Christian Formoso

NEW DOOR STREET
CALLE PUERTA NUEVA, SEVILLA


from here—across the forehead—to there. he motions.
although the pronouncement promises little. the excess
description would suggest quite a view. but this one?
it’s pitiful—like a lusty fish soup that has lost its allure.
poor panorama. from here to there. repeated.
puny ideas that lead to nothing. the big shots extend themselves
before a space that’s nothing like this vacancy. this verbiage.
they stretch. they’ve switched topics, the rhythm
of their asses as they once did and now. they stretch again.
verbiage and vacancy. from here—across the paltry
new door—to there.



STREET OF THE LOVER OF RIVERS
CALLE AMADOR DE LOS RÍOS, CÁDIZ


they don’t rise or fall. they’re framed
on the walls. driftless syllables ornamental
and motionless. street below
the crevasse opens up to speak: follow your feet
walk more slowly. bright linen of the crevasse
runs clear. the path ascends and the
cascading dress of the spring offers herself: to
look, spin around. turn over the palm
of your hand. ask for your one wish now.



TOWER OF GOLD
TORRE DEL ORO, SEVILLA

 

rising to the pleasure of the view
in 116 degrees of heat. the terrace
comes up and the boats shudder down with zero
grace. a birth delayed. the travelers
do not want to move but here they are. he speaks
of the rudder, his endless search, of
immortality. the fearless course—inflating
his chest—into the unknown. he asks
where we are from. wipes dry his vacant head. placed
in the center of volition lunge forward. he anoints
his fist in sweat. the little boat takes some sharp
turns. he recalls a journey of three years
in something barely as large as a packet boat.
the engagement of the image is so beautiful, he says.
fresh river air in a little breeze. choruses
of laughter. yawns over the bed. of the river.


 

BRIDGE OF REMEDIES
PUENTE DE LOS REMEDIOS, SEVILLA

 

he runs and something hides within. he says
they named this bridge after el generalísimo and then
when democracy arrived it was baptized
with the remedies. he adds there is
a convent of the remedies nearby
and an adjacent zone used
by the inquisition. laugh. military
remedies, convents, bonfires. he keeps on
talking and says laugh. he says it like that
and rolls up his sleeves. and props himself
on the railing. ships in the distance.
he says you like the guadalquivir. you’re haunted
by voice, skin, medallions, but no
questions. snapshot in the remedies.
only the memory of the poem.


 

OLD STREET OF JET SPRAY MEETS THE STREET OF SALT
ANTIGUA CALLE DEL CHORRO ESQUINA CALLE DE SAL, SEVILLA

 

before redemption or falling into ruin with the greatest
beauty, he consumed the best of offerings over these very
squares. up until and including the final judgment. today
no street, no twinkling lights, no slim waist. nothing but the salt sting
of wages for selling or singing. just this little cart in the form
of a sausage you wheel and its pity for you. buy a little shelter
in the middle of a storm. there is no street, nor twinkling, nothing
to dazzle you, or reason to roll up your sleeves. it all connects.
like some invisible channel of an ear and a grand trial
just finished. one noble ex-passion and one passion
going to seed. devoutly. nothing like a waist. no twinkling
nor wages. the street waits. your name, no.


 

CHRISTIAN FORMOSO is a Chilean poet. Among his verse collections are: Puerto de hambre (2005), El cementerio más hermoso de Chile (2008), bellezamericana (2014), and WWM —Walt Whitman Mall— (2020). Some of his poems have been translated to English, French, German and Greek and have appeared in anthologies, in Chile and abroad. Among other distinctions, he was awarded the National Council Prize for the Best Book Published in Chile for El cementerio más hermoso de Chile in 2009 and the Pablo Neruda Prize of the Pablo Neruda Foundation in 2010. He teaches Latin American Literature at Universidad de Magallanes and holds an MFA and a PhD in Hispanic Literature and Languages from Stony Brook University.

 


 

About the Translators:

TERRY HERMSEN, Ohio Poet of the Year (2009), has taught in the Writers in the Schools program for the Ohio Arts Council from 1979–2003, visiting schools, prisons, senior centers, and national parks. He now teaches Creative Writing and Environmental Literature at Otterbein University and holds an MFA in Poetry from Goddard College and a PhD from Ohio State in Art Education. His books of poetry include A House for Last Year’s Summer, 36 Spokes: The Bicycle Poems, Child Aloft in Ohio Theatre, The River’s Daughter, and A House for Last Year’s Summer.

SYDNEY TAMMARINE’s essays and translations have appeared in Ploughshares, LIT, Pithead Chapel, The Missing Slate, and other journals. Along with Terry Hermsen, she is the co-translator of Christian Formoso’s poetry collection, The Most Beautiful Cemetery in Chile. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University, edits creative nonfiction and flash for Cleaver Magazine, and teaches writing at Virginia Military Institute.

 

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