We Learned to Pronounce Brooklyn in the Movies
we learned to pronounce brooklyn in the movies
to undress in the backseats of cars
to await chance with a roll of the dice
we learned the calmness of the cigarette smoker
and the coldness of the one aiming a revolver
but we also learned to go it alone
to die to say leave my sight stay the night
that the life of a man is measured by the size of his shadow
and that leaving
is not always the opposite of staying
Take a look at the street
where nothing extraordinary goes on,
or where everything is so common
that you don’t pay it much attention.
fights to overcome its transparency.
And of all these things
– the sun that falls through the trees,
the fatigued cars,
the woman pushing a stroller –
the traveling salesman
goes door to door, offering
a springtime in miniature.
The Green Café
Someone told me that if you open the door of a tree
you can see the sea playing the accordion.
At night, the woman in the red dress drank champagne
in the star tamer’s tuxedo pocket.
There were bells that could only be heard
in coffee cups, and actresses who painted their lips
on the keys of the old piano. The waitress cleaned
the bar with a Bengal tiger’s pelt,
her face marked by the dark circles of an exiled
soldier. There, the poet emptied wine bottles
to refill them with crescent moons and shimmering fish.
The sailors spoke with words of sand
and the dancers stitched the rain to the golden hips
of the trumpets. All before the sun
rose in the eyes of the stuttering rooster,
tinting the windows with its garish light.
Translations from the Spanish
By Emily Socha