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Oriana Méndez translated by Jacob Rogers


Translated from Galician by Jacob Rogers


Oriana Méndez is a Galician-language poet living in Vigo, an industrial, peripheral, dynamic terrain at the foot of the Atlantic Ocean. Her poetics unfolds in this urban context run through with nature: the mountains surrounding the city, the horses, the unfurling sea. She has published several poetry books and her poems have been published in different magazines. chairas sucesións(plains succesions), published in 2023, is her last book. If poetry is to be found in the leap from a vision (the mental image, the dream) into the chasm of language, plains successions, is a double leap. It’s a text about love that seeks to flee known boundaries, about love and its darknesses, its interstices, its fever.



Jacob Rogers is a translator of Galician and Spanish. He has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the PEN/Heim Translation Fund. He has co-edited features on Galician literature for Words Without Borders, Asymptote, and The Riveter. His translation of Manuel Rivas' The Last Days of Terranova was published by Archipelago Books in 2022, and of Berta Dávila's The Dear Ones by 3TimesRebel Press in 2023. His translation of Orange Dreams, and Other Stories, by Xavier Queipo, is forthcoming from Sublunary Editions.


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Chairas sucesións / Plains Successions



Eyelid like tongue flutters sparse and

intakes that which transits its ridged vastness

two bodies sustain their beauty abandoned to

a movement that splays them

that belongs to them

they shudder like a somnambulant ocean

they walk, and open the universe

 

I scrub your footsteps from the water

I see you keeling towards the waves

Against successive buffets of sand

I distinguish the texture of the water

alongside its color, it is only

profoundly dark.

 

 

Her plait is internal

It intertwines against itself

internally selects organs for a mesh

and clamps its own tongue and no one can

witness it like a tree

which collides with itself which erects itself

which rises from within

a tree rooted unrooted

one which plunges

that trips over itself not

to say that she leaves mournful gale

the ash settles as soon as she can

proclaim that

movement is painful for

a mare that gallops the sound

that resounds into the territory of the echo

the world reverberates in its plexus

loses its footing with its eyes orienting itself to

visible, folded noise

sound waves the color of the abdomen

noise like a symphony in the mariner’s lung

at the hour of shipwreck

 

face ascendant

that ascension awaited by the forest

it’s the forest

to which she ascends

to which she descends

who is saying her name now?


*

 

Eyelid like tongue folding over itself

otherwise how when a mare is unable

to take to earth after a leap

it curls up, opens its elliptical eyes, observes:

 

The city was disseminated, lost

traces remain hanging in a spiral like a word upheld

by its own embers

consuming itself

but the flower born in the animal

is the flower that fires off the race

 

Against the mare’s haunches

crowds hatch

the possibility of an immortal gaze

nocturnal scrying and dividing

a mare in flight

observe her as if plucked from that

charge of red cavalry

Malevich’s unthinkable figuration

surges: it lifts its hands blindly

stretches its ligaments, seeks soothing

terrified like a child in the night

it wants to cover itself

in some pit of lukewarm juice it goes

towards the fire towards the flames it goes

it cannot uphold the wound

it cannot uphold the fatigue in its belly

it was defeated

it did not defeat itself

it trots but already

it trots but already it is

another mare in another dream.

 

 

 *

 

 

 

Eyelid like a tongue inflamed with horizon

 

How to interrogate this mare that flees

like a horrified shade?

Where is she going?

To whom does she entrust herself?

How does she bend and leap

in her muteness in her time

forgotten like he was forgotten?

 

They coalesce in a musculature upheld

by a single nerve

 

tree mare inner braid

 

Musculature drawn taut, they coalesce

into a solar braid

 

 

 



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