:: Article

Four Poems

By Carlos Barbarito.


With a bottlewasher, 3 hooked safety-pins
and a wing-nut
it is possible to create a world.
And with bicycle wheels,
boxes, typewriter cases,
hall-stands, glass bubbles,
dust, bottles of perfume,
cardboard, grease, nails, iodine, golden stars.
A world no less beautiful than this one,
no less terrible.

(translation – Brian Cole)

Toward the rudder…

Toward the rudder
beyond the fog, where
there is room for man and ghost
finally fulfilled, sated with self
and world. Or, perhaps, toward
a fleeting foam
upon the surface,
a cauldron of burning coals
against the lurking plague.
Or, may be, toward a burning log
before it’s dropped into the sea,
the last oil in the lamp,
love before usury takes over,
the crickets’ chirp
on the eve of the Flood.

(translation – Ricardo Nirenberg)

No one pulls the drowning from the water

No one pulls the drowning from the water
to bury them, they remain
floating on their backs, just beneath the surface.
They drown out of love,
distraction, anguish,
out of fascination with the abyss,
out of weariness. In their own way, they continue to breathe;
they pursue, in their own way, the light.
Each night, they repeat, in their pure
language, without subjunctives,
the silent and pure tongue of the drowned,
the same and only poem,
that those of us still not drowning
don’t know and if we knew it,
we wouldn’t understand.

(translation – Jonah Gabry)

What did we do?

What did we do? The day
at its final plea,
and the lamps that are lit
little by little. And now?
Should we take the vowels out of words
so that darkness is delayed
even just a little?
The other digs with a shovel in the mud.
The other reads in the ash.
The other makes a hole in a wall of his house
so that the wind may penetrate.
The other sits down, unwound,
in an armchair of lacquered wood.
We are not the others, we can’t be.
What is left to us? What,
naked, is left to us? What reason
or dream or figure remains?
One thing we do know, yes, since Goethe:
always, at the edge of the river,
the drowned girl appears
and, a little later and not far away,
up stream, the book.

(translation – Jonah Gabry)

Carlos Barbarito was born in 1955 in Pergamino, Argentina. He is a multi award-winning poet, writer and essayist whose works include “The Bestiarium of love” (en español, “Bestiario de amor”), “The deserted border” and “Amsterdam” whilst his collections “Poems”, “Selected Poems”, “Seven Winters” and “Momentary Reflections” are available online. His verse has been translated into English, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and French. His bibliography can be found on Writers Net and La Lupe. Image courtesy (and copyright) of Karina Barg.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009.