Peruvian poetry


                                                                              Translation from Spanish by Igor Gerek[1]


I write you, time’s ear

I write you,

early skin,

when the light’s edge is an odd gesture.


In each step the clarity is a leaving shadow

who undresses in silence, as if the drizzle were gone

and its side stretches its arm, cleans my forehead.


Sometimes I climb the lights

until your isolated core

and I drink as a lost fish

in your belly-fountain,

liquid memory

were my gills lie down.


Sometimes I climb the lights,

I embrace the most solid twinkle,

the density of your sleeping skin

gravity that pronounces me.



Upright before the wind.

the noon’s warm gives us respite.

Time shows itself as an absurd permutation.

Behind each face

rehearses of catalepsy.

I blow into your bones once again,

I fall on my feet on your pupil.

You slide like a stifled cry.

Choral dance in the weave of your chest,

slow destruction of your solid dream,

of your self-absorption behind the sidewalks,

of your hidden abyss,

ashes, end of the route.

One word cools and falls down.

Disintegration of names,

they go toward the mouths

toward the pierced regions of skin.

The fissure in the dream observes us.

The arms’ asphyxia.

The sun walks inside

braids the night.

The pieces of the light enclose the membranes.

The learned words move back.

I sketch that countenance.

Its incomplete figure opens its eyes.



I organize you, I auscultate your skull,

I wash neatly the nostalgia,

I fasten it on the net in pieces.


I auscultate your skull.

Nostalgia of fish-scales.

The contact with the nets.

The circulation walks away.


Your clay skull at the edge of the temple.

In the shipwreck’s dance,

the beauty of the I so far from itself.

The eye that awaits for itself in front of the mirrors.

Disappearance and encounter with the outside.



I guide you with my blind eyes

and your fear turns back.

Sometimes the windows should be abandoned,

their appetizing frame,

their warm intermission.

You embrace the discontinuous sight.

It is not a misstep

when you lean on a moving soil

or you awake with the fright in the forehead.

This is a living soil,

like your blood moving forward.

I guide you with my blindness in blossom

so you can open that shadow in your chest,

and you can see the clear throat of the night,

and on the glowing soil

you can turn on your steps and dance;

because with a widened eye you will see

this territory’s fugue

the fugue of the simulated firmness,

the flight of the mortal boredom;

and you will follow my desolated lights

toward the inverse cardinal points.



They look at each other in the mirrors

and share out the fear of the reflection in flames,

they embrace the skeleton

or only their absents’ tibia

to hide themselves, you, rosy and tristy

and you cook vegetables,

sand stories.

Sometimes they count behind the walls

until one hundred, slow and silent

and they coincide in the shadows

broken mirrors

destroyed light.



I go down,

like everyday,

against my knees,

I leave.

This is the hearing in your snore.

The deaf exploration that nourishes,

and makes us fall.

The clear route to the humus,

to the primordial struggle.

The inner insomnia.

The promise of outside.

The risk of the cutting threads

with their shiny edges,

delicacy of sleeping bees.

Announcement of a dangerous implosion

of the devoured flights over the delicious fever,

we touch asphyxia

in abundance of air

full of opacity and ashes.

[1] From Insomnio vocal (Alastor, 2016)



Gravitaciones/ Gravitations

                                                             Translation from Spanish by Lisa James


                   a Roberta Vásquez


ayer a solas

bajo la media luz de esa lámpara

alumbré un llamado

palabras de esas que cortan el aire

o disparan para obligarte a vivir

los invitados comenzaron a llegar

con sus rostros ensayados hace mucho

cada uno probaba una mueca tras de ti y se despedía


no supe a quién llamaba

cuando hablaba de la ceniza esparcida en la tierra

del óxido y el aceite consumido de esa lámpara

de la sensación de un soplo aterrador tras la ventana

sin sobresalto definía mis movimientos recogiendo los tuyos

con cuchillo en mano

(iba afilándolo en el aire)

