Pablo Neruda New Translations by M. O. Mc

Walking Around

He happens to get tired of being a man
He just happens to go into malls and movie theaters
Faded, uninterested like a felt poet
Browsing in a Barnes & Noble of ash

The smell of courts makes him grieve
He just wants a break from streets of stone
He just wants not to see man-made fountains and buildings
Or merchandise, or shades, or escalators

He happens to be tired of his own hands and feet
His hair, his shadow
He gets tired of being a man

Though it would be delicious, he believes
To frighten a sales associate with a cut receipt
Or kill a manager with a kick to the mannequin
Seriously, or
Go through the streets with a blunt knife
Slicing out warm loaves until he died of cold

But he doesn’t want to be rooted in darkness
Shivering with sleep
Down in a coffin, walls of wet land
Absorbing and thinking, eating of nothing everyday

He doesn’t want for many misfortunes
Nor to continue the rot in tombs
In a single underground warehouse of marsh
Numb, dying of grief

Why do weekend’s burn slow like males?
When he sees me coming with my fake smile
He howls like a wounded wheel
And takes steps of hot doubt backwards

And pushes me into corners, then into damp fitting rooms
where my bones fly out the window
Now into restaurants, which smell of vinegar
Back out into the streets with hideous cracks

We see stuffed sulfur-colored birds, horrible signs
Hanging on the doors of the stores that he hates
No sale forgotten
The associates without glasses
They should have wept with shame and horror
There are useless people everywhere, and poison, and umbrellas

He walks calmly, but he eyes his direction
With rage and oblivion
He steps through pop-up shops and shoe stores
Through courtyards with wires as clothesline
Of underwear, towels, and shirts that weep
Slow dirty tears

Walking Around (The Female)

It happens that I love being a woman
It happens that I go into nail salons and boutiques
Glowing and shining after leaving like a beautiful swan
Floating on mint-colored winds

The smell of lavender perfume makes me orgasm
I want nothing but to relish in mirrors
I want nothing more than to see my angled cheekbones
And arched eyebrows, and glister lip-gloss, and petite freckles

It happens that I never tire of womanhood
Or feminine woes, or busty shadows of my curves
It happens that I love being a woman

Though at times it’s a bit irritating
To be startled by a passerby
yells a jeer to my ear
And tries to grope freely
Shouting empty obscenity that freezes
Before it reaches my ego

I still want to walk narrowly
Strutting with grace on invisible catwalks,
Onward, in newly-bought stilettos
Blooming, growing, living in each day

I do not want to be bittersweet by misfortune
I do not want to break a leg
Chipped, so unbecoming of an angel
Shunned, dying in hell

That is why Saturday burns like oil
When the night sees me coming with a beat
Face of makeup, and beams
It bleeds into Sunday for me

Pushes my body on, like a moon pushes waves
Onto dance floors,
Into night club bumping rave out windows
Into bathroom stalls with coke on onyx counters
Into the arms of sun-burnt men

There are little black dresses and heels, everywhere
Hanging from bodies and limbs of models
There are limousines left chiming unattended
Too many cellphones
There ought to have been paparazzi clicking
Nipple slips, bare chest, and belly navels mayhem

I walk around with induced pupils, hair extensions in hand
Blistering and fatigue
I pass Ubers, I crosswalk into my inner circle
While empty vodka bottles litter the sidewalk
Let homeless men graffiti murals, and empty vials
Dirty the hot Hollywood boulevard

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.
Sucede que entro en las sastrerías y en los cines
marchito, impenetrable, como un cisne de fieltro
Navegando en un agua de origen y ceniza.

El olor de las peluquerías me hace llorar a gritos.
Sólo quiero un descanso de piedras o de lana,
sólo quiero no ver establecimientos ni jardines,
ni mercaderías, ni anteojos, ni ascensores.

Sucede que me canso de mis pies y mis uñas
y mi pelo y mi sombra.
Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.

Sin embargo sería delicioso
asustar a un notario con un lirio cortado
o dar muerte a una monja con un golpe de oreja.
Sería bello
ir por las calles con un cuchillo verde
y dando gritos hasta morir de frío.

No quiero seguir siendo raíz en las tinieblas,
vacilante, extendido, tiritando de sueño,
hacia abajo, en las tapias mojadas de la tierra,
absorbiendo y pensando, comiendo cada día.

No quiero para mí tantas desgracias.
No quiero continuar de raíz y de tumba,
de subterráneo solo, de bodega con muertos
ateridos, muriéndome de pena.

Por eso el día lunes arde como el petróleo
cuando me ve llegar con mi cara de cárcel,
y aúlla en su transcurso como una rueda herida,
y da pasos de sangre caliente hacia la noche.

Y me empuja a ciertos rincones, a ciertas casas húmedas,
a hospitales donde los huesos salen por la ventana,
a ciertas zapaterías con olor a vinagre,
a calles espantosas como grietas.

Hay pájaros de color de azufre y horribles intestinos
colgando de las puertas de las casas que odio,
hay dentaduras olvidadas en una cafetera,
hay espejos
que debieran haber llorado de vergüenza y espanto,
hay paraguas en todas partes, y venenos, y ombligos.

Yo paseo con calma, con ojos, con zapatos,
con furia, con olvido,
paso, cruzo oficinas y tiendas de ortopedia,
y patios donde hay ropas colgadas de un alambre:
calzoncillos, toallas y camisas que lloran
lentas lágrimas sucias.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s