BY CARMEN CONDE
TRANSLATED BY MEZCAL
Even if I say no, commit yourself,
if I push you away, come conquer me.
As my life sheds you,
my spirit is flogged by the loss.
I sense a fire so perfect
nobody could ever ignite me!
It is hard and cruel how I force
you out of me. Fiercely
I cut you away to be spared
of the deaf war where you defeat me.
I think only of you. I repeat your presence
in the continuous birth of your words.
Images that are the frozen images
of memory, they madden and disturb.
I view you like that afternoon a tiny
creature was surprised by sudden lips.
I see you at high night, terrified that your eyes
lied for love, that it was me you wanted.
Oh, how I dream of you, oh, how I pursue;
you spin in the air like a wheel without end.
I think only of you. I hate you. I want you.
Save me from finding you in everything I see;
rid me of your tormenting image,
when you stare into my burning eyes you gaze upon the blind!
Your eyes are the fountains where tigers drink,
when they thirst, they disrespect the jungle,
they rip up, as they roar, these simple flowers,
moving among the rosemary, its powerful smell.
In your eyes empty the bowels of a mountain,
oh, how thin liquid is born in them,
they consent to the furred tongues of wild animals,
licking them furiously, dry rivers of eyes.
As much as rosemary, the oils
persist on the skin of those with the fiercest thirst,
the smell of short, slender roots grows
on the dark flowers of secret desire . . .
The moon skins itself like a bird in your water,
as if fevered, the tigers chase its light,
insane phantasm of an ultimate hunt
into the river, your eyes, possible to reach.
I am ice before you. A source so cold
can not ignite without an angel to grant it heat,
and this angel of yours lowers itself to your pond,
but I do not hear it sing, I do not feel it flow.
Ah, your tigers are so thirsty! Let them drink us,
and when my mouth dries, it is finished,
release them on me, never cease their attacks:
for your crazed beasts I contain a dear inside my body!
It hurts to let you lose, because it hurts the earth
when a root dries up without breaking the stem,
there is a light in the flower so that the air knows
what the ground knows, because it has roots.
I accept that you flow in other river beds; it hurts me,
because I am a channel as deep as your source.
When you pour yourself into others you will spill through them,
you will overflow their depths, breaking them inside.
I am your equal, there is no other land
that can give you what I can give you.
Instead of denying me your blossom, run,
I will make you my water, warm your seed.
What mania of force that defies your thrusts!
What wildness that does not crave the yield!
*Translator's notes: This is my first serious attempt at a translation. Poetic translation is an endlessly fascinating discipline with no definitive answers, like an algebraic equation with an infinite number of solutions for the variable. The original Spanish is titled Aunque te diga No, empéñate en Sí..., for which there was no available English translation. Special thanks to Elsa Leon for helping me grasp some of the more difficult syntax.