Fayad Jamís


Country: Cuba
Language(s): Spanish

Rain

Fruits ripen in the rain
Horses neigh in the barnyard
One-armed Paco runs up to say
that the buzz of bees
will scrape the sky
Every mule going by
is splattered to its neck in mud

Hens shit in the cornfield
One-armed Paco brings us
a fresh bundle of cane

Brother we are sweating
dying singing
while we plunge down these roots
see the pitirre bird in the top of the palm
If tonight someone invites us
to hear stories of witchcraft
what shall we say?
— That the night will be green by the light of coconut palms.

Paris, 1956.
Translated from the Spanish by Kathleen Weaver.

 

The Chair

On the chair a favorite book a dirty shirt 
a glass full of noise and thirst 
or a beach where dolphins of smoke 
are meditating 
Its wood has rested my bones 
insubstantial air
international politics love 
I’m sick of traveling

In this room which the Queen of England has never visited 
in this room which groans like a lurching boat 
while morning wind lashes the black spires of churches 
I feel only dust ground down by light

Chair of silence of joy of dark wood
Electric chair 
where every night my soul is burnt to ash 
under the blind stare of the electric bulb.

Translated by Kathleen Weaver