Thursday, October 13, 2011

from Poemas y Antipoemas

Travel Notes
by Nicanor Parra (trans. W.S. Merwin)

I managed to stay away from my job for years.
I devoted myself to traveling, to exchanging impressions with the people I talked to.
I devoted myself to sleeping.
But the scenes I had lived through at other times kept coming to mind.
While I was dancing I would think of ridiculous things:
I would think of lettuces I had noticed the day before
As I was passing the kitchen,
I would think of innumerable fantastic things to do with my family;
Meanwhile the boat had entered the river,
It was forcing its way through a shoal of jellyfish.
These photographic scenes affected my reason,
They obliged me to shut myself in my cabin;
I had to force myself to eat, I rebelled against myself,
I was a permanent menace on board,
Since at any moment I might come out with some nonsense.

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