_English

Mireia Calafell (Barcelona, 1980) is the author of Poètiques del cos (2006), Costures (2009) and Tantes mudes (2014). For her works, she has received many poetry prizes. In 2015, she was awarded the Lletra d’Or for the best book published in Catalan for Tantes mudes, which has recently been translated into Spanish (Stendhal Books, 2016).

Her poetry has been included in anthologies published in Argentina, Brazil, Holand, UK, the United Arab Emirates and Spain. She has participated into several international poetry festivals in Luxembourg, Buenos Aires, Pontevedra, Toronto, and she has been invited in to Italy, China and Finland among other countries.

Calafell also works for Artsmoved, where she is involved in the development of cultural and educational projects as well as studies into cultural politics. She has had several articles published in cultural studies research journals. In 2016, became the co-director of the I + Poetry festival and in 2018, the co-director of Barcelona Poesia festival.

 

LITERATURE

She didn’t kiss you and she left in a hurry,

and arrived home and switched on the computer

and wrote I have not kissed you, I have not kissed your mouth

and now what shall I do with this need for your lips.

 

Make literature. Just literature.

Translated by Graciella Edo Grigg and Ester Pou Jutglar

BARCELONA

 I recall that cruel pain in the retinas

the eve when, of a sudden, we saw so much clearer.

It was a coincidence, defying explanation:

first we heard the cheese of a half-million voices

and then the flashes of the cameras came in bursts.

How the light hurt, that light so white

that it left no shadows, that it lit up all:

how the people shouted before the barrage.

Afterward, clairvoyance: we discovered the truth

of this city of ours that is made for the others,

we dug up nails at the feet of the buildings,

blocks of cardboard blocks of wood, open pails of paint

and other provisions for modern décor, cosmopolitan.

I remember your shudder and the tone of the question:

if it’s all a farce, are you and I members of the cast?

And I looked then as now without knowing what to tell you,

and we walked off in silence, hand in hand

like lovers printed on a postcard.

Translated by Adrian Nathan

SHIPWRECKS

In the open canal behind backs turned away

the time of promises flows off like water.

You sleep and you don’t see the words file past

– pebbles washed away to other seas –:

you will see, you will do, you will have, you will leave, you will be.

You didn’t think it, you didn’t hope it,

but the current of disillusion gathers force

and in the bed, you are what you were: a pair

that refuses to wade in now and pulls back, in discord,

unmaking love with a passion.

 Translated by Adrian Nathan

ECCLESIASTES

 There’s nothing new in all we say:

not in the stubborn strength of beauty

nor in the deep lament of every loss.

Nor in the very center of the poems

where the light inevitably blinds.

 

It’s never the first time, it’s never too brusque

or blunt, the gesture that burlesques and says:

trust me, I’ll always be there.

 

There’s nothing new, save silence.

 Translated by Adrian Nathan

SHEDDING

 Slowly ─no other choice─, she takes off her clothes.

Shirt buttons are difficult for fingers

that tremble. And the trousers, the trousers

are a test of her balance, patience and dignity,

as if to say I cannot the way things are. How to put it, how things are.

When she is naked she gets dressed again, resuming the ritual.

And so until the end of the day, and the end of her days.

 

She cannot accept that only snakes, while shedding,

lose their scales and their wounds together.

Translated by Graciella Edo Grigg and Ester Pou Jutglar

GUILELESS WHALES

 What joy the play of the whales

when there were no species or hemispheres.

What complicity beneath the sea

before the rift, the stampede,

the elusion without knowing why

to other oceans, and separating,

the inexplicable splitting of the ice.

And never again the timeless days

when all there was to do was leap,

and the waves were no longer gifts

but rather mementoes of distances,

the enduring pain of having lost the other.

 

They love, I know they love.

It’s easy to see it in their eyes,

the tectonic movement of valediction,

the anguish in the beasts’ gaze,

how high you and I leapt.

