Cadáveres / Corpses (excerpt)

Excerpt from a poem by Nestor Perlongher. English translation by Liz Henry. You can listen to an mp3 of Perlongher reading the entire poem, which is AMAZING.

(excerpt from Cádaveres)

En las redes de los pescadores
En el tropiezo de los cangrejales
En la del pelo que se toma
Con un prendedorcito descolgado
Hay Cadáveres

En lo preciso de esta ausencia
En lo que raya esa palabra
En su divina presencia
Comandante, en su raya
Hay Cadáveres

En las mangas acaloradas de la mujer del pasaporte que se arroja
por la ventana del barquillo con un bebito a cuestas
En el barquillero que se obliga a hacer garrapiñada
En el garrapiñiero que se empana
En la pana, en la paja, ahí
Hay Cadáveres

Precisamente ahí, y en esa richa
de la que deshilacha, y
en ese soslayo de la que no conviene que se diga, y
en el desdén de la que no se diga que no piensa, acaso
en la que no se dice que se sepa…
Hay Cadáveres

Empero, en la lingüita de ese zapato que se lía disimuladamente, al
espejuelo, en la
correíta de esa hebilla que se corre, sin querer, en el techo, patas
arriba de ese monedero que se deshincha, como un buhón, y, sin
embargo, en esa c… que, cómo se escribía? c. .. de qué?, mas, Con
Hay Cadáveres

[Excerpt from “Corpses”]

Under bushes
In vacant lots
On bridges
In ditches
There’s corpses

In the beat of a train that never stops
In the wake of a ship that founders
In a wavelet, vanishing
On the wharves the trainstations the springboards the seawalls
There’s corpses

In the fishermen’s nets
In the potholes of the crab-marsh
In she whose hair is caught
in an unfastened barrette
There’s corpses

In the necessity of this absence
In what underlines that word
In your divine presence
Comandante, in your mark
There’s corpses

In the fervid sleeves of the woman with a passport who hurls herself from the ship’s porthole with a babe in arms
In the ice-cream man who has to sugarcoat peanuts
In the peanutvendor coated
in guts, in chaff, right there,
There’s corpses

Just there, and in that richa
of what unravels, and
in that skew of of what’s inconvenient to say, and
in the disdain of she who you shouldn’t say doesn’t think, maybe
in what isn’t said but which should be known…
There’s corpses

And yet in the tonguelet of that shoe that comes apart when fastened, dissimulating, in the spectacles, in the
strap that comes undone from its buckle, without meaning to, in the
upsidedown shelter of this counterfeit coiner that deflates like a puffed-up owl, and without doubt in that c… what, how to write it? c… of what? Cun-Tinued,
There’s corpses

4 thoughts on “Cadáveres / Corpses (excerpt)

    1. It’s around somewhere in draft form. Well, if someone wants it, I had better go back and finish it! Seems like someone must have translated it to English other that me. It’s so good! But I’ll go back and dig up the draft and work on it. I have another long difficult poem in limbo, Mala piel by Carmen Berenguer… with about 3 lines I am just not happy with. Same sort of thing, cannot put a “finished” on it!

  1. Hi Liz,
    I was wondering if you have a finished translation of the poem. Do you have an email address where I could write you? It would be great to get in touch.

  2. Hi Liz,

    Peter Boyle & I are probably the only two Australian poets who know about & love Perlongher’s poems. We’d like to see more. Please keep translating. For some reason I wasn’t able to print Circus or Corpses.

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