombs
from balcony to balcony
and inside the saloons

to be a pariah much of the night
eating bread meant for the unfortunate
with a hunger straight from dreams
for that I came to gain an ancestral instant of internal fire.

Translated from the Spanish by Zoë Anglesy.

Zoë Anglesy is the author of Something More Than Force: Poems for Guatemala; Stone on Stone/Piedra sobre piedra; and Listen Up! Spoken Word Poetry. She was awarded the W.B. Yeats Society Second Prize in Poetry and has recently completed a poetry manuscript, Gazelle Legato.

Osvaldo Sauma, born in San Jose, Costa Rica, 1949, is the author of three books of poems, including Retrato en famila (Family portrait), which received the Latin American prize in poetry from the university publishers of Central America (EDUCA); he is also the editor of five poetry anthologies.

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Originally published in

BOMB 78, Winter 2002

Featuring interviews with Roberto Bolaño, Laura Restrepo, Miguel Leon-Portilla, Nancy Morejon, Graciela Sacco, Tunga, and Los Carpinteros. 

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