Poems by Jorge Fernández Granados

Principle of Uncertainty

to witness is to participate

you have to witness events at medium range
………..or in the (statistical) mean

for distance blurs them but immediate proximity
………..wipes them out

the truth …….that medusa
before which (the closest) approximation or (the furthest)
………..distance are the error
from which we love or judge
……………………………………….unreliable hiding-in-plain-sight
…………………..(or what we give that name to)

in other words the belief that’s born out of contradiction
…………and it (certainly) is not much different from

if it’s necessary to step back to look and understand stepping forward
…………is necessary to belong

Da(r)t(e)s in the Night

I could not write

as if the world needed words to vouch for itself
or as if there were in words something able
………to translate it

no I couldn’t write

too many levels
evidences losses encounters
and the perfect oddness
above all that perfect oddness in which
the unique intimate treasure of amazement

and it’s impossible to get it all

not even this already-long immersion in the river of certainty
what’s already bound up by a great thread
in the waters of time the bewildering
time under the body
that will darken the earth this animal pain
that hardened my bones
this weary pearl that appeared
in my hands

and I couldn’t translate it in a language or recount it or
anything more than my fragment perhaps my fractured
turn at living already woven in me
and some memories and signs and other traces questions
………I carry
with me others likewise kept
honest debts of the soul

and since I couldn’t get it all together pardon me

I only transcribe
faithfully hurry to note down these dates
arduous and mine like an accident

but just so till finding till understanding till
………knowing myself
in the difficult words that are nothing
surely but inseparable shadows hard
ruins teeth or darts in the night
that project things
the singular things of this world
countable and loved and lit up
by the sun
always that light of the sun
in the morning

The Dispersed

and in a mistaken age where the dispersed
walk around they who haven’t opened
their truth to the world to a deep breath like the receipt
for what everybody knows but hasn’t
said out loud

they persist or persevere in what’s clean the dispersed
in the inequality of order where they store
their vinegary-day like thirst like mumbled thirst
in that worthy
eagerness for a sum
on the shore of the world’s numbers

the miserable dispersed they repeatedly gather up
four things and the happy gush of an old melody
they greet each other
they suspect each other
from love’s mutable memory
or the word (any gesture) herds them together
and pens them in
stone guests confused about everything

they almost get lost they almost get overlooked
some of them at times
and they snuff out a flame with their fingers
write in the sand say they are children
blow on the transparent pollen
and laugh
they go by with their glowing stone they orbit like pulsars
get impatient distracted they say goodbye
the dispersed

sometimes we
won’t find them again nobody would say petrified
their gardens their clock their tools
their sad way of looking at something so far away
some very thing so far away

how strange they are
the dispersed
no one likes to have them around for very long
they seem like acid or light
they burn surprise discomfort you don’t know what to do
open the door
let them leave
take this thanks goodbye
and may god
keep you
but don’t come back

noise in the heart
of the dispersed
that very thing
must happen because they fall silent
they shout sing
suffer they wake up
because they go long distances on foot
that no one wants to travel
and they don’t get tired
only they die sometimes
because in their breathing there’s a murmur that seems like
………..a chant
a reason
that doesn’t allow them to live doesn’t allow them to stay
and how to do how to say to them
that there’s no
longer hardly any room
in this jail for them


there are days I’d like to forget these walls
these layers of whitewash that deposit
only the usury
of an arduous existence a human chiaroscuro
misery amnesia and blaring noise barely a kingdom with the
of that indomitable sea
that wants nothing
that I first saw at twenty-five

since then I talk too much
about it with traits exaggerated
like the child who has only seen his father three times
and thus hates him or admires him so much
that far distant origin that stranger in his life that
necessary ghost

that’s why now
I say sea as though saying quake
I tremble when I utter sea
I’m bitter often a darkened hinterland

but one day I said the sea and you appeared
in the hard geometry of my run-down city
pure amputated swimming of fishes in the dust
to tell me the stories liquidated from my childhood and my
to cry urgent tears with me in the badplace
where our days end
you appeared and since then
we learned to be silent from time to time
to hear
the sea at least in our extinguished hearts

I don’t want to die without a farewell to the great waters
to recall in their hissing salt the invincible
that drags us into the fury of the unformed a yet
like that time when it spared my life
…………in its arms

a yet for evoking the sea in the absence of words of walls
since this salt this salt on my hands was an ocean
once and some times
I would like to be that
first mute animal in the world
still without shores


Jorge Fernández Granados

Jorge Fernández Granados was born in 1965 in Mexico City, where he now lives. In addition to five books of poetry, one of short fiction, and one critical study/ anthology, he has made numerous contributions to the leading periodicals in Mexico. He has been awarded some of Mexico’s most prestigious poetry prizes, including the Aguascalientes Prize for Los hábitos de la ceniza (The Habits of Ash, 2002), and the Carlos Pellicer International Poetry Prize for Principio de incertidumbre (Principle of Uncertainty, 2007). English translations of his poems appeared in Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).

W. Nick Hill

W. Nick Hill spent many years teaching Spanish and Latin American and Latino literatures, mostly at Fairfield University. He has a poetry collection forthcoming from Dos Madres Press, and his bilingual chapbook, Mundane Rites/Ritos mundanos was a finalist for the Sow's Ear Review chapbook contest in 1997. His other translations include four novels for Curbstone Press and numerous poems by Alvaro Mutis, Javier Campos, and David Huerta, among others, that have appeared in journals such as World Literature Today and Metamorphosis. His translations of poems from Jorge Fernández Granados's Principle of Uncertainty have appeared in Literal Magazine (2009), eXchanges (2009), a translation chapbook in Mid-American Review (2010), and CAB: Conversations Across Borders (2011 and 2012).

Principio de incertidumbre. Copyright (c) Jorge Fernández Granados, 2007. English translation copyright (c) W. Nick Hill, 2012.