Notes for a Fado by Silvina López Medin, translated by Judith Filc

intermission: an old, old man
clinging to a paper
goes over the lyrics
the tip of his shoe
moves toward and away from the floor,
he stamps the beat, no longer stamps it but
hints at it, has somewhat lost
control over his body – is what’s left
between the floor and his foot
the space between things
that Cage asked us
not to forget?
the old man progresses slowly
in his being there,
slightly detached from his surroundings,
clings to the mic, smiles
until he finds
the beat of the song,
sometimes he misses a verse or his voice,
our feet firmly set on the firm ground of the tavern,
during every silence we prompt him with the words;
we still believe in the need to make whole.
Silvina López Medin was born in Buenos Aires and currently lives in New York. She is the author of three books of poetry: La noche de los bueyes (Madrid, 1999), awarded the International Young Poetry Prize by the Loewe Foundation, Esa sal en la lengua para decir manglar (Buenos Aires, 2014), and 62 brazadas (Buenos Aires, 2015). Her theatre play Exactamente bajo el sol opened at Teatro del Pueblo in 2008 and was granted the Plays Third Prize by the Argentine Institute of Theatre. She translated, with poet Mirta Rosenberg, Anne Carson’s Eros the Bittersweet (Buenos Aires, 2015). She edited and co-translated Home Movies (Buenos Aires, 2016), a selection of poems by Robert Hass. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at NYU, and co-edits the Señal series for contemporary Latin American poetry at Ugly Duckling Presse.
Judith Filc received her PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, and taught both in the United States and in Argentina. She has published books and essays on Argentine literature and culture, as well as four volumes of poetry in Spanish. She co-translated the bilingual poetry anthology Poéticas de Chile/Chilean Poets on The Art of Poetry (2007), and her poetry translations have appeared in Talisman Magazine, International Poetry Review, Brooklyn Rail, Truck Blogspot, and Liberarte. Her renditions of La ópera fantasma (Ghost Opera), by Mercedes Roffé and of Cierta dureza en la sintaxis (A Certain Roughness in their Syntax), by Jorge Aulicino will be published in 2017 by co-im-press and Tupelo Press, respectively. She administers the blog Word Creation / Crear con palabras, where she publishes her translations of Spanish American poetry.