Three Poems by Juan Carlos Flores

Borges spankspank

Thinking of Manuel García, one of my ancestors on the maternal side, bandit, whom they called “King of the Cuban Countryside,” while I drink a beer listening to low-class songs or think I’m drinking a beer listening to low-class songs I’m thinking of Manuel García, one of my ancestors on the maternal side, bandit, whom they called “King of the Cuban Countryside,” what would geneticists say, he, he drank as much as he wanted and whole days go by when I can’t afford one single beer.

Germany, 1843

After battling, that abject individual died peacefully, face resting on the wood of the windowframe, watching the snow fall and pile up, over the same ground traveled by the gods.

Circles never coming to a close, us, we go along wiping out our lifetime, on some occasions external men, on others internal men, never the man fine and exact, thus the precariousness of our gestures, circles never coming to a close, someone, at a more propitious moment, perhaps, may resolve this arduous issue.

After battling, that abject individual died peacefully, face resting on the wood of the windowframe, watching the snow fall and pile up, over the same ground traveled by the gods.

Days of 1834

Leopardi spent his final days in the cell of sickness, little mouse eyes behind visors would observe the coming and going of promiscuous servants, by then he had abandoned all efforts and barely responded to the chattering of interlocutors, on the table or strongbox where my own organs are, I hammer away at another scenario of ruination:  pantheistic flies, a diary, a letter, addressed to the mentor by rebellious adolescent, before launching a failed escape, on the table or strongbox where my own organs are, I hammer away at a horoscope, with a few lines marked in pencil, two empty glasses and a bottle of rum, ready to be opened.

Bios

Juan Carlos Flores

Juan Carlos Flores was born in Havana in 1962. He has lived in the nearby community of Alamar for decades and is now working on a trilogy he calls The Poetical Resurrection of Alamar. The poems here are taken from Flores’s second entry in the trilogy: the 2009 book, El contragolpe (y otros poemas horizontales), or The Counterpunch (And Other Horizontal Poems). Characterized by a frequent and curious use of repetition, the prose poems in this collection are rhythmic yet tightly crafted. Flores, who often experiments with performance and multimedia as well as text, seeks language as precisely targeted as his book’s title.

Kristin Dykstra

Kristin Dykstra is the translator of a book of poems by Omar Pérez, Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?, forthcoming from Shearsman in late 2010. She has translated other poems by Juan Carlos Flores, including a feature for La Habana Elegante's Fall 2010 issue. Her past work is featured in bilingual editions of books by Pérez and Reina María Rodríguez, and she recently completed a manuscript by Ángel Escobar. She is Associate Professor of English at Illinois State University.

Copyright (c) Juan Carlos Flores, 2009. English translation copyright (c) Kristin Dykstra, 2010.