Volume 69, Number 1 · Fall 2019

Tiwanaku

Tu nombre amarillea,
                    oscurece y
                              cae
gastado,
al fondo de la piedra.
                   Todo es muerte en ti,
figuración del tiempo,
                   muerte que no acaba de morir.
Profundo,
      el sueño de la piedra intenta definirte
pero el frío
              se filtra por tus ojos,
                                 se hace noche en ti,
      tristeas,
   tus siglos son escombros
tu sombra
se derrumba
              a cada instante,
se agrieta
              a cada instante
se desplomba en el polvo
              a cada instante.
                                 Tu funeral
camina
      por telaranas y tormentas.
              El olor de la muerte te persigue:
tu escarcha envejecida,
      tu paciencia arrugada,
         tu circulo,
            tus sellos.


Ya no estás,
piedra vencida, ciega,
piedra de soledad,
              de la noche a la noche,
              tu nombre es nada,
piedra sometida,
piedra de silencio,
piedra.

Tiwanaku

translated from the Spanish by
Michelle Har Kim

Your name glows
                     darkens and
                              plunges
squandered,
at the base of the stone.
                   Dead inside,
figuration of time,
                   death’s unfinished dying.
Within,
      the stone dreams to define you
but the cold
              leaks from your eyes,
                                 darkens inside you,
      forlorn,
  your centuries are debris,
your shadow
with each breath
              caves
with each breath,
              cracks
with each breath,
              collapses into dust
                                 Your funeral
walks
      through tempests and cobwebs.
              The smell of death trailing:
aged frost,
      furrowed patience,
          your circle,
            your insignia.


No longer,
conquered stone, blind,
solitary stone,
                the nights,
                they name nothing,
subjected stone,
stone of silence,
stone.


Described by critics as one of Bolivia’s greatest poets, the repertoire of author, journalist, and scholar Pedro Shimose Kawamura (1940–) includes an array of genres, from his acclaimed verses, to his short stories, textbooks, and musical work. Born in Riberalta, Bolivia, he has lived as an expatriate in Madrid since 1971. The 1972 recipient of the Casa de las Américas Prize for the book of poems Quiero escribir, pero me sale espuma, and the Premio Nacional de Novela in 1999, Shimose been rendered into over ten languages. His original volumes of poetry also include, among others, Caducidad del fuego (1975), Reflexiones maquiavélicas (1980), Bolero de caballería (1985), Riberalta y otros poemas (1996), and No te lo vas a creer (2000).

Michelle Har Kim lives in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles. She is a 2016 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, and has translated poems by José Watanabe for Guernica, Epiphany, and the Asian American Literary Review.