Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sleepless City

Sleepless City

Nobody sleeps out in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody sleeps.
Moon creatures sniff and prowl their shacks.
Live iguanas will come to bite the men who don’t dream
and whoever flees with a broken heart will meet at the corner
the unbelievable still crocodile under the tender protest of stars.

Nobody sleeps out in the world. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody sleeps.
There’s a dead man in the farthest cemetery
who moans to himself for three years
because he’s got an arid landscape in his knee;
and the boy they buried this morning was crying so
they had to call the dogs to quiet him.

Life isn’t a dream. Look out! Look out! Look out!
We climb to the snow’s edge with the choir of dead dahlias.
But there’s neither oblivion nor dreams:
living flesh. Kisses bind mouths
in a tangle of fresh veins
and he who regrets his hurt will hurt without rest
and he who fears death will carry it on his shoulders.

One day
the horses will live in the bars
and the raging ants
will attack the yellow skies that take shelter in the eyes of cows.

Another day
we'll see the ressurection of the mounted butterflies
and still walking through a landscape of gray sponges and mute ships
where we’ll see our ring shine and roses flow from our tongue.
Look out! Look out! Look out!
Those who still carry the marks of claws and cloudbursts,
that boy who cries because he doesn’t know about the invention of bridges,
or that dead man who no longer has anything but a shack and one shoe,
we have to carry them to the wall where the iguanas and snakes wait,
where the bear’s teeth wait,
where the mummified hand of a boy waits,
and the pelt of a camel bristles in a violent blue shiver.

Nobody sleeps out in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody sleeps.
But if somebody closes his eyes
whip him, my boys, whip him!

There’s a panorama of open eyes
and bitter, inflamed sores.

Nobody sleeps out in the world. Nobody, nobody.
I’ve said it already.
Nobody sleeps.
But if somebody has an excess of moss on his temples,
open the trapdoors so he can see by the moon
the fake goblets, the venom and the theater’s skull.

Federico García Lorca, “Ciudad sin sueño”
Translation by Jack Hayes
© 2017

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Brooklyn Bridge”: Joseph Stella. 1919-1920.; oil on canvas.
Public domain.

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