Jorge AccameArgentinaWriting2003
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During those first days in Civitella, I could not get off to sleep. From the walls of the place where I was lodging, I could see the castle. I would sit myself down to contemplate it throughout the night, sleepless into dawn. Holding a glass of wine in the dark, I would only gaze at the castle, as if caressing a monstrous, sleepy animal, who purred in an ancient language of bricks and stone. At times, fed up with its tyranny, I would listen to the radio or jot down a few lines. But my rebellion was short-lived: I always ended up in front of the window letting myself be consumed till the end of the night.

 

Translated from the Spanish by Edwin Conta.

 

GOLJA

 

I met him

in a pensione in Italy

He was staying in the room next door

 

One night

he borrowed some matches
and I feared for his petroleum skin

 

A coffee and he said he was called Samad
he came from the skyscrapers that grew recently
in ancient Persia

Another day he introduced me to the woman
who lived silently behind a veil
and lowered her soft eyelids
to the ground

 

In his room
I shared a meal that smelled of lemon and death

 

And from the dark whispers of his tongue
I only keep
a single word: golja, which means flowers
Golja golja, he repeated, pointing
to the summer spilled over the fields of Urbino
and I said, golja golja golja
and we laughed like two idiots
believing that we were finally talking about the same thing

 

That autumn his ayatollah
called him to the war
and he returned to Iran

 

I wrote him
from right to left
from bottom to top
to the address that he´d given me
but he didn´t answer

 

Every year
when summer comes
and the fields are spangled with light
I have a premonition that no place ever existed
where we could have found each other.

 

Translated from the Spanish by Carolyn Brown.