On Savages / Gustavo Pereira

The Pemones from Gran Sabana call the dew Chirïké Yetaakú, that means Saliva of the Stars; the tears Enú Parapüé, meaning Juice of the Eyes, and the heart Yewán Enapué: Seed of the Womb. The Waraos, from Orinoco's delta, say Mejokoji (The Sun of the Chest) to name the soul. To say friend they say Ma Jokaraisa: My other Heart. And to say forgetfulness they say Emonikitame, that means forgiveness.

              The fools don't know what they say
              To say earth they say mother
              To say mother they say tenderness
              To say tenderness they say surrender

They are so confused
that truly
        the kind people we are
              we call them savages.

Gustavo Pereira (1940). From Cuaderno Terrestre (1999).


Flesh/ María Calcaño

spread the gasp
of your most beautiful sin:
you are like a garden
empty yourself
in the one that snaps
the golden tapestry of your bloom
like creatures awaiting for god
as naked roses
the hundred disordered hairs
flesh… flesh of mine!
call intensely,
restless holder:
you are like a garden


Digression III/ Yolanda Pantin

The language is left
but is hollow
The sound of loved words is left
but is noise
The pure silence of things is left
when they are
The man alone with the verb
and pure things in silence are left
without words

From Poemas del escritor (Fundarte, 1989).


Bird Language:/ Caupolicán Ovalles

Bird Language:

I need You to snatch the hummingbird from the air
to swathe your word
to sink your teeth in me
to take your soul for a walk with the afternoon of my spirit
to be a tree in a magical stare
to rustle over a flower
I need the pebbles of your river to be sand in my hands
the sea to be yours at the end of the battle
I need you to talk talk talk
like an iris on my forehead.

(small poem to teach a sleepy star how to talk)

Caupolicán Ovalles (Guarenas, 1936 - Caracas, 2001) was one of the most emblematic members of El Techo de la Ballena. ¿Duerme usted, señor presidente? (1962) is a book of poems that criticizes the presidency of Rómulo Betancourt. "Bird Language:" is part of Alfabetarium (2001).


tasco/ alexis romero

i always put my son’s binoculars
in front of the pc keyboard
and he who strongly mistrusts the virtues of the word
puts his left hand on my right shoulder
like giving me the courage that elders need
and says with the grace precision and future of a psalm
it’s tasco
made in thailand
planned designed and tested far away from here
with enough distance to survive ambivalences

it’s good for looking at what’s going on in that window
to witness a crime an orgasm
to testify if a star is moving
or if another one is a UFO watching you while you are writing
to witness the silence of a lady who decides to take a bath
because she longs to clean herself from the breath and the stares destroying her
and understand her hesitance to jump
at the tone of a verse by alfonso costafreda

it’s also good for exercising the chin
every time you look for a light in our mountain
keep in mind that a binocular is like a level
that will help you discover what sinks or raises
at your age the downward slopes are unhealthy
you have told me that a body chooses suicide
spits at God
when it does not learn to exercise the windpipe
or to lift the chin

i don’t know where my son learned to take care of himself
he always arrives early and calm
while hugging me he smells one of the drae volumes
he drops it and glances through a worn encyclopedia
of traditions and treachery

i agonize asking for serenity and joy for his days
i remind him that castile was never an empire
but he who doesn’t blame me anymore for being my parents’s slave
touches the binoculars and repeats
don’t forget about thailand


Natives from Paradise / Vicente Gerbasi

The natives from Paradise
invented the orchids
that move the silence of the hours.
The natives from Paradise
made from a ruby
the bird that made us accustomed
to the sadness
of the somber Orinoco.
The natives from Paradise
the most beautiful butterflies
which fly between the branches
of Canoabo’s old coffee plantations.
And what is Canoabo? Who made it?
The natives from Paradise made it.
Wherever all vastness
resonates in the bushes.

Vicente Gerbasi (Canoabo, 1913 - Caracas, 1992). From Los oriundos del paraíso (1994).


The Dwellers/ Alfredo Silva Estrada

The dwellers project their shadows
On the walls of a happier city

They do not rest in the threshold
They create it
From the roots moved by their footsteps
With gestures, sometimes dramatic,
Of a radiant waiting

Their hands guide the slow rising ivy
Causing winds punctuated by the fervor of the invisible
By the breath of love

In that unnamed eagerness
They make that every evocation has name in the future

While bearing incredible passages
Fields where mirrors echoes flourish and rebound
Meagerly real

Thus, by instant, the dwellers surprise us
When we inhabit the silence of patient signs
And the first persuasion of light touching our skin

From Los moradores (1974). Note of the translators: Silva Estrada's poetry is unique in the spectrum of Venezuelan literature. His work should be studied and translated with such distinctiveness in mind. He did not collaborate or join any literary group. In order to understand his work, it is advisable to read Stéphane Mallarmé. Due to the level of complexity of his poetry, this piece will be in constant revision.