Three Poems

translated by Emily Socha
Three youths photographed from above, their shadows producing three upright figures trailing behind them
photo: palon youth/unsplash

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


Nothing Extraordinary

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.

The mundane
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

Juan Bello Sánchez is a Spanish poet and teacher from Santiago de Compostela. He has published six poetry collections, three chapbooks, and has been awarded the IV Premio de Poesía Joven “Pablo García Baena,” the XVI Premio de Poesía Emilio Prado, and the VI Premio de Poesía Joven RNE.

Emily Socha is a translator of Spanish and Latin American poetry. She is currently focusing on the works of younger peninsular Spanish poets.