Poems translated into English

José Ángel Cilleruelo was born in Barcelona in 1960. He is a poet, novelist, translator, literary critic and professor of literature. He is also, along with Esteban Pérez Estrada, the literary executor of the estate of Rafael Pérez Estrada. He has received numerous literary prizes, among them the Ricardo Molina Prize in 1999 for his poetry collection Salobre. Other collections of poetry include El don impuro (1989), Maleza (1995), and Formas débiles (2004). He has also published a novel and several volumes of short stories. His literary criticism appears frequently in journals such as El Ciervo, Quimera, and El cultural. In 2000 he published Gustavo's Circus, a volume of children's poetry based on drawings by Rafael Pérez Estrada. 

Old Book Fair En Ciutat Vella

The stain of time erases the gold
and presence of the letters. I read Rime
with my head and not my eyes.
Nacre of old parchment. Printed

in the Florence of his dreams,
eighteen fifty—four, fourth
edition. A year before dying
Leopardi, in Naples, added a letter.

He wrote alcune poche avvertenze,
in defense against old reprimands
and forgotten accusations, darts

whose poison infects the memory,
in pain, remembering others’
plagiarism of his notes to Petrach.

(Translation by Mark C. Aldrich)

Who Dies With No Elegy

I must have looked at you,
clumsy canine waste by the curb,
with the blank stare of one who’s driving,
perhaps, too, a death like ours, unplanned for.

I must have spoken with the arrogant eyes
of a thinker to the friend who has seen
the same blood and guts, because speaking
differentiates us from one who barks.

What nonsense did I utter later
to soften up the unpleasant image?
The highway, nonetheless, goes on.

The radio is on. Someone passes us.
In the inn where we have lunch, there’s nothing
left of the dog. Nor of he who saw it.

(Translation by Mark C. Aldrich)

Presentation of Barcelona 08009

Rimbaud would be so bored among us.
Without his mane, his pipe,
without anywhere to sleep
along the side of the road, we greet.

Our celebrante, the old high priest of poetry,
an atheist by virtue of forgetting.
Café del Centro, Girona Street
sixty—nine. June looking dirty and ugly.

What could make us brothers of Rimbaud?
We age slowly, calmly.
No one threatens us in our asylum

of bad editors and no reviews.
But we love one another a lot,
because, with Rimbaud dead, there’s no life.

(Translation by Mark C. Aldrich)

A Man of Action Reading

From the beginning it was believed Quijote was one thing and Cervantes something quite different. There were those who who went to great lengths to demonstrate the obvious, that Cervantes was as singular as his character. On deaf ears. At estate auctions rarely is a Quijote figure missing: framed, wooden, metal, miniature, as a bust... the variety of forms is enormous, as is the variety of gestures and postures. Today I find a surprising one: an armored Quijote, seated, book in hands, reading. There is no greater paradox: if don Quijote sat down to read, he wouldn't be Quijote, he'd be Cervantes.

(Traducción Por Mark C. Aldrich)