«no, hoy no veremos ni un solo granizo»

también rezaba y era yo doble

esperaba y dentro otra esperaba lo mismo y otra cosa

entonces la brisa parecía pronunciarme

dirigía la mirada hacia el café humeante

agua estancada

olor a nombre masticado a medias

memoria que arrastra sus pies al camino sin llegar a la médula de ese café

porque todas las mañanas habría una taza de café sobre una mesa

esperando detonar el nombre

y yo solo miraba la leche y hundía mis manos en ella

era materia presentida hecha manjar entre mis dedos

y parecían las ansias colmadas sin bocado alguno

pero la ventana

sin poder contener más el viento

volvía  abrirse

me recostaba sobre el pasto entonces

escuchaba el zumbido de las abejas

y no reconocía mis manos tan menudas para la hoz

tan ásperas para la caricia

en medio del recuerdo imposible cayó un árbol

y se recogieron tus pasos



            to Roberta Vásquez

yesterday alone
beneath the dim light of this lamp
i kindled a calling
the kinds of words that cut the air
or open fire to force you to live
the guests started to arrive
with the rehearsed look on their faces
each tried on a grimace behind your back and said goodbye

i didn’t know who i was calling
when i spoke of the ash scattered about the earth
of the rust and oil consumed by the lamp
of the sensation of a terrifying howl outside the window
fearlessly my movements drew upon yours
with a knife in hand
(i was sharpening it on the air)
“no, today we won’t see a single hailstone”
i also prayed and i was two
i waited and in me another waited for the same and something else
and then the breeze seemed to utter me
i turned my gaze toward the steaming coffee
stagnant water
smelling of a half-chewed name
memory that drags its feet on the path never reaching the essence of that coffee
because every morning there’d be a cup of coffee on the table
hoping to detonate the name
and i only looked at the milk and sunk my hands into it
it was a prefigured substance turned delicacy amidst my fingers
and the longing seemed to be satisfied even without a single sip
but the window
unable to withstand the wind
began to open
i lied on the grass then
listening to the bees’ buzzing around me
and i couldn’t recognize my hands too small for the sickle
too rough to caress
in the middle of an impossible reverie a tree fell
in the middle of the impossible memory

and your steps trailed off


vigilia II

las hojas ennegrecidas

señalaron el camino

ir por el fuego negado

en el crepúsculo y el alba

el buey respiraba lento

y su mirada madura

traspasaba nuestros párpados


hacer brotar  los surcos

ver el tallo en nuestros pechos


ubre en vela

ávida mandíbula

orilla en la que jugamos

astrolabio de papel


vigil II

the blackened leaves
pointed the way
toward the forbidden fire

at twilight and dawn
the ox breathed slowly
and its mature gaze
trespassed our eyelids


to make furrows bud
to see the stem from our chests
udder keeping vigil
avid jaw
shore on which we play
astrolabe of paper



paso en falso

se ausculta el desnivel

torcemos la lana

la soga es firme

desde la grieta

su respiración nos aturde

primer salto

caes en la línea cortada

el hielo bordea tus labios

inicia cuando el cordel esté suspendido

peligro de cuellos atrapados


(esta palma entraña el puño

donde la piedra se hace polvo

donde desaparecen uno a uno los mojones)


sus manos son a nuestro cabello

lo que las nuestras a su lana

(analogía sospechosa

allá uno a uno cae el pelo

aquí una a una las hebras se trenzan)


crece el temor al filo de cada giro

impúlsate más alto

a cuatro pies contra el abismo



assessing the slope
we twist the wool
the rope is firm
from the crevice
its breath stuns us
first jump
you fall into the slashed line
ice skirts your lips’ edge
it begins when the cord is suspended
danger of entrapped necks

(the palm entails the fist
where the stone becomes dust
where landmarks disappear one by one)

their hands are to our mane
as are ours to the wool
(dubious analogy
there, one by one strands fall
here, one by one the threads get braided)

fear rises at the edge of every turn
propel yourself upwards
four legs against the abyss



temperatura ideal dicen

y yo espanto las moscas con el periódico amarillo

si sus ojos no se levantan

se ahogará la palabra orgánica

el cristal se hará hierro firme

prefiguración del barrote

hablaremos bajo

en letanía inerte que ya no significará nada

un insecto en la oreja

un ruido cualquiera


si sus ojos no se levantan

es que aún acumulamos escombros uno tras otro

firmes columnas que nos cercan

y que besamos guiados por su falso brillo

estructura en que nos recostamos

y que acariciamos como la única madriguera


si sus ojos no se levantan

nos condenarán a la duplicación

de lo que no se acaba y asfixia


ideal temperature they say
and i shoo the flies with the yellowed newspaper
if their eyes stay lowered
the organic word will suffocate
the glass will become strong iron
prefiguration of barbed wire
let’s speak softly
in inert litany that no longer will have any meaning
an insect in the ear
an ordinary noise

