“…the new love”
Mitologia de la ciudad y el mar / Juan Sánchez Peláez

Rewinding a bit with Juan Sánchez Peláez, back to his first book, Elena y los elementos. This was the first poem of his I tried to translate, three years ago. The final couplet nourished me for months at that time. Also, the last line of part IV: “We listened, one last time, to the new love.” Here’s hoping you feel better soon, Eileen. Don’t mind the foolish & their fireworks.


Mythology of the City and the Sea

Burning nostalgic horses, pure horses of my sadness
over illumined bays. Your nostrils breathing strenuously
over the flanks of mimosas escorting fresh chimes. I have
penetrated guilty atriums. In the threshold of your house I was
called by the malevolent ones, I climbed the leprosy scaled wall.

Peace for the pastorals sowed with the seed of precious animals.

Peace for my ancestors of sweet eyes aligned with the shape
of complex stars.

Illusory peace, disperse the fire of thorns, the
illuminated garlands of the mental wanderer.

Lift a bronze lamp over the cruel hillsides.

Inhospitable time: I’m your tenacious enemy, your rival without
shine, your under-relief in the higher night
consumed by clarity.

Outside, I’ve seen the toppled profile of the multitudes. She
distinguished my lamp in the twilight of her sleep.

I gave her the perfume of my desire and a singing of
breathable flame. And the odorous manes with a cycle of
oboes dancing under rain.

That night I said goodbye to the malevolents. Supreme goodbye to
innocence, to guilt, to disappointment. That night I arrived
at the house of a foreign woman. For me, her body had
the taste of bitter splendours.

A man, in the center of darkness, without noise,
was filling his lover’s breasts with fireflies.

I pass into the unknown, undone by the blue sheet of the
distances. The woman enters houses adorned with shining
palm trees, let down the planet’s fire ladders,
descend into the pyre of a man’s mouth. I offer her
the sordid fury of the insect and a ring of anguish
that circles these slower hands.

I pass into the unknown undone: her feet are frenetic comets, her
hands are sacred groves, their music the silent
music of the deserts.
Universes buried under the arches of thirsty
calm eclipse of meridian suns, oceans
of stone with the whiteness of eternal snows, listen:

I curse I bleed in the tree of the good and evil
in death in night
I drag my chains like wolves on beaches of boredom
I sink evasive fog pamphlets into my chest
The last word of those strangled
The word that kills in thick dawn
Mine accomplice
(floating islands in the fluid mane of the corals)

high very high above the heights—Can you hear
the corroded flute of the imaginary countries?

Then the woman who was sleeping at my side felt the chambers
of her heart.
And extinguished invisible splendours in my forehead’s

And the workers cloaked themselves in the sunset edges
with their burning rags.
And they galloped toward my blood.

High very high above the heights
We listened, one last time, to the new love.

Beyond the imprecise limit of our existence, my
flesh veers toward the waves, stabbed by unbeatable spasms.
Who said flesh, that enigma, the illusion of meat?
Calm the disasters of the tigers
“Come to the city of cobras and thunder”
“Turn off the disappointment lamp, penetrate the snowy
rooftops of the rainbow, sink yourself into a region of blue tanglings”
“Release my fugitive sailboats when the white storm
explodes in the frozen globe.”

City of non-narrative sadness.
I die in your fatigued ships, in your fatal ambushes.
Your indulgent women set up a net of avid tigers for me.
I cover your naked back with my fluency dressed in underground harps.

While I search my origins in melted rocks, in
the ashes of dead animals.

While I drink your presence
like the scream of large black birds
among melancholy leaves.

“Walk by the gratings of the tulip room, escape into
the middle of the flow scandal.”

Stars scattered at the turn
Blocked desires, lost planets
Pieces of the skeletons, smooth skulls.
Ah my lips, your sex blending into the wind.

You arrive on the scream of equinoxes, in the zocalo
of the chased lambs,
in the furious churners’ flute.

You arrive, to quell lightning with a glass of almonds.
This dream’s anchor opens my eyes into life.

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