ISSUE 18
November 2001

Francisco Ávila

 

Francisco Ávila was born in Mexico City in 1978. He is a student of International Relations at the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City. He has won literary awards in his country. Recently Thomas Lux invited him to the Sarah Lawrence College Seminar for Writers. Part of his work will be anthologized in The River is Wide. 20 Mexican Poets by Marlon Fick. Among some other activities, Mr. Avila is translating into Spanish some poems of Thomas Lux and Stephen Dobyns. He is planning to study Creative Writing in the United States and eventually teach. His first book will appear in the year 2002. This is his first appearance in an online magazine.
(English translations by Marlon Fick)

Yoviendo  

¿Qué serpiente dormida quieres despertarme?
—Tomás Segovia


Este es el sitio para tu espejo,
para tu deseo de huir que es el mío de llover.

Mira nuestro costado. ¡Con cuantos nombres se cierra una puerta! 
Tomo la pluma para decirte algo.

Quiero hablar del silencio y mis zapatos rotos,
decir que tienes la costilla que me falta.

Ejecuciones que atestiguo cuando camino a tu lado;
de frente me llega el olor de un pájaro volando.

¡Qué alta está la sed! ¡Que clara la arboleda y la zanja! 
Camino, y mis pasos regresan a tu rostro.

la ternura y la madera, el mar y toda la fiebre,
los adúlteros y las reuniones donde cantas,

un corazón que grita brasas, los noticiarios
y el verde usando todos los días de febrero.

De tanto hablar todo se convierte en labios.
De tanto ser hemos nacido.

Ante la acometida del diente somos lo mismo,
pero solo en tu calle mis zapatos se quedan solos.

De tu regreso las estatuas se asombran.
—acaso todos los regresos son el mundo—
Ahora se que mi muerte es el mejor lugar para plantar un árbol.


Yoviendo

What sleeping snake do you want to wake in me?
—Tomás Segovia

This is the place for your mirror,
your desire is to run, mine is to rain.

Look at our side. How many names does it take to close a door! 
I pick up a pen to tell you something.

I want to tell you about silence and my torn shoes,
to say you have the rib that I've been missing.

I witness executions walking beside you,
the scent of a bird in flight arriving.

How vast the thirst! How clear the woods and ravines!
I go and my steps depart from your image.

The tenderness and the wood, the sea and all it's fever, 
adulterers and reunions where you sing,

A heart that cries out embers, the news-casters
and the greenery bearing every February day.

Everything has turned into lips from too much talking,
from too much being we have been born.

Before the gnashing of the teeth we are the same,
but only my shoes on your street remain alone.

Statues are amazed at your return,
—maybe all homecomings make up the world—
Now I know my death is the best place to plant a tree.

 

 

Sin Título


Arrodillada en las brasas de los días
todo te acontece en lo oscuro.
Arrodillada esperas incinerarte
en mi mano. Tu frío crece afuera
sin bordes y rueda en la sombra como un beso.

Algo me untó el cuerpo de cóleras siderales.

Tu sudor: bálsamo para las puertas que son mis ojos
y que abro según venga la vida
se rezaga en tu cuerpo.
Todo es amarillo en tu cintura,
y aquí estoy para continuar tu sueño
gastándome una muerte diaria.

Mi frente y mi lengua te disputan.

A veces me canso de ver al mundo resolverse
en sinos sangrientos,
pero en esta habitación me floreces
en colores de viejos abismos.

Tu boca se hunde en lo profundo hasta llegar a mis días.

Me llevas a tocar el espacio de un vientre en luz
y me devuelves en comunión con la luna
a caminar en la tranquila nada.


Untitled


Bent over the burned embers of all the days,
everything happens to you in the dark.
Kneeling you wait to cremate yourself
in my hand. Out there your cold grows without borders
and circles in the shadow like a kiss.

Something in the body of the raging sidereals anoints me.

Your sweat is balsam for the doors that are my eyes,
opening the way life comes—
it's left behind in your body.
All is yellow from around your waist
and here I am to go on with your dream
dying a little each day.

My forehead fights with my tongue over you.

Sometimes I'm tired of seeing the world resolve itself
in bloody destinies,
but in this dwelling you make me flower
in the colors of the old void.

Your mouth sinks in my depths until it reaches my days.

You drive to touch the space of a womb in light
and you return me with the moon
to walk in the quiet of nothing.

 

 

Sin Título


Después de la luz todas las cosas han sido
savias que extirpan cardos y tumores.

Esta es la hora
en que la tarde remueve encinas
y reconforta la ropa tendida.
Yo solo puedo mirar el crepúsculo:
esa raja entre dos mundos
que se esconde entre las calles,
debajo de los carros,
en las bolsas de lo niños.

Entonces me levanto
y me sacudo la tarde de la ropa.


Untitled


After the light all things
become sap to draw out thistles and tumors.

This is the hour
when the afternoon moves in the oaks
and comforts the clothes hung out to dry,
then I'm alone and can see the sunset
split between two worlds
hiding between streets
under cars
in the pockets of children.

I get up
and dust the afternoon off my clothes.

 


Marlon L. Fick (b. Kansas, 1960) is the author of El niño de Safo (2000), Histerías Minimas (2001), and Selected Poems, (2001). His translations of twenty Mexican poets, The River Is Wide/El río es ancho (600 pages) is forthcoming in February from Stanley Barkan in New York. He went to Mexico to read at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1997 and ended up staying for four years, only recently returning, with his wife, Laura, to teach at Kansas State University.

 

 

Francisco Avila: Poetry
Copyright © 2001 The Cortland Review Issue 18The Cortland Review