if their eyes stay lowered
it’s because we still collect pieces of rubble one by one
concrete columns that approach us
and that we kiss, driven by a false glimmer
edifice upon which we rest
and caress as though it were the only den

if their eyes stay lowered
they will condemn us to duplication
of that which never ends and suffocates



la cadencia en su oído no se proyecta

porque no resuena sino pesa

y quema como líquido que se funde

como la anestesia que descubre dilatadas dimensiones

y arremete contra su propio efecto

la cadencia despierta al vigía

como el golpe certero en la nuca

él se desnuda de la cera y de su extravío nocturno

destila en su pecho esa voz

que nace en los objetos innobles

como esta cama metálica

desde donde navego y encallo

el vigía está exhausto

ha anunciado incansable su avistamiento

pero la proa impacta innumerables veces

otra astilla en mi ojo y otro emplasto

veo  a través del vigía

hablo en sus cien lenguas entrelazadas y ciertas

y mi oído se multiplica

se hace nave

y en ella me quito estas gasas

desátenlo y déjenlo andar



the cadence doesn’t project to the ear
because it does not resound, but weighs down
and burns like melting liquid
like the anesthesia that discovers dilated dimensions
and attacks against its own effects
the cadence awakens the night watch
like a targeted blow to the neck
he strips himself of the wax and of his nocturnal straying
that voice distills in his chest

the one born of ignoble objects
like this metallic bed
where from i journey forth and run aground
the night watch is exhausted
tirelessly he’s announced his sightings
but the prow crashes, numerous times,
another splinter and another poultice
again i see the watchman
i speak in a hundred, intertwined and true tongues
and my ear multiplies
it becomes a boat
in which i remove the gauze
unwrap him and let him go



la trayectoria de esa flecha

prolongación de mis brazos

ha cercado la lumbre

donde recojo mis huesos

prendas perdidas en otro cuerpo


la sombra insepulta me guarece

su pulso aguijonea mis sentidos

con ella crezco en esta cuchara

me hago alimento del alba

perpendicular desciendo hacia el estómago

hacia mi techo natural

simulación de ausencia

el tránsito es un misterio nutritivo y rojo

a él me aferro como al primer bocado

y salgo a la calle con la piel roída

con olor a duelo cubierta de ceniza

para atravesar el centro de tu pecho

para hacerlo madurar

hacerlo arco



the arrow’s trajectory
extension of my arms
has encircled the fire
where i gather my bones
belongings lost in another body


the unburied shadow gives me refuge
its pulse stings my senses
with it i grow on this spoon
becoming nourishment for the dawn
descending perpendicularly toward the stomach
toward my natural roof
simulation of absence
the journey is a red nutritive mystery
and i cling to it like the first bite
and head for the street with my corroded skin
with the smell of mourning covered in ashes
we traverse your chest

to make it ripen
to make it an arc


poema con peces

la caña comenzó a crecer en su pupila

allá en la selva sin luz

delante de la fiera


el aprendizaje viene de la entraña

en su mirada el maíz ha madurado

mientras lavo mi garganta

desde lo profundo del canal

me observa


ha atravesado el núcleo líquido

en la barca del nómade antiguo

mientras las horas dormían

ha devorado sueños rojos

de los que buscaron a sus ahogados en la oscuridad


en el barro enterró su boca

clareó bajo sus extremidades piel nueva

y ascendió hasta donde los muros se rasgan

y caen interminables para que otros se levanten


las branquias se alzaron en mi costado

viajaste también en mi cráneo

limpiamos los restos de la cena ciega


poem about fishes

the reed began to grow in her pupil

there in the lightless jungle

before the wild beast


learning comes from entrails

the corn ripened on her gaze

as i wash my throat

she observes me

from the foot of the canal


she traversed the liquescent nucleus

in the old nomad’s rowboat

while the hours slept on

she devoured the red dreams

of those who sought their drowned in the darkness


she buried her mouth in the day

new skin came to light beneath her extremities

and ascended to where the walls shatter

and fall endlessly for others to rise


the gills arose at my side

you traveled through my skull too

we cleaned away the remains of the blind meal


gravitationss (2)

[1] Gravitaciones/Gravitations (Paracaídas, 2017)