Poetry by Juan Romero Vinueza

Mist City

there are cities that are above the clouds // that evaporate the foreboding of a swarm of words // that sow doubt in the field in which they settle // asleep without background music // there are cities that lack a fresh breeze // the sun is too close // and the clouds protect them with their dark and sublime cloak //

there are clouds that cover the melancholy cities // they shape them to their liking // they use highly suggestive signs for this mission // some might say that they dress up as giraffes // faces of lovers forgotten in a night of bitter drinks // perhaps a revolver for writing // or a voice //

the message is uncertain and lies upon the threshold of a wasteland // the message is an inert word seeking a messenger who doesn’t confuse death with the face of a beautiful young girl // who knows how to tell the difference between a mist-covered city and happiness //

but // above all // there are clouds that don’t know they are clouds // that continue wandering lazily through a diaphanous halo and seek proof of themselves in the poem //

of course // we know that in the mist city // they will never find it // because it doesn’t exist

Night and Its Bridges

the night is a bridge of blood
the sorrow fills up with rust
and life seems a streamer of ash that the wind inhales and then spits out
it’s not strange to feel oneself an insect made of rock or a larvae necklace

my bridge now is a well of lily-chains
perhaps Kandinsky could unveil the void of life in a trace
I accomplish it when I perform an autopsy on this poem

the night went from being a bridge to the recollection of a rib
Adam raped by Eve
everything you create is what winds up killing you
in the end

blindness affects the voice of the character who wants to be the author of someone
my soul is a knot of skeletons whose
skulls are coffins in an imaginary tomb

[beneath the bridge I’ve discovered a salt apple with owl eyes] 

i wish that my hands were pencils
my nails indelible charcoal

someday my mausoleum will be a tiger
and the black clouds will be Styrofoam so that children can play at the creation destruction
of life


Juan Romero Vinueza

Juan Romero Vinueza (b. 1994, Quito) studied literature at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE). He has written for La Barra Espaciadora, Casapalabras, and La República, and runs the literary blog Cráneo de Pangea. He collaborates as a writer and translator with POESÍA magazine, published by the University of Carabobo in Venezuela. His first collection of poetry, Revólver escorpión, was published in 2016 by La Caída Editorial (Argentina). Together with Abril Altamirano, he compiled the anthology of contemporary Ecuadorian short stories Despertar de la hydra (La Caída Editorial, 2017); the work was the winner of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s 2016-2017 Competitive Funds initiative. He has been invited to renowned literary festivals including the Tea Party V (Chile), VIII Encuentro de Poesía en Paralelo 0’ (Ecuador), Caravana poética 2016 (Peru), the Quito International Book Fair (Ecuador, 2015), the PUCE International Book Fair (Ecuador, 2015, 2016, 2017), and ANTI-FIL 2017 (Peru).

Kimrey Anna Batts

Kimrey Anna Batts (b. 1983) grew up in rural East Tennessee and went to the University of Michigan, where she studied anthropology and Latin American studies. She moved to Ecuador in 2006, and her lifelong love of literature and language gradually blossomed into a career as a professional translator. In 2011, she went to Barcelona to pursue a M.A. in literary translation at University Pompeu Fabra, before returning to Quito in 2013. In 2015, La Caída Editorial published a bilingual version of her translation of Ecuadorian author Santiago Vizcaíno’s short story collection Matricide/Matar a mamá. Her literary translations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail/InTranslation, Ricochet Review, Lunch Ticket, Bitter Oleander Review, Ezra, Cordite Poetry Review, Mantis, and Asymptote, among others.

Revólver Escorpión. Copyright (c) Juan Romero Vinueza, 2016. English translation copyright (c) Kimrey Anna Batts, 2017.