Narlan Matos – Genesis – translated by José F. Bañuelos-Montes & Sally Perret

I myself will begin the word that will change the world

I want to paint the sunlight with the colors of my hands

I want to paint a thousand poets and a thousand painters in a large mosaic

the mosaic of pain that extends over the night’s mountain range

I want to give them the pearly glow of Puerto Rico in May

and the blue sapphire of Guadalupe Islands when deserted

I will open my umbrella of colors over the old world

I want to blow new words in the world’s mouth

and transform into a child and in the eyes of a child

the white sail of a yacht open to the southern wind’s mystery

I then want to blow another mystery on mankind

I myself will sow the word that will speak to the man

locked in his barracks surrounded by his mortal sins

the man of my time like a little tin soldier motionless

before the earth and the stars and the August moonlight

in his hands the useless sharp bayonet still pointed at nothing

I see him lying on his large brass bed

strange like his own shadow projected by night on the bed sheet

I see him like an unmasked harlequin without an arena

(how fragile is a clown without a circus!)

now the relentless sun consumes his fragile flesh

his fragile teeth his fragile eyes like a hungry vulture

consumes carnage in any desert

I myself will plant the word that will change the world

that will flower sandalwood green myrrh and brier

I want to raise a cathedral before the garden of dreams

this is why I dream of another man for the mankind

I do not want this sun setting over our souls anymore

and this blood-colored rainbow standing guard over the afternoon.

Narlan Matos (Brazil, 1975) published his first poetry book at age 21, Ladies and Gentleman: the Dawn!, which won the Jorge Amado Foundation Award in 1997. His second poetry book In the Campsite of the Shades won his first national award: the XEROX Award for Brazilian Literature in 2000. In 2002, he participated of the International Writing Program at University of Iowa as guest of the State Department. His third poetry book Elegy to the New World, published by 7 Letras Publishers – the best one in Brazil – has been chosen as one of the best poetry books of 2012 and nominated for the prestigious Portugal /Telecom International Award. He participates actively in various literary programs and festivals in the United States and Europe and is the recipient of numerous literary and artistic accolades. In July 2017, he organized and led the first delegation of American poets to visit Cuba since the Cuban Revolution. The delegation had names such as Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass, Claudia Keelan, David St. Johns, among others. He has published seven original books in Portuguese.  He is a former professor at The George Washington University in the USA.

José F. Bañuelos-Montes is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Roanoke College where he has been a faculty member since 2006. His research interests lie in the area of historical and cultural construction of identities of Afro-Hispanic literature. He published the Spanish to English translation of Los viajes venturosos/Venturous Journeys (2015), from the Cuban poet Jesús J. Barquet.

Sally Perret is an Assistant Professor at Salisbury University, where she teaches Spanish literature and teaching methodology courses. Her research interests relate to issues such as nationalism, the idea of community, translation and publication techniques. She has published translations in journals like Exquisite Corpse.