Kent, your translation made me do one too, just for the fun of it, just to exist in that poem, as one exists fullly, in the poem of another, while translating… I got the feeling, translating this one, that the speaker is a stubborn burro, but in Paris, but what and where is Paris: it’s the place of light, the light stone…. I think if I were a burro and refused to go forward any more my humerus bones would ache from resisting… I couldn’t say arms because that removes the animal nature of the word humerus, which is mammal.

—Erin

 

Dark Stone upon a Light Stone

I’ll die in Paris in a cloud-burst,
on a day I already remember.
I’ll die in Paris – and I’m not kidding –
It could be Thursday, like today, in autumn.

I say Thursday, because today, Thursday, as I prose
this poem, my humerus bones ache me
badly and, today as never before, I turned round
to my entire road, and saw I was alone.

César Vallejo is dead, they struck
him down for no reason;
they hit him hard with a stick and hard

too with a halter-rope; the Thursdays
witnessed it and the humerus bones,
solitude, rain, the roads …