|En Un Auto Arteriado
|poetry, translation, Vallejo
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This is not a book about translation
or a book.
I don’t speak the Spanish it wants.
My beloved with her blonde hair pulled up
in a bun with pearl earrings, staring at the shops
slurping pizza on eighth avenue with her fat dad,
I dedicate this whole maneuver to your stainless steel
water, your future by the coast
of all Carolinas: an unmovable, actual past
constructed wholly unlike you,
the history of flavored ice, the titanic symbol
system of your hoop earrings, your high, frightening
denim, your black hair— I dedicate this to the models.
New York in the age of Vallejo. The Mid-Atlantic in my age
of Vallejo, a crisp age, a set of years extending back beyond
a first encounter: a birth of the world as the primitives in Florence
experience sky on gold leaf. I am a dedicated,
impassioned cause, if I am honest and true
in how I dream, think, and imagine the future for the others
I plan to live my life. O tussled matte of blonded curl above
the moka pot screaming, Parisian, maybe, in Madrid, but never
actually Spanish; beauty of Buenos Aires, the city New
York still thinks it is. O rigid element to right my life.
O guiltless coke. O blood war beneath the keys as they swing
below the crotch, as the air smells of gasoline, as the black Cadillac
pulls through north Brooklyn. Babies up in the skylight, backless blouse
concealing a murder. O way of speaking that sets me
Beauty in the vast expanse without substitute
won’t maintain the love, the work.
This book speaks Spanish.
To love the other as you would their tongue—
to examine the tongue, or lead the examined tongue,
into a unified sensory field, a principle by which to appreciate, or examine, the arches,
I accept a series of moves.
At night the states shift:
the provinces, the districts, regional capitols, regal
deaths in the Philippines sleep, the high ship
on the break of the wave, in the colors of Napoli,
the lives of the artists that render the left hip, the pudge,
of those to be seen— I dedicate these bodies
to the system of symbols they need. New Spain
sleeps in soft waves. New Spain’s got its skull split
beneath the G: the Union put its gut upon the railings
of the mid-century boardwalks, along Delaware. Because
of the Vallejo, I am unhappy, determined in the ways I need,
free to be unhappy, realistic,
in the unsafe past, the blocks that have been blocks,
the brick of my Mary-Anne, the detritic coffee
and the beef rib, the sesame, the bun soaked
and the tallow on the counter. I am in it— the dream of my cities.
Or the dream of my love. Or the way in which she dreams.
Or you, who floats along the edge of all words, who
means so much, all things said, are said to you.
All things are said otherwise