Epopeya del Guaire / William Osuna

Epic of the Guaire

The Guaire river has bad manners, when it travels
in buses it never gives up its seat
to pregnant women, it sits down before the
ladies do, at funerals it screams louder than
the widows, disrespects the deceased, tells stories about
the other rivers.

He better not say anything about me, says the
Orinoco, he wasn’t even a cabin boy in La Invencible nor
was he able to mix his waters with the seven seas of China.
The Indians covered him with a totuma shell
so the Spanish wouldn’t drink him.

He doesn’t look like Don Jorge Manrique’s rivers.
The sea ocean can’t stand him; regarding him
he philosophizes like a Chinese sage: “A river that doesn’t
     know how to die is a gulf.”

Who fucked him up?
He doesn’t carry doubloons, or change, or a pirate’s
chest in his domains.
Nor a tiger’s tail, his skin is hairy.

He doesn’t work, he doesn’t sing.
He climbs onto a milk tin or
onto the hood of a car to watch
the city’s colors: he’s a river
that contemplates, not one to be contemplated.
So poor: if the lovers’ moon
were to dare speak to him no bridge
would accept it; he better not glimpse
at the black lagoon’s eyes, the poet
Acevedo would probably lock him up in a sonnet.

Trouble between rivers and so-called brothers. I don’t
get involved in those family affairs. That’s what
they taught me in school. It’s not my problem.

On the road that leads to the jungle,
where a whirlwind of alligators gestates;
and the rubber tree shines like a
precious box of scalpels, Andrés Mejía tried
to put things from the Guaire into the Magdalena:
the Magdalena so smiley with its gold
teeth and emerald molars let him drink
rum for three days. Paid him no mind.
Got him drunk, whistled a cumbia, a bambuco for him.

And that’s how he sent him off to the Motatán, stuffed
in an apple crate to the house of
Hermes Vargas. Tall tales of Andrés. Andrés knows more
about Andrés than the Magdalena and its gems.
The fetid flower, the oil of the refineries, the
little urban heron and a chipped refrigerator
are figures that accompany him. In some cases the
sun is a blow of spurs against the
rough waters.

The Guaire river is my friend. I ask
for his blessing. He’s like an indomitable
donkey that crosses the city with a load of empty
no river from the Frances or from the
Germanies can compare. He’s in love with the
Catuche stream. What loves
They exchange bedpans behind parking lots,
     if you could only see them.
Dumbo Márquez doesn’t love him: his Harley Davidson
drowned in his waters. I do
love him, he’s not like the Orinoco who
feeds on musicians; who swallowed an entire orchestra,
and the love letters of Argenis Daza Guevara;
and if he didn’t want to sing and love, why did he do it?
What a waste. So pedantic.

In my childhood I loved the Orinoco.
At that crossing there was an araguaney tree, where
cats would hook up, who would look at you
with their golden eyes. The wind ran
through there: it spoke like tough cardboard. Thick fog
would descend through La Puerta de Caracas. All the
buses kept driving and would go into the movie theater.

My childhood with more colors than those
of a provincial poet in his province,
couldn’t distinguish the waters, they were all the same.

Translator’s note: Original Spanish version available online @Epopeya del Guaire

{ William Osuna, Miré los muros de la patria mía, Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores, 2004 }

No comments: