Ah, neutered bacon; rumors spilled over brandy,
In you, rivers sing, and my virginity hugs sailors
In turn, I am my own supplier of crumbled snack
Ah, your mysterious voice that loves tinfoil and
Poem 3 from Pablo Neruda's "Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada" is a gorgeous journey of love. Poem 3 of my "Mistranslating Neruda" is a less direct voyage to the same destination, coming across love with more fear, often lacking the confidence to make eye contact with it. Admittedly, this is not a translation of Neruda's words, it's more the shape of his poem used as wrapping paper around my own take on love and despair. Here, mine, is a love who shops in the thrift stores and probably has a minimum wage job; mine watches TV and has a weakness for Little Debbie snacks. But mine is still love, in all its ambiguity, all its nobility, its glory, its gargantuan and tiny moments. It's the bacon and, at least here, not the pork rinds.
For my heart is enough for you to perch on,
Let's sip tea in the illusion of idle days.
I'm talking that you sang in the winter
You coil like an old road.
It's amazing how our minds do their best to screw with us when we're not looking; how, when we think we're just writing about something odd and mindless, we go back to that a month later and realize we've just mirrored or forseen our own lives in the poetry that wasn't supposed to be about us at all. That's my way of saying "sometimes we don't consciously know we're in bad relationships until we look back at the poetry we wrote that was supposed to quite certainly have nothing to do with us but quite certainly does."
Mistranslating Neruda was a finalist in the NEW MICHIGAN PRESS/DIAGRAM 2002 chapbook competition, and will be published this summer by the New Michigan Press.
Order the chapbook from the NMP storefront.