Translated by Adrian Nathan

CERTAINTY

 Knowing how to interpret the words

of an empty pool amid the cold,

a Ferris wheel stalled on an humdrum Monday

sans sugar clouds or neon lights,

or a circus tent dismounted

– enough of acrobatics, trickery, magic.

 

Understanding and accepting that they are also this:

tedious days, devoid of attraction,

an eerie landscape that harbors menace,

that makes itself present cyclically.

 

Knowing this is, at the same time,

Accepting the certainty that your body

will not be – cannot be – every night

this present holiday.

Translated by Adrian Nathan

   I ate with the honesty of someone who cannot deceive what she eats:
                                                                                                            I ate the food and not its name.
Clarice Lispector

POETRY

To eat as if the word was not eaten:

not the almost brazen strawberry

on the white of a china plate,

but the mute shadow of winter

that welcomes in the silence a flicker

rather than linger waiting for fruit

 

To eat what words do not say

and so, mouth full, to write.

Translated by Graciella Edo Grigg and Ester Pou Jutglar

ORDER (L’ordre)

The dark staircase of desire has no handrail. Maria-Mercè Marçal

After a hundred steps without railing,
she finally found what she was after:
the key and, a few feet ahead, a door.
Seeing her kneeling and crying out to the sky
—now I have it, everything starts again here!—
I know you would have shed tears as well.
You would have done the same as me,
hushed before the attempts at the lock,
dry-mouthed and cold, let me in!
It was unsettling to tend to the distress
of one who hasn’t learned order is backwards.
I had to go, leaving her abandoned.

Can you please go and find her
and let her know love is first of all the door,
to have the door open, and then
find the key that unlocks onto the giddiness
of a hundred steps climbed without railing?

                    Translated by Sam Abrams

HINTS (Pistes)

All that you love, you love equally but in different ways
you used to say,
and now, between me and the coffee we are trying to guess
if we have been punished by this even-handedness,
or if it’s difference that is to blame.
Bitterness, as a hint, brings me to you
there in the kitchen, where you are spooning in
sugar that will not wake me anymore.
There are no answers in your gestures,
only the evidence of loss. Look —
I no longer have wings, my shoulderblades
no more than shoulderblades if you do not look on them.
You have lost the will to fly.
This close to the ground we cannot fall —
and to love, after all, is to fall.

Translated by Theo Dorgan

HAND NOT TOUCHING HAND (Mans que no es toquen)

Hand not touching hand; skin not speaking to skin,
and on the palate aftertaste of a secret that melts
among silences clouded with so much melancholy,
trembling because of the cold you are not here to combat,
these nights of blanched sheets, of shut fast windows.

Eyes not kissing eyes, verses that burn
in the marrow of the bone, in the marrow of desire,
a body that presents as a woman in a dress
with unpicked neckline freckles,
lone profile that searches for you on the pillow.

I write that I might read you. And devour you.
To overcome distance that fate has decreed,
to make you into a word, to propose delirium
while we hide from the world under the clocks
reciting the verses
that meld us in a long embrace.

I write that I might hear you, might hold you.
But you are not here, already you have begun to leave.

CUTS (Talls)

Let it be a night of storm
thunderbolts flashing across the sky skin
the sky showing its scars
(how they slash, the birds’ wings).
Or let it be less dramatic,
let it pass before eleven o’clock, an ordinary day,
while people are queueing for the bus, say,
while children unwrap their breakfast rolls,
and you are there before your computer screen,
searching your e-mails for me,
in the grip of a mystery falling
from your eyes to your fingertips,
to the keys at last
like famished birds pecking away,
avid with desire. Let it be.
Only awareness of the moment matters,
to know that a day will come
when queues, bus, children and breakfast rolls will be gone
and we, too, will be gone.
Your name in my e-mails
the last trace of this story,
a cry on the horizon, just before flight
(Ah, how they slash, the wings of the present moment